For those living the world of information, DRIP stands for data rich, information poor. Healthcare organizations necessarily capture huge amounts of data every minute of every day. The overwhelming majority of that data vanishes into oblivion. A small fraction of it is utilized by the business office and the CFO. Another small fraction is collected and reported out to regulatory agencies in order to satisfy some requirement.
In the realm of case/utilization management, metrics are enormously important. In fact, it only comes second to caring for the patients. The question for every case manager is, “Are you getting the data you need to do your job effectively.” The answer is typically a resounding “no.” In some cases, organizations drown themselves in data and struggle to make use of it. Sorting through mountains of data can lead to the classic “paralysis of analysis.” The quantity of data is overwhelming and the resources needed to sift through it all leaves little left to identify opportunities and affect meaningful change.
There are some simple steps to start your journey toward the utopian state of data-driven case management. Take small steps and don’t let it frustrate you.
The first thing that you need to know is what data is actually being captured. Talk to your colleagues in the business office, IT, pharmacy, Radiology and any other department that might be tracking data. Discover what it is that is being measured. Just as importantly, discover how this information is getting entered into tracking system.
The second thing to do is to determine which of the data is useful in accomplishing your of keeping utilization, costs and length of stay to their minimums and quality at it maximum. When you find usable data, find a way to get it for yourself on a regular basis. If the data is not helpful, move on. Don’t forget it entirely, as you never know what you will need in the future.
Next, try to determine if the various forms of data can be used in together to grow the value of the data. Layering data can bring significant meaning to the numbers. Splitting out specific providers or specific payers can identify outliers and focus your attention on specific opportunities.
Once opportunities are identified, start by sharing the data with all of the interested parties. Getting everyone in the loop will energize the team and bring many more ideas to the table. It is imperative to educate the outliers themselves regarding their situation.
Finally, work together as a team to develop initiatives to improve the utilization outliers. Get broad input and broad support. Develop a timeline for accomplishing the initiative and stay accountable for the long-term.