11 Tips for Data Enrichment in Healthcare Enterprise Data Strategy

11 Tips for Data Enrichment in Healthcare Enterprise Data Strategy

Better understanding of clinical data helps everyone in healthcare. Yet many teams are hamstrung by incomplete or inaccurate data collection systems, or simply lack of knowledge about enterprise data strategy when it comes to clinical data.

That situation is changing as healthcare leaders attach more value to data enrichment in their enterprise information strategies.

The 11 tips in this article speak to the perspectives and priorities of:

  • Hospital CIOs and CFOs
  • Clinical service line leaders
  • Supply chain, sourcing and value analysts
  • Healthcare data analysts

Whatever your role, after reading these data strategy ideas, you’ll come away newly inspired by the potential in your healthcare enterprise data.

11 Things Experts Know about Healthcare Enterprise Data Strategy

You don’t have to be an expert to use enterprise data to your advantage. We’ve curated these nuggets of advice from some of the experts here at Curvo. They’re part of the approach we recommend to customers to maximize the return on data enrichment in healthcare enterprise data strategy.

Hospital CIOs, supply chain leaders, clinical service line leaders, and data analysts – no one can underestimate the importance of data enrichments in enterprise data strategy. These bite-sized bits of advice serve as an introduction to the topic and a refresher for more experienced data enrichment advocates.

1 - First comes understanding. Then comes action.

So much can be done with enterprise data. When trained, well-equipped data whisperers analyze large volumes of business transactions, healthcare enterprises reduce costs and improve healthcare delivery efficiency. They bring clinical insights into patient care and experience.

But to accomplish any of this, first it’s imperative to understand the huge amount of data available to the healthcare system. It takes a robust enterprise data strategy to get to that place.

2 - Follow the practice of “thoughtful enrichment.”

CFOs, CIOs, SCM leaders and surgeons alike need to make sense of clinical data. When data is messy, that can’t happen. Without strategic data enrichment, users can’t navigate clinical data in the ways they need to.

Thoughtful enrichment connects data in meaningful ways and adds categorizations to greater make sense of it.

For example, because Curvo enrichments contain Orthopedic Network News categorizations, an analyst could start with a particular part and identify which procedure or procedures use it. Surgeons and supply chain professionals can quickly compare various procedure and part costs. This would be nearly impossible without thoughtful, researched data enrichments.

3 - Why clinical data enrichments matter now in the healthcare enterprise.

Data enrichment amplifies data by adding information to make it more useful. Data enrichment is also about cleaning things up, like removing duplicates and resolving conflicting datafields. Data enrichment is critical for large hospitals and hospital systems, which are also some of the biggest data generators.

While there are plenty of others, this article focuses on clinical data enrichments. Most people think first of clinical data as associated with patient care, but organizations also collect large amounts of data on business transactions, supplies used, devices implanted, and equipment deployed.

Clinical data enrichments make it possible to go into an MMIS system or an Epic or Cerner feed and differentiate within categories. Analysts gain insight such as which products use a unique, more expensive material or a novel feature. This information gives a detailed picture of hospital operations, and enterprise leaders can spot areas for improvement and optimize overall performance across all facilities.

4 - Data enrichment brings new level of power to strategic sourcing.

With data enrichment techniques like data cleansing, deduplication and normalization, hospitals ensure their data is accurate, complete and consistent, making it more valuable for analysis and decision-making. By leveraging the power of data enrichment, hospitals unlock insights that improve patient outcomes, reduce costs and drive operational efficiency.

Good data enrichment brings new levels of data-driven power to the analysis of every contract and every facility. Supply chain management (SCM) leaders take advantage of enrichment to:

  • Track purchase history over time
  • Compare purchase trends to clinical benchmarks
  • Analyze pricing by parts from various manufacturers
  • Perform better cross-reference comparisons

5 - Key to greater clinical spend insight? Greater visibility.

Data enrichments allow SCM teams and physicians to visualize information in ways that weren’t humanly possible before. Some databases limit users to mostly product descriptions and SKUs. With a database limited in this way, you can't dig down to see what kinds of products are being used.

