Data Revolution Requires Leadership Evolution NOW…Because Yesterday has Already Passed

Earlier this month, I spent two days at an executive education program titled “Big Data, Making Complex Things Simpler” at MIT in Boston.  What is evident is that there is a @$#%-ton of data out there and no one is really doing anything with it.  To do something with it, we must give it some thought.  Stop shooting from the hip and acquiring applications to address departmental or project needs, and look internally at the wealth of data already available across the organization, combined with other types of publically available information, and do something with it.  Ask questions of it.

But wait, leaders need to know what to ask.  Leaders need to know how to be data-centric leaders.  Leaders must drive their teams to be data-centric users.  We know who our patients are, we know their medical problems, we know their medications and allergies, we know if they were readmitted.  We also know their BMI, their zip code, and the overall equity-related risk factors affecting overall wellness.  So are we asking the right questions?  Are we asking, “what does the data say?”  Are we even asking, “What data do we have?”  Are we asking, “What data do we need?  Where do we get it?”

We, the big WE, the industry of healthcare WE, must move beyond the elementary challenges of adoption to understand and apply data about the patients and communities we serve to improve care, to improve the health of the population as a whole.

But wait, there’s more.  The data is completely useless unless it drives us to ACT – to do something, to change something, to get our patients to do/change something.  Healthcare leaders must change in order to remain leaders of the future.  The industry is changing, and what is the definition of crazy?  “Doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.” Clearly the big WE need to change. Why else would there be so much federal reform coming at us from every direction?  WE didn’t get it right the first time, or the second or the third for that matter.  WE failed to find a financial model that would be sustainable to meet the changing needs of the American population.  WE failed to empower patients find ways to hold them accountable for those things that can affect their health status and outcomes.  WE failed to align our organizations in a patient-centric manner that easily provides data for smooth transitions in care, overall wellness, and improved population health.

WE must change.  No WE must EVOLVE now.  The data revolution is upon us…do something about it.

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