In recent healthcare blogs I’ve looked at the need to drive more value from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and how this relies upon the ability to make decisions based on robust, data-driven insights. But what value will these decisions have if they're not founded on a mature data strategy?
The answer is obvious. So, the more interesting questions are these: What makes some organisations pioneers when it comes to data management and analytics, and what steps are they taking to mature their strategy in this area?
SAS recently polled some 600 senior-level decision-makers across all sectors and gained some interesting answers that will be very simple for NHS leaders and clinicians to deploy.
But before I go on, let’s just clarify: In this situation, data maturity means having a consistent and single view of all data sources and integrating the core components, such as collection, cleansing, analysis and its application.
Ok, with that in mind, the results of our research are particularly pertinent to NHS organisations when you consider that “93 per cent of our responders believe that their data strategy allows them to innovate existing business processes as a result of improved analysis of their data.”
But to get to that point, they had to overcome resistance to putting data at the fore of decision-making. The leaders in this survey, much like vanguards in healthcare, take a more proactive approach to promoting the role of data, with 89 per cent of our research base having overcome a lack of strategy in their organisation.
However, it’s really at the operational level where data strategy must be streamlined and effective, with processes such as data cleansing happening routinely – probably built into a project process or data management calendar. Our data strategy leaders also seem to place more importance on continuously reviewing these processes and, in fact, their entire data strategy.
In the case of the NHS, which has one of the largest data resources in the UK, this proactive approach is an absolute necessity if data analytics is to deliver insights that allow us to modernise the organisation and drive material changes in patient value.
Once a ‘leader’ level data strategy is in place, the NHS can make better use of open source data and systems, such as Hadoop, to incorporate newer sources of data including social media and information originating from internet-connected healthcare devices. Then they'll be in a position to utilise clean, nimble (accessible) data that’s ready for use with healthcare analytics (for example, SAS Episode Analytics) and help us achieve value-based, integrated healthcare provision faster.
How can we be so sure a ‘leader’ level data strategy will deliver powerful results? Well, the ‘leaders’ group from our research reports that effective data cleansing and analysis accelerates innovation and growth through improved insights. And they also secure other benefits including improved analysis (90 per cent) and better decision-making (88 per cent), which is crucial for the future direction of the NHS.
If you’d like to know more about how SAS can help in this area, we can help you quickly assess your own data strategy. Use our Data Maturity Model to measure your position against data leaders and understand what you need to do to improve your status.