Workflow and Data Analytics

By Michael Ricci, CIO, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Michael Ricci, CIO, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

The current evolution in the workflow landscape has been all about satisfying the need to increase efficiency. The technological trends have ensured that the available information has not only been able to provide additional workflow opportunities but also track the current processes. The landscape has been trending toward data analytics and its applications which have made a huge impact on how organizations are able to define better and more streamline workflows. During the last couple of years, the industry has witnessed an exponential rate of technology proliferation when it comes to the healthcare workflows. Healthcare systems have adopted new electronic medical records which have completely changed how we carry out different processes. As new upgrades are applied— quarterly and semi-annually—new functionalities become available, allowing industry leaders to constantly examine how to best adjust their workflows in order to accommodate these new functionalities.

Setting the Patient Expectations

Healthcare organizations today need to do more with less and provide a patient experience that encourages patient loyalty. In healthcare, it’s all about providing patients a good experience from start to finish. Part of this experience revolves around a need to make sure that communication is in the forefront of what the healthcare providers are doing. For example, waiting for appointments in healthcare is a big concern and thus, there is a need to move patients through the systems quickly without a lot of delays. There are always bottlenecks in systems and workflows, whether due to technology or resources, that have to be identified and addressed through smoother workflows.

"Healthcare organizations today are using business intelligence and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to analyze workflows as part of an ongoing analysis to increase efficiency and keep up with the evolving system functionalities"

Big data is already a standard feature of daily life for consumers outside of the hospital. Consumers have developed expectations on interactions with service providers being tailored to their individual needs and desires, and have become largely comfortable with the idea that their past actions can be used to predict their future needs. Healthcare has lagged behind somewhat in its ability to create a responsible and predictive patient experience, but the industry is quickly catching up with other sectors. The healthcare facilities are leveraging AI to analyze and understand what’s happening in their workflow. This has become an integrated solution to the systems. In fact, healthcare organizations today are using business intelligence and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to analyze workflows as part of an ongoing analysis to increase efficiency and keep up with the evolving system functionalities. This is really what’s critical to be successful today for any healthcare facility whether it is a large or small organization. The amount of information available these days has never been greater, so the opportunity exists to leverage it for the betterment of the patient.

Designing an Accommodating Workflow

What needs to be done is the combining of a couple of approaches. Our mission is to make patients healthy and happy with their care. So, we look at it from different levels: the system and the people. We monitor the patient experience with the combination of physically watching the workflows, surveying the patients, analyzing the data, and then using visual analytics tools to visualize the data to identify the bottlenecks. The change in the workflow can thus be determined to better the system. Also, if we come across an area to be addressed, we must ensure that it is communicated to leadership and the resources involved in the workflow solution.

Integrating with Employee Workflow

Technology plays a vital role in making it easy for the employees to access the data that they need to do their job. In older systems, the issue was to provide the right person with the right data at the right time. The industry is going completely paperless at this point and that allows the employees access to the information that they need. Keeping people trained and up to date on what is available to them becomes a hurdle. So, it is essential that the employees are refreshed on the technologies and functionaries that exist currently in the system.

Implementing a Comprehensive Piece of Workflow

• It is imperative to invest in a superlative business analytics and intelligence tool, which will allow organizations to analyze the data and acquire detailed data to analyze what’s really happening in their workflow.

• Organizations need to have the support of their leadership team to implement changes in the workflow. Senior leadership must have the mindset to prioritize the workflow efficiency analysis and support the changes identified.

•Change should be presented as an opportunity to the leadership team such that they understand that to go the extra mile, something different must be done.

• In healthcare, it’s all about the patient and thus the workflow should be changed when needed to ensure the patients remain healthy and happy with their care.

Healthcare IT Services Special