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Navigating the journey to meaningful data

Creating simple data visualizations non-technical users can understand provides guidance to easily apply to daily workflows.
By admin
May 10, 2022, 8:00 AM

For its many challenges, the healthcare industry is rich in data. Today’s hospitals are filled with medical devices and systems that continuously generate information to help clinicians care for their patients. But at many organizations, this presents a new challenge: how do we harness this endless stream of data to help impact patient care?

Hospitals have been on this journey to meaningful data for years — yet a few common roadblocks continue to hinder progress.

Roadblock #1: Compiling data is painfully time-consuming

Whether you’re doing research to report on KPIs to leadership or support an investigation, there is no shortage of reports available today. In the case of an investigation, you might pull reports on:

  • Nurse call system usage (e.g., call location or time from call to response)
  • Bed status
  • Patient fall risk
  • Staff activity

When this critical information is siloed within different systems, it becomes difficult and time-consuming to access — especially for non-technical staff.

Roadblock #2: Once compiled, data isn’t actionable

You’ve finally pulled the reports. Now what? If data analysts are not available, clinicians are left to comb through this technical data and attempt to glean some meaningful insights on how to improve. This can cause several problems:

  • Reports to leadership lack the sophisticated analysis needed to highlight emerging issues or trends
  • Time from reporting to improvement is long

What if you could step away from time-consuming reports focused on reactive data, and move toward information that helps you make meaningful changes and proactively improve care?

The path forward: Proactive and predictive data

If the current state of healthcare data management has taught us one thing, it’s this: more time spent on reporting does not necessarily lead to better insights. In fact, the less time your team spends gathering and analyzing data, the more time they can spend implementing improvements. How do you strike the right balance? One path to success focuses on scoring systems for meaningful benchmarking.

Of course, benchmarking must be done carefully. Comparing a large academic hospital to a small community hospital, for example, may not be helpful. Once you’ve chosen the right comparison points, your focus should be simple: Are we doing well or poorly in this area? And, perhaps more importantly, why or why not?

The right technology can help you make these connections. Look for simple visualizations non-technical users can understand — and which provide guidance they can easily apply to their daily workflows. Whether your users are technical or clinical, these prescriptive insights can suggest steps you can take right now to improve your care and support the teams providing it. 

And that’s what the journey to meaningful data is all about.


Hillrom is now a part of Baxter. Its Voalte® platform is a unified care communications solution that helps bring caregivers, patients and families together.

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