Healthcare Reporting: Centralized vs. Decentralized

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Healthcare Reporting: Centralized vs. Decentralized

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Healthcare Reporting One of the questions that often comes up as healthcare organizations look to get more deeply into data analytics is whether their reporting functions should be centralized or decentralized. The answer I usually give is:

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Healthcare Reporting At Health Catalyst we believe in a concept touted by Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, refers to as “highly aligned, loosely coupled.” Highly aligned means everyone shares the same strategic goals–team interactions are focused on strategies. Loosely coupled means different groups have the flexibility to approach tactics differently as needed.

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Healthcare Reporting The approach is much like the offense on an NFL team. The coaching staff develops a game plan and the overall strategic approach the team will take to win the game. However, during the game, the offensive and defensive coordinators call the plays according to the game plan. That is highly aligned.

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Healthcare Reporting Suppose at the line of scrimmage the quarterback sees a certain defensive formation and realizes there is a better opportunity available. He has the freedom to call an audible and make a tactical decision that is still highly aligned with the team’s overall strategy.

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Healthcare Reporting The purpose of analytics in a healthcare organization is to create insights that help achieve strategic goals. Analysts are the conduits that collects various data points from different sources that allows non-analysts understand and act on it. The tactics they use depend on the organizational structure.

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Basics of Centralized vs. Decentralized Organizations generally take one of two approaches to analytics and reporting. One is a centralized model, where the analytics group is its own entity, independent of any particular group. In a decentralized model, the analysts work directly for the different groups or departments.

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Basics of Centralized vs. Decentralized Each of these models has its pros and cons; the pros of one are usually the con of the other. Let’s look a little more deeply at each to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie–and why a hybrid of the two tends to work best.

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Centralized Reporting Pros The centralized model has many advantages. Overall, if you had to choose a single approach, this would be recommended based on our experience with both. The strengths of the centralized model follow:

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Centralized Reporting Pros Standards and best practices vs. a maverick approach This begins with standard tools. If everyone is sharing the same tools, the analysts are able to share their knowledge about those tools as they learn. Having a standard set of reporting tools ensures it can be done almost instantly.

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Centralized Reporting Pros Flexibility Organizations that use a centralized approach can shift resources where and when they’re needed; those with a decentralized approach cannot.

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Centralized Reporting Pros Ability to support individuals with different skillsets In a centralized model, the organization can have a mix of skill levels since the junior or mid-level people can always go upstream to get questions answered or learn new skills.

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Centralized Reporting Pros Spot analytics trends vs. analytics islands In a decentralized model; what is learned in the domain tends to stay in the domain. When reporting is centralized the organization can aggregate reports from multiple areas and build customized dashboards that enables executives to get ahead of trends.

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Centralized Reporting Pros Better management of resources In a centralized model, management is provided by experts in analytics who know how long a particular task should take–and when a heroic effort is needed to deliver a particular report.

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Centralized Reporting Cons Specific departments do not control their destiny In many cases departments or higher-level initiatives usurp the needs of another department. A dissatisfied department Might say, “Fine, if IT can’t help me, I will go hire my own people.” This common attitude is typically what drives organizations to go to a decentralized model.

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Play to Organizational Strengths Centralized vs. decentralized reporting doesn’t have to be an either/or choice. Organizations with the most success are the ones that combine the two to keep their reporting processes highly aligned yet loosely coupled – giving them the best of each while overcoming each model’s negatives.

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Play to Organizational Strengths The primary benefit is that analytic efforts are focused on a specific need. With a lot of low-hanging fruit out there it’s easy to take advantage of immediate opportunities. If their work aligns with the overall organization’s strategy they don’t need to follow the formal processes that are part of the centralized model.

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More about this topic Hospital Data Warehouse: The Best Tool for Efficient Hospital Reports Bobbi Brown, Vice President of Financial Engagement Physician Reporting: The Secret to Useable, Engaging Reports Dr. Ed Corbett, Medical Officer Data Analyst Saves Hospital Millions John Wadsworth, Vice President, Client Engagement 4 Ways Healthcare Data Analysts Can Provide Their Full Value Russ Staheli, Vice President, Analytics Self-Service Hospital Reporting Possibilities Brian Eliason, Vice President, Client Engagement and Kristi Mousel, Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing Professional Link to original article for a more in-depth discussion. Healthcare Reporting: Centralized vs. Decentralized

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For more information:

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Other Clinical Quality Improvement Resources Click to read additional information at www.healthcatalyst.com Russell Staheli joined Catalyst as a data architect in October 2011. He started his career as an Intern and later Outcomes Analyst at Intermountain Healthcare in the Institute for Health Care Delivery Research supporting the Advanced Training Program for Executives & QI Leaders (ATP) and the Primary Care Clinical Program. Before coming to Catalyst he worked as a Management Engineer Programmer Analyst for the Duke University Health System in their Performance Services department supporting their Infection Control and Epidemiology efforts. While there, he also worked as an external consultant to advance the analytical work of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON), a collaborative of over 30 community hospitals. Russ holds an Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Administration from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services Research from the University of Utah.