It’s hard to fathom where the digital world is taking us with how frequently our lives are changing by new technology, impacting both our work and personal lives. When most of us crave instant access and simplicity, more and more tools are being developed to help us measure, record, and evaluate. Insert artificial intelligence, algorithms, and complex information systems and your head can start to hurt with the possibilities.
Aggregated data and dashboards have become a commodity, but not all of these are created equal. Let’s explore some predictions for how we will be interacting with data in the future as healthcare and compliance professionals.
*Updated from Mar 23, 2016 Original Post
There have been numerous studies and predictions about the future of dashboards. Fatima A wrote a great article in Medium recently and navigated the future of dashboards and how they can be organized to fit personal behavior and interests versus a general audience. When data cannot be broken down to address the problems that people are looking to solve, are they really useful in the first place? In the article, it clearly walks through some of the ways that good dashboards break through the clutter by offering a unique, simple, and valuable experience.
Another great example we found is an article by UX Magazine on the topic of data visualization. Given technological advancement and engineered “learning” from the tools we use each day, dashboards are becoming more efficient and reliable with offering the exact information we want, and on our time-frame. However, the game of visualization will always be a major player in how useful a dashboard delivers its key factors. If the user is unable to quickly search for what they are looking for, or if the information is delivered in an unsatisfactory format, it ultimately can lead to dashboard fatigue or worse...misinterpreting data.
What type of data will future dashboards track and how will it make our lives easier and more compliant?
Regardless of what technology is in place, human beings will still have to decide what to do with the data on the dashboard to turn it into information. That means capturing the right data and involving key stakeholders in your organization to think about the top 10 (maybe fewer or more depending on the needs of your organization) key metrics that will help you actively interpret data. This process is key to understanding a situation, problem or opportunity and choosing the correct ways to address each item. The key metrics must be relevant, specific and yet transparent. If they are too specific to one particular user, they do not help the broader organization. Yet, if they are too broad, then they do not provide real insight to catch or react to something important.
Ease of use of the data and how it is presented will be key. We are all tied to our mobile devices, and the future dashboard will likely focus on the content that can fit on a smaller screen. The advent of the smartwatch makes that task even more daunting – at least for those of us over 45 and who need readers to see regular font! We believe smart data will be demonstrated in more visual formats such as charts or pictures. Use of colors will probably become the standard since we are accustomed to the stop light color-coded system.
What would a healthcare compliance dashboard look like in the future?
Getting back to healthcare, first of all, it would be populated with dynamic, not static, data. Dynamic data is data that is pulled in real time and provides immediate access to critical data. The dashboard will have to be well thought out by many leaders in the healthcare organization in order to be truly helpful. If the wrong stakeholders are involved, you could track the wrong data.
It would seem that in the future, the key data that will matter will include:
- Admissions data and re-admissions data – healthcare will probably still be reimbursed and evaluated on its effectiveness, efficiency and in lowering costs
- Billing data – was the service(s) associated with the care provided correctly
- Necessity – was the service(s) provided appropriate and standard for the diagnosis
- Quality of care vs. Type of care – is it central to the services being provided and within the skill set of the staff
- Compliance – staff assigned must be qualified, licensed and not excluded by the OIG
How can smart data be used to determine the future?
What if the data could predict future trends? Imagine if the dashboard could predict an outbreak of a virus in the area and thus alert the hospital of the need for additional staffing, medicine and/or planning for an influx of sick people? What if the dashboard could be modeled to reflect and keep up with population increases and in particular those who are prone to certain diseases? Now we are talking about real future dashboard metrics that matter.
The most important lesson we can bring from the current and take to the future – let the healthcare compliance data educate and inform us so we can react or pivot in a timely manner. This will make the data actionable and make your organization more compliant.
How "real" is real time in the future?
The cool police and James Bond movies show data can be seen BEFORE the event occurs. Although awesome in its concept, we are not sure that data can be that PREDICTABLE. Weather forecasting – sure that can be an art and science. But whether someone will show up to work so that you can be at full staff or foreseeing whether the wrong medicines will be administered are much harder to predict. However, predictive analytics will likely look much different than today. The Internet-of-Things revolution should help move that train along.
Dashboards will be mobile, real-time driven and as predictive as possible. It will still require humans since a computer is only as “smart” as the person that programs it. Our society is used to instant data and information coming at us from multiple sources and devices at the same time. Dashboards help to simplify the array of data points and to re-focus our brain on what really matters and is important.
Wherever data dashboards of the future leads us, we know one thing for sure - conventional and consumer products like Excel will be a dinosaur in the realm of tracking data and creating actionable reporting and analytical research. Our team is always looking to improve our user experience through our software solutions. We aim to offer the most effective, efficient, and intuitive tools for you and your organization to make sense of the compliance world around you. Ensuring top quality care is critical to individuals and you as compliance and HR professionals are on the front lines each day - for that we say thank you and we are always here to help!
Start the conversation - Where do you think dashboards in healthcare are heading? Comment below.
Check out our data & dashboard series:
1. Introduction to Healthcare Compliance Data & Dashboards
2. What can we Learn from Healthcare Compliance Data?
3. Oh, the Benefits to Reap from Healthcare Compliance Data Dashboards
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October 25, 2017
Written by Michael Rosen, ESQ
Michael brings over 20 years of experience founding and leading risk mitigation businesses, receiving numerous accolades such as: Inc Magazine's Inc 500 Award and Nashville Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year.