With HIMSS15 right around the corner, it seems fitting to focus on one of the conference’s upcoming hot topics: The Future of… Big Data. In a survey published by InformationWeek, participants were asked about the effectiveness of their organizations in identifying critical data and using it to make decisions.

Big Data, Big Trouble

Of those surveyed,  30 percent shared that their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions. This figure falls from 2013’s 42 percent. Additionally, 63 percent said they are only moderately effective, while 7 percent claim defeat in the big data journey.

Revisiting these results makes us wonder if the health IT industry will have similar apprehensions about big data at this year’s conference. Has the year span made enough of a dent in these issues to incite organizations to use big data and business intelligence toward informed clinical and business operations decision-making?

While we celebrate the buzz big data’s popularity provoked over the past year, we also note that organizations cannot blindly jump onto the big data bandwagon. Healthcare organizations should not simply collect data for the sake of collecting data. For true big data success, healthcare organizations need to work towards obtaining smart healthcare data. The differentiating factors of smart healthcare data are the types of data being collected, the volume of the data, and its validity. By establishing best practices in the data collection process for the right type and amount, organizations won’t be left with large quantities that cannot be analyzed well.

People + Processes

Additionally, while key performance indicators, benchmarks, and dashboards help to indicate progress of data collection, BI initiatives and efficiency of organizations, true success cannot be met without organization-wide support and a strategic roadmap. Both clinical and financial end users must come together to engage with, understand, and support BI technology and processes. At the same time, these end users should be provided with information relevant to their roles and department goals to effectively alter staff performance. Executive leadership must also lead organization-wide buy-in by example and prepare BI processes to answer anticipated future “what if” questions. A BI solution is not a cookie-cutter solution. Hospitals must combine industry insights and experience to interpret the right data to transform both clinical and financial processes, supporting unique organizational goals and cultural change.

HIMSS15 Blog Carnival

This blog post was created to promote and join in on the #HIMSS15 Blog Carnival buzz, following the topic of “The future of big data.” For more information on the Blog Carnival, please contact: himss@shiftcomm.com. For more information on HIMSS15, please visit: Http://www.himssconference.org.

Thank you for your time, and we hope to see you at HIMSS15 in Chicago!

-Shana Tachikawa
Director of Communications