I know of few people who like and embrace change. Yet change is inevitable and perhaps the only constant organizations should count on. The impetus for change can come in many forms but for healthcare it is often a crisis such as disaster, deregulation, declining profits, government mandates, failed systems or public health scares.
We began this document with words like outcome and impact. For us, these are key to analytics – driving change to improve outcomes and creating value. If we look at some of the most celebrated cases of analytics in healthcare we see evidence of outcomes:
- Cleveland Clinic uses advanced forecasting models to schedule operating room staff
- Dignity Health predicts risk of sepsis in high risk patients
- Carolinas Health System predicts risk for readmission in real time
- UPMC predicts patients who need greater high-touch, preventative care
- Intermountain Health modifies treatment guidelines for labor and delivery
- Duke University Health System uses geospatial analytics to design care delivery systems and support community health partnerships
- University of Utah predicts outbreaks of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) three weeks before it happens for high risk patients
In each of these cases, whether we use analytics to improve patient care, spur innovation, or redesign care delivery processes, change is inevitable as the impact to the organization necessarily involves altering how work gets done.
Change has afforded entire industries the opportunity to transform how they operate. Take, for example, the case of the Oakland A’s as depicted in the book Moneyball (Morris, 2014) and their use of analytics to drive competition. Major League Baseball has been transformed by analytics, and its decisions around players will never be the same. 1
While no one sets out to intentionally do this poorly, we see these types of scenarios play out in our experiences every day. At the heart of any successful change, whether transactional or transformational, how you lead the change effort will largely determine success.
1 Note: There are those that would certainly like to believe that Moneyball was all wrong and that gut has its place. See for example https://www.forbes.com/sites/leeigel/2016/02/26/whats-on-deck-after-boston-red-sox-send-sabermetrics-analytics-and-moneyball-to-the-showers but the impact of analytics remains forever embedded.