I cannot remember what brand of TV I own, but I know where to go to watch my favorite shows.
I watch Modern Family on Hulu and the Chicago Cubs play on MLB.TV. More and more of what I watch seems to come through Netflix, including some of Netflix’s original series like season four of Arrested Development or Tina Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Thankfully, I do not have to buy a new TV to get access to new content. The content I want is delivered to whatever TV I already own through a Roku or Apple TV device.
Almost ten years ago, Bill Gates wrote about the powerful role of content:
The television revolution that began half a century ago spawned a number of industries, including the manufacturing of TV sets, but the long-term winners were those who used the medium to deliver information and entertainment.
The same shift in focus from infrastructure to content is happening in healthcare analytics.
Many health systems have a data warehouse and analytics tools, but the infrastructure itself is not what delivers the value. For example, a data warehouse with only one domain of data, such as cost accounting data, is like a TV that only shows cat videos. Without being able to deliver relevant and targeted content, it is a useless device.
Content is King
To produce rich, meaningful insight you need to start with integrated and trusted data. Having good content in the data warehouse is the key to generating meaningful insights that help health systems improve cost and quality, manage the health of the populations they serve and make informed strategic decisions.
So, what exactly does good data content look like? It:
- Is structured in a way that is easy for analysts to understand and query with clear structure and easy-to-understand field names.
- Includes longitudinal patient, practitioner and organization data, combining information across different sources (even if those sources do not share common identifiers).
- Uses standard terms, such as LOINC for lab results and RxNorm for medications, by mapping each source’s data to a common language.
- Is enriched with pre-calculated metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks.
To achieve great data content, many health systems are turning to data-as-a-service. Essentially they are adding the capabilities of Netflix to their existing data infrastructure.
The Netflix Model for Healthcare Data
Netflix curates content and lets you watch what you want, when you want it, all without having to buy a new TV. Data-as-a-service does just that, but for your data management platform. Data-as-a-service acquires data directly from your systems – inpatient and ambulatory electronic health records, post-acute provider systems, payer claims, patient satisfaction survey results, financial systems, etc. – as well as third-party and publicly available data. It integrates and curates the data into rich content, and delivers the data into whatever analytics platform you have, whether that is PremierConnect Enterprise, a home-grown data warehouse or any number of third-party solutions.
With data-as-a-service, health systems can now have great content within the data warehouse or analytics platform they already have.
Teaching an Old TV New Tricks
One health system I know of had a mature data warehouse that supported hundreds of legacy reports, but lacked truly integrated data to support new analytics needs. At the same time, existing data workloads became more than their warehouse could handle. But when the client considered a new data warehouse, the cost of a new warehouse and the effort to migrate everything from the existing platform was overwhelming. Data-as-a-service solved the problem by offloading the data workload while more meaningfully integrating data into rich content and delivering it into their existing data warehouse. In other words, it was as if the client kept their existing TV but added an Apple TV device so they could view relevant and targeted content through Netflix. As a result, they saved themselves over a million dollars and over a year of effort that it would have taken to replace their warehouse.
Just as Netflix is changing the way that people deliver content to their TV, data-as-a-service is giving providers the insight they need, when they need it, allowing them to cut costs and improve quality of care in the process.