I hired a great analyst a few years ago. She was skilled with database programs, understood the complexities of the healthcare market, and had previously been a medical records coder—in short, she was very talented. The longer she was in her position, the more our state data was reported accurately and on a reliable schedule. It was a huge win for me and my team!
Recognizing her capabilities, I asked if she could start running "quarterly standard reports" that present key findings which could influence how our planning, marketing, and business development departments would function and what we would focus on in the weeks and months to come. These quarterly updates would be high-level summaries of our market landscape and would cover everything from our hospital’s market share, trended volume, competitor positions, product lines, payor mix, patient migration patterns and more.
To my surprise, she was insulted by my request. From her perspective, she couldn’t understand why I would ask such a skilled analyst to run such a "standard report.” Additionally, she said she did not have the bandwidth to run something of this nature on a regular basis when her time was needed for more 'high-level analysis’. With some persuasion, I convinced her to establish a process for how these reports should be run and we tasked a lower level analyst with populating them each quarter.
The result? Management was happy with the regular reporting and our top analyst was pleased that she was not executing on a report that was below her skill-level. The only problem: it took that lower level analyst a full day to populate the reports, impeding her from completing other pressing work during that day.
I have since learned, this story is not an uncommon one. Many hospitals and healthcare systems are challenged with having too many analyst needs and too few analysts to complete all the work. The in-house analyst team struggles to support the long queue of requests on their time and wish for a better way to keep up with the demand. Neglecting to find a solution to this problem will only lead to continued frustration for all parties involved.
The Challenging Healthcare Analyst Landscape
As the sheer amount of data that healthcare organizations are collecting continues to grow at a rapid rate, the talent pool of individuals needed to analyze this information is having trouble keeping up. This is particularly true in the healthcare industry, as studies show this industry comprises nearly 20% of all business intelligence analyst job listings.
The high demand to fill this position has created an environment where health systems have no choice but to be very competitive with their offers. So much so, that Forbes has listed the business intelligence analyst position to be among its top 10 best-paying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs on the market.
Talented analysts are hard to find and, if you are lucky enough to have a great analyst, their skills are most likely needed all the way across the organization: completing product line deep dives, identifying where your system should locate a new FSED, with physician referral issues, and answering questions like “why is our market share of OB declining?”
Functioning with an overloaded analyst team means your basic but important analysis request will enter a long, backed-up queue only to be fulfilled many weeks later.
An even more challenging position some hospitals are facing is the reality of having no analyst talent in-house. This situation leaves marketers and strategic planners to run key reports on their hospital’s market share, competitor positions, and patient migration patterns on their own. Learning the skills of a full-time analyst and taking responsibility to run the reports they don’t have time for is not the best use of time for directors and leadership positions. Another solution is needed.
How to Overcome the Analyst Shortage and Better Support the Analyst Team You Have
One of the most effective routes to filling the gap where analyst talent is in short supply in such a competitive job market is by investing in a software tool. Having a tool specifically designed for this reporting function makes it easier for your analysts, marketers, or strategic planners to run simple reports and allows your analyst team to focus the majority of their time on in-depth analysis for more convoluted questions. There are a number of tools on the market that could make your analyst’s (and your!) life easier. To identify the right one for you, start with the following steps:
- Assess the biggest bottlenecks and drains on your analyst’s time.
- Make a list of reports requested most frequently and prioritize this list by importance, relevance across the organization, and difficulty of execution.
- Survey the software options on the market and determine which would be the most beneficial to your organization and take the largest burden off of your analyst team.
- Choose a software solution and put it to work!
Stratasan’s solution to this problem is Launch Pathway. Equipped with a tool like Launch Pathway, your analyst’s overwhelm can become a thing of the past. Quarterly reports that cover your hospital’s market share and volume can be presented in an easy-to-share and understand format that’s ready for insertion into a PowerPoint presentation. With Launch Pathway, those important reports can easily be run by marketers and strategic planners and can be completed in minutes, not hours or days. Launch Pathway also provides mapping functionality which can add compelling visuals to support your numbers.
The amount of data your healthcare organization will continue to collect and the need to analyze it is not likely to change. Additionally, the shortage of analyst talent and time availability will continue to be a problem unless another solution is found. Launch Pathway provides the support needed to direct your strategy and provides higher-level analysts with the bandwidth to execute on more comprehensive requests.
Contact Sean Conway for a demonstration today. Sean will demonstrate how Launch Pathway can help your organization overcome the analyst shortage and free up your talented in-house team to handle the higher-level analysis on which they need to be focused. Additionally, company-wide alignment around the straightforward intelligence and visualizations Launch Pathway provides will more quickly encourage invaluable strategic conversations. All levels of your organization will find themselves on the same page, from analysts to executive management, expediting data-based conversations around how to solve growth related questions.
Article by Lee Ann Lambdin, SVP of Healthcare Strategy for Stratasan
Lee Ann brings 20 years of healthcare experience in planning leadership roles with systems such as Saint Thomas Health, Brim Healthcare, and Covenant Health.