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Using data and analytics to guide, expedite COVID-19 recovery

June 04, 2021
Business Affairs Health IT
From the June 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Using data and analytics to guide decisions
An effective cost management approach has a clear linkage to addressing the challenge of increasing care costs, but mounting pressures to improve profitability and declining volumes require a deeper level of understanding about what’s driving these challenges.

Combining effective cost management with a data and analytics-driven strategy provides reliable and timely data and analytics that empower healthcare leaders to closely monitor performance, respond quickly to needed volume changes, and guide strategy. Yet, according to Syntellis’ report, 76% of respondents said their organizations could and should do more to leverage financial and operational data to inform strategic decisions.

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Healthcare finance leaders are often expected to predict the future, but that is unrealistic. Because recovery planning is a data-driven exercise, reliable and trustworthy analytics processes are critical to informing future response plans. Organizations need to examine how to identify and compare population trends across a variety of volume, financial, and clinical measures. By bringing together encounter-specific data (billing and clinical coding) from across the continuum of care and normalizing the data, organizations can more easily support effective analysis. They can then integrate with advanced cost accounting capabilities and comprehensive net revenue modeling to establish a clear picture of financial outcomes.

Digging deeper to find improvement opportunities
Taking these processes a step further, understanding how a local market or similarly sized organizations perform and comparing those metrics to your performance equips organizations for a long and successful future. By comparing an organization’s performance to the deeper data around factors like adjusted discharges, adjusted patient days, ED visits, and operating room minutes, healthcare finance leaders can gain key insights into the root causes and identify where improvement opportunities exist.

To find these opportunities, finance leaders should be asking themselves, how do our adjusted discharges compare to others in our region? Have we adjusted goals and plans to reflect market realities? Which service lines are contributing most to discharges? Addressing these types of questions with data insights can provide healthcare finance leaders with the ability to identify and analyze those factors and develop data-driven solutions.

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