Pairing the Right Questions with the Right Data

Pairing the Right Questions with the Right Data

Effectively Leverage Your Data for Maximum Growth Insights

By Lee Ann Lambdin, Kola Omotade, Tony Camarata

Are you asking the wrong questions of the right data; or the right questions of the wrong data? Most healthcare strategic planners understand the value of using data for informed decision making, but many don’t know how to effectively use data—or when to acquire new data—to find the answers they need.

When looking to assess market share or performance, you may feel the datasets you already have access to will provide the answers you need. But what if you don’t have the right data to answer these particular questions? Using the wrong data, you may miss important segments of your population in your analysis and risk using out-of-date or inconsistent data. A new data set all together may be needed to properly address the issues at hand.

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There is also great value in being able to trust your data so you can be confident in your decision making. As hospital leaders face mounting financial and operational challenges, it’s critical to have tools that can consolidate and visualize healthcare market data—offering a source of common truth—and speed up the data analysis process. A source of common truth can unify departments around growth goals, metrics, and reliable market intelligence.


The Right Questions and The Right Data

The complexity of healthcare data can be a challenging obstacle for anyone trying to decipher the limitations and best use case scenarios. But for those involved in business development and marketing who want to be able to leverage data for improved growth planning, a baseline understanding of which dataset is best suited for key growth-related opportunities is a must.

The following chart pairs commonly asked growth-related questions with the best dataset for finding answers:

Question The Best Data for Answers The Common (Wrong) Data Used Why It Matters to Use the Right Data?
What's my market share? State Data
(Medicare if State not available)
APCD Whatever source of data is used, it's important to know what population the data source covers. In the case of APCD, there will be some proportion of the market which is not included due to self-pay or charity care not resulting in a claim, as well as claims processed directly with payers (rather than clearinghouses) or by clearinghouses which are not affiliated with your APCD vendor. State data will cover all cases within the reportable requirements including self-pay and charity care, as well as claims processed directly with payers.

Additionally, with APCD, data consistency is a concern. Market share is only valuable with a consistent denominator (total number). APCD is constantly shifting which makes it an unreliable source for market share analysis. With state data, documentation is generally better since there is a single consolidation point (the state health agency). Consistency is also not as great a concern with state data, since all facilities report in a conformed way to the state data collection entity.
How are my primary care clinics doing? APCD The Internet It is always surprising to learn how often healthcare planners and marketers are still Googling to glean insights. The opportunity for error with this strategy should be obvious - the internet is simply not a reliable, trustworthy source for insights of this nature.

APCD includes data for real claims which have been processed. Other sources of data may be estimates or out-of-date if sourced directly from clinic web sites instead of from external parties.
How can I track and understand post-acute care usage? Medicare APCD Post-Acute care usage is more frequently utilized by older individuals, many of which are Medicare-eligible age.* Data sets tailored specifically for Home Health Agencies and Skilled Nursing Facilities are available directly from CMS and include 100% of the Medicare Fee-For-Service market. While there will be some additional volumes treated outside the Medicare-eligible population, the trends observed for this population should be largely indicative of the market as a whole and can help identify trends in care for specific markets, demographics, or markets.

While APCD may allow for analysis of more niche care settings where post-acute care was provided, the bulk of this care would be visible in the CMS-available datasets.

The Value of a Diversified Data Strategy

It’s valuable to have access to multiple data sources for the most complete and accurate look at market opportunities. The healthcare space is flooded with various types of data: state, Medicare, all-payer claims, EMR, demographic, psychographic, and more. While there is no “magic bullet” when it comes to data—no dataset holds all the answers—as demonstrated in the chart above, the right data paired with the right question is key. Asking the wrong questions of the right data (or vice versa) can lead to improper conclusions about your market or missed growth opportunities.

Armed with access to multiple data sources, you’ll be equipped to access the right data for answers to each new question as it arises. You'll be able to view opportunities through the lens of the right data source. Your marketing, planning, and business development teams will be able to unite around a strategic growth plan knowing your strategy is backed by optimal data intelligence.


The Takeaway

Does your team have the assurance that you’re making growth plans based on data that best aligns with your unique market challenges and opportunities? Do you have confidence that your data is up-to-date and properly processed, providing that common source of truth for your team? If not, now is the time to make a change. Our software and team of data analysts are equipped to give you confidence in your data and will help to align your questions with the ideal data insights.
For more information about how to establish a data strategy based on the most informed growth insights, schedule a discovery call with one of our experts today.

Article by Lee Ann Lambdin, SVP of Healthcare Strategy, Kola Omotade, Project Manager to the President & CEO of Global Health Care Services & Senior Vice President of Community Development at Houston Methodist, Tony Camarata, VP of Strategic Solutions for Stratasan

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data analysis healthcare data state data cms data all-payer claims data