With greater visibility, healthcare analysts and others can more easily:

  • Break down costs
  • Produce actionable analysis
  • Extract the savings

And the better your visuals, the less you have to rely on verbal communication to get your point across to physicians and colleagues.

6 - Know where to “trim the fat”.

Behind all this data enrichment and spend management effort is the goal of savings and avoiding overspending.

But it’s hard for healthcare analysts to trim the fat when they don’t know where the fat is. That’s the problem with most other approaches to data enrichment and analysis – they don't yield enough actionable information.

Without classifications and enrichments, it’s difficult to take a deeper dive and draw informed conclusions. An orthopedic department may know it's doing a lot of hips and knees, but doesn't know the nature of those procedures.

  • Were they mostly primary, hybrid or revisions?
  • What types of components were used most frequently?
  • Which implants are the most significant cost drivers?

It’s difficult to answer such detailed questions without the infrastructure of clean, enriched data.

When you can’t extract that kind of information, it hinders negotiating with vendors and making comparisons between physicians.

7 - Use tools that analyze constructs and procedures across multiple facilities.

Data enrichment reveals procedure trends across multiple facilities. It’s possible to use the data to discover whether the health system is doing more of a particular procedure.

For example, with proper data enrichments, analysts have system-wide visibility into the number of revisions vs. primary procedures or coated vs. uncoated. These insights are key to effective clinical conversations and ultimately savings for health systems.

One of the most significant advantages of a data enrichment service is the ability to analyze constructs and procedures across multiple facilities. It becomes easy to normalize this data across facilities, and analytics tools make it simple to manipulate and evaluate this data as well.

8 - Benchmarks are your friend.

One point of enrichment Curvo provides is quality benchmark information. This is another area of weakness for many hospital enterprises. They simply don’t have access to quality benchmark information.

Whatever they manage to glean through highly manual data analysis processes can’t be leveraged against benchmark data without some kind of outside partnership. Benchmark data is part of the clinical data enrichment that Curvo data subscription customers receive.

9 - Don’t obsess over price and miss out on value.

Hospitals and supply chain teams that look strictly at the business aspects of supply chain data tend to become overly focused on price.

This becomes a problem for several reasons:

  • Accurate prices may not reflect actual costs.
  • You miss data about clinical effectiveness. (A higher-priced product with vastly better patient outcomes is worth the spend.)
  • You risk problematic groupings that distort the numbers.

10 - What to do about the biggest sourcing problem: lack of time.

It’s exceedingly time-consuming to get the necessary level of spend information manually. First, analysts must take months of data and find all the hips and knees products, for example. They also need to determine which are coated versus uncoated (among several other variables) before they can draw useful analyses from the data.

It is possible to do this manually, but it’s not easy. Skilled analysts can search all the SKUs to get to this information, but it takes weeks. And because the data doesn't stay current for that long, the process must be repeated frequently. One hospital leader estimated that a Senior Data Analyst spent 3.5 to 4 weeks on this information alone.

If the project was delayed in any way, they had to repeat the exercise. Normalization, too, tends to be an excruciatingly manual process without a data subscription. It doesn’t take long to do the math on that type of operational expense.

In contrast, Curvo data enrichment customers leverage GIC classification from ONN to produce a 12-month spend with all clinical enrichments and procedures within just three days.

11 - Some solutions add deeper layers of enrichment to device classification.

Another advantage of solutions like Curvo is the depth of enrichment that’s available. Some competitors offer limited data enrichment, but Curvo takes it to a depth no one else can match.

For example, we add in Type 1 and Type 2 GICs (Generic Implant Classification, the proprietary codeset for the ONN Classification.) Curvo also enriches with construct logic and component detail invaluable for case cost and utilization analysis like never before.

Data Enrichment for Your Healthcare Enterprise Data Strategy

Data enrichment should be part of every healthcare enterprise data strategy. If you’d like to know more, why not start with a demo of clinical spend data and analytics on the Curvo Platform?

Try the Curvo Platform