Impact of Fostering a Data and Analytics culture: Case Study | MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan Management Review has published a new case study under the general theme, "Becoming an Analytics-Driven Organization."  This is the first in a series of five cases that will cover different industry sectors, to be published over the next 12 months.

American health care is undergoing a data-driven transformation — and Intermountain Healthcare, a Utah-based company that runs 22 hospitals and 185 clinics, is leading the way. 

The full case study, When Health Care Gets a Healthy Dose of Data, examines the data and analytics culture at Intermountain Healthcare and describes how data-driven decision making has improved patient outcomes in cardiovascular medicine, endocrinology, surgery, obstetrics and care processes — while saving millions of dollars in procurement and in its supply chain.  The story is further developed within our microsite containing video clips of interviews with key stakeholders.  A downloadable PDF version is also available.

Intermountain Healthcare runs 22 hospitals and 185 clinics in Utah and Idaho. It employs more than 800 physicians. In 2014, it performed 150,000 surgeries and had 488,000 emergency room visits. It also operates an insurer, SelectHealth, which had 750,000 members and $1.83 billion in revenues in 2014. Overall, in 2014 Intermountain Healthcare had $5.57 billion in revenues and an operating surplus of $301 million.

Computers barely existed when Intermountain began its quest to incorporate data analytics into its health care practices. In the 1950s, a cardiologist named Homer Warner joined one of the hospitals that eventually became part of the Intermountain Healthcare organization. Shortly thereafter, he began gathering data to understand why some heart patients had better outcomes than others. Warner would become known as the father of medical informatics — the use of computer programs to analyze patient data to determine treatment protocols.

Fast forward!  In 2016, Intermountain Healthcare will be launching a new insurance product that will make physicians and Intermountain jointly responsible for health care costs. While the company will not force this on people, if the process models are not adopted, doctors won’t be able to participate in the shared-risk system that is coming to Intermountain. 

There will be cultural challenges that emerge from the use of the new system — beyond just getting doctors and nurses to adopt it. Primary care doctors who need to refer patients to specialists will be able to see rankings of these specialists based on internal data and make decisions accordingly. The goal is to be able to look at what their clinical outcomes are, what their costs are, what their patient satisfaction is, aiming for total transparency among the group.  Ultimately the goal is to make this transparency public.

If your enterprise is somewhere down the road to becoming an analytics-driven organization, you will likely discover insights of interest from Intermountain Healthcare's journey, regardless of your industry. Comments and feedback welcome! 


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