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Build Vs. Buy: The Business Intelligence Debate in Healthcare

by | Jul 30, 2016 | Business Intelligence, Clinical Analytics, Clinical Data, Data Management | 0 comments

5 Clinical Analytics 5 Business Intelligence 5 Build Vs. Buy: The Business Intelligence Debate in Healthcare

The “Build vs. Buy” debate has circulated in virtually every board room since the dawn of the first off-the-shelf software. Traditional Information System departments are typically filled with these discussions, and most recently, the topics include business intelligence and analytics. Most debates focus on two opposing sides of an issue, however, a myriad of nuances are left out of the discussion.

The Build Scenario

First, “Build” or in-house business intelligence and analytics have traditionally been implemented in one of two different ways:

  1. The Bottom-Up Approach: In the Bottom-Up approach, IT or IS departments are tasked with rolling out a “Business Intelligence” solution and given very little direction as to what is actually desired. This is typically because the people who require information may not know exactly what data is available. In this approach, it is rare that the IT or Senior Leadership chasm is bridged until the direction turns to a top-down approach.
  2. The Shotgun Approach: The Shotgun Approach is exactly as it sounds – there is no clear direction dictating the information being disseminated. Instead, ad-hoc requests for “reports” drive production. This often results in a “multiple versions of the truth” scenario, and the work produced is typically used for a short period of time and then discarded.

There are many reasons why “Build-It” approaches tend to fall into one of the above described scenarios:

  1. There is no strategy driving the business intelligence effort.
  2. The individuals tasked with providing business intelligence content are overwhelmed with day-to-day operations and lack the time to produce the desired content.
  3. The individuals tasked with providing the content do not have the skillsets, nor the industry knowledge to produce the desired content.
  4. Business intelligence efforts are treated as an event rather than as a process.
  5. There has never been an initiative to determine the true cost of building the business intelligence solution and therefore no ROI calculations are ever performed.

Solutions to the Build vs. Buy Challenge

In an effort to resolve the traditional challenges, a top-down approach is the most efficient and effective way to ensure value is delivered to an organization.

  1. Strategic Planning: Strategy is of paramount importance in the design and development of any analytical endeavor. The overall goals of the organization must be resolved by the tactical implementation of the solution put in place. Clinical Intelligence (CI), for example, offers an assessment strategy by working with senior leadership to help develop and communicate that strategy through the use of the ClinView® platform. This ensures alignment with a strategy that is measureable, with proven ROI to ensure success.
  2. Treating Data As An Asset: The healthcare industry faces challenges on many fronts in regard to treating their data as an asset. To date, most hospitals and health care systems have been faced with securing their data…treating it more as a liability than as an asset. Therefore, leadership in healthcare organizations has put teams in place who are highly skilled and knowledgeable in the areas of security, encryption and other methodologies. They work toward ensuring patient information remains secure and confidential, and only release data to providers and patients who are authorized to view and analyze information. This was beneficial for many years and is considered Healthcare 1.0.
    Those same skillsets for securing data, however, are not readily transferable to mining data to gain insights for improving the quality of patient care while reducing healthcare costs across. Most organizations are not prepared for that level of sophistication, especially with the ever-changing needs and strategy of healthcare within our country. What’s required is a skillset more suited for Healthcare 2.0 – treating the untapped resources of the EMR and other systems as an asset rather than as a liability.
  3. Data As A Process, Not an Event: Another pitfall of business intelligence is treating data as an event, as opposed to a process. Many organizations have repurposed their staff to put a business intelligence system in place, only to find that once people receive the information they need, the questions and additional requests placed on their team becomes an encumbrance. That is why CI has built ClinView® on a platform that is easily adaptable to change and discovery. Rather than constantly evolving the reporting or analytical strategy for each nuance, the individual participating in using the platform can explore and navigate the information to find the best way to implement the strategy of the organization.

The Buy Scenario

Buying an off-the-shelf solution can solve many of these problems, however, it’s important to note the concern and the considerations. The main concern is that the purchased solution will force an organization to change its business processes to conform to the system purchased. That is a very important and valid argument when purchasing a transactional or operational system to run day-to-day business. However, a true business intelligence and analytical solution does not dictate how you run your organization, but rather helps you truly understand how you run your business and the results of the strategy that you have put in place. That is a profound difference, and if recognized by leadership, can lead to extremely powerful insights that help drive better processes and bottom line performance.

The CI Difference

At CI, our leadership has decades of experience in various healthcare settings that have culminated in the ClinView® platform. ClinView® is constantly evolving, just as the healthcare industry is evolving. The shift from fee-for-service to value-based-reimbursement continues to be a difficult transition for many organizations from an analytical perspective. Our team of experts has driven the development and implementation of our platform to address these issues in very short time frames due to our focus and expertise in this area.

Further, we remove the traditional barriers and concerns in the “Build vs. Buy” debate by creating a true partnership with our clients. We work side-by-side with senior leadership and IT/IS to ensure that ClinView® delivers interactive and actionable analytics that drive strategic planning. We are consistently engaging with our clients after deployment so that important information is surfaced, and that new insights are delivered and shared throughout the relationship. ClinView® is also nimble and flexible, allowing our clients to ask questions of their data that they may not have considered even prior to our partnership.

There are many points to consider when determining whether to engage a partner or to go it alone with a business intelligence solution. With the healthcare industry transitioning to value-based delivery, a partner that subscribes to that same approach with respect to business intelligence and analytics delivery is a strong ally. Contact CI to understand how our approach focuses on iterative yet tangible success. Email [email protected] or call 888.341.1014.

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