Data rich, insight poor; business intelligence paradox
A recent engagement with a health organisation had me thinking about the amount of data that’s generated by a single patient as they move through the continuum of a hospital’s system. According to AIHW, over 20,000 people a day present to the ED at public hospitals across Australia. And WA has one of the highest rates (~53 percent) of ED presentations resulting in a hospital admission. It’s hard to fathom just how much data is generated. But more importantly, what business intelligence opportunities are being derived from all that data?
Disparate systems and lack of interoperability
Like any large organisation, a hospital has many information systems. Even in the same building, different information systems might be used for different service delivery activities – such as ambulance, emergency, admissions, pharmacy, inventory and so on. But these systems don’t necessarily talk to each other. A perfect scenario for creating data silos.
The value of data silos is limited
A data silo is a repository of fixed data that remains under the control of one department and is isolated from the rest of the organisation.
Data silos obstruct holistic data management and visibility across operations. They’re disconnected, time-consuming and erode the bottom-line. Data silos also hinder operational and financial transformation enabled by business intelligence and advanced data analytics.
A recent survey found that the top three barriers to successful information management are accessing, integrating, and cleansing data.
So, the biggest obstacle to business intelligence and using advanced data analytics isn’t skill base or technology; it’s simply access to the data.
A single source of truth
When people throughout the organisation are accessing information in many ways and from many sources, it creates data variability and questionable accuracy. The problem is solved by integrating multiple and disparate data sources and aggregating the data in a centralised repository. A data warehouse establishes a single source of truth and is the key enabler of advanced data analytics. Advanced analytics facilitates high-value activities such as, forecasting, scenario planning, risk modelling, or event correlation, which lead to better, more data-driven decisions.
Robust data management and data analytics are key differentiators in organisations. Those that can make strategic, data-driven decisions are more likely to be successful in identifying shifting trends that will affect their organisation, respond quickly to change, extract insight and answer business questions much faster.
Maximise the value derived from each byte of data stored and processed
So, getting back to my musing about the data collected as a patient moves through the hospital system.
- All the data collected over time could be used to predict the load and wait time on medical equipment and devices?
- Advanced analytics tools could leverage the massive amounts of data to reduce ED wait times?
- ED data could be leveraged to predict patient admission loads allowing staffing to become proactive rather than reactive?
- Trend data coupled with machine learning could predict the best times to schedule elective procedures and avoid times of heavy loads of patients from the ED?
New ways of linking datasets and creative approaches to visualising data and application of advanced analytic tools can produce unprecedented insights into operational performance that can differentiate an organisation and give it a competitive advantage.
Business Intelligence should evolve with your business needs
Undertaking a Business Intelligence project doesn’t need to encumber your resources or business for months. It’s possible to get value quickly. As a colleague of mine likes to put it – you don’t have to eat the whole elephant in one go. Instead, look to identify high-value opportunities. Analyse your business needs, and choose a problem where data could provide a tangible benefit, perhaps in speeding up month end reporting, event forecasting, or scenario planning. Draw in the data from around the organisation and invest in these use cases first.
Satalyst is a cloud-first digital transformation company leveraging Microsoft and open source technology to build, integrate and support solutions.
Our mission is to empower our clients with a competitive advantage by leveraging technology to modernise and optimise business processes.
Our Business Intelligence specialists and Data Scientist will enable your organisation with robust methodologies, processes, architectures and technologies to capture and transform raw data into meaningful and useful information.
We can help you work through all your data issues from data management right through to advanced data analytics and data sciences.
Please contact us today to organise a chat with an expert from our Data Analytics team.
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