Mark VreelandAs many key elements of government-driven healthcare reform continue to advance, including accountable care organizations and health insurance exchanges, most key players in the health care system are realizing that when it comes to effectively utilizing data to improve patient outcomes, going it alone is simply not an option. Yet many organizations are struggling with knowing how to translate this change of mindset into defined steps that can turn vast amounts of available data into actionable insights and build effective collaboration across the healthcare ecosystem focused on increasing the quality of care and efficiently managing cost.  

Each organization will need to find its own, unique path toward becoming an effective partner in the data-driven, outcomes-focused health care system, but there are three key steps that every growth-focused organization should take.

Todd SchackAdopt a disciplined approach to collaboration that enables effective data sharing across the entire spectrum of health care. This involves taking an enterprise-level view of data integration, both internally and externally, defining information governance to drive priority setting and an adaptable policy framework to align all resources with future opportunities. 

Leverage aggregated data to develop actionable insights for care, performance, and risk at the business-unit level.  A foundation for achieving this step is to establish methods and tools to ensure that healthcare data can be understood and acted upon by the user through effective presentation methods and/or actionable alerts. 

Drive quality and cost accountability by sharing data with the right people in the right place at the right time. Organizations should look to adopt a holistic model that links business strategy, analytic priorities, and related investments to trends likely to achieve the highest growth, such as the expected influx of new patients from the individual mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act. 

Achieving robust data analytics through collaboration will continue to be the pathway for growth for healthcare organizations. For providers, there is the opportunity to use data to drive mutually beneficial partnerships with payers for areas such as population management and increase their revenue through risk sharing. For payers, successful analysis can lead to important new insights on value related to patient care, product and program development, cost containment, and other for current and potential offerings.

Regardless of where an organization falls on the healthcare spectrum, the unsustainable growth of healthcare costs will continue to force all parties to find new and better ways to leverage data to achieve the triple aim of better care, better health for populations, and lower cost.  For organizations that are creative and bold in collaborating to collect and mine data to improve patient outcomes, the opportunities to attract new patients or consumers is vast. For those unable or unwilling to expand their views on how shared data and analytics can drive value, there is a very real risk of being left behind.


Mark Vreeland is an Executive Director, Healthcare Advisory Services, Ernst & Young LLP.

Todd Schack is an Executive Director, Healthcare Advisory Services, Ernst & Young LLP. 

Publication Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2013