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Why data analytics is vital to healthcare improvement

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By Lynn McVey

Current healthcare literature says that without robust analytics technology, healthcare organizations can't fully achieve the goal of affordable, high-quality care, good intentions notwithstanding. The data is there, but the healthcare industry does not have an evenly distributed knowledge of how to use it effectively.

We all know in any crowd of two or more, we are reluctant to raise our hand to ask a question. Crowd mentality diminishes our ability to learn because we hesitate to publicly disclose we need more knowledge. That is what's happening in healthcare today. We know that metrics and data are the answer yet, the emperor still has no clothes on. Clinical managers aren't skilled in how to analyze data. Hell, they just started data collecting only recently.

With potential savings of up to $300 billion a year, according to the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, the upside of industry-wide analytics is considerable. And, increasingly, providers have the raw data they need right now. They just don't know how to turn a data collection into a useful data illustration. Even though it is not quick, it can be quite simple.

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