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Predictions for Data’s Future in Healthcare and Elsewhere

The future of healthcare involves complex technology, including data collection, dissemination, and utilization. That means the data obtained must be analyzed and presented to those providing care in meaningful, understandable ways.

Doing so is a challenge, especially in a world where just saying “we have Big Data” implies that a solution has already been reached, says Zach Gemignani, co-founder and CEO of Juice Analytics, a Nashville-based company he and his brother co-founded in 2005 to enable the conversion of complex data to action that will drive positive results and successful outcomes. For him, the path from collection to utilization runs through the types of applications Juice Analytics is creating

“There’s an opportunity to bring data to bear to help users of those products be smarter and more informed in how they use training or other technologies,” Gemignani says. “I don’t know what it’s going to look like 10 years from now, but I think people have come to this realization that all the data in the world does not help you if it’s not focused. Data, or an application, can’t help if it doesn’t solve specific problems and if it doesn’t guide through that data in a way that’s going to be really easy for people to understand.”

He refers to smartphone applications as a good analogy for the data applications his company creates. Each phone app is very targeted, has a clear purpose and, and it helps solve a specific issue.

“If you want to get directions, you go to your map app; if you want to understand your calendar, what you have coming up next, you know, you look at your calendar app,” he says. “In the same way, we believe analytics needs to move in this direction of being very clear in what it’s helping you achieve. That’s what data storytelling and the things that we do accomplish.”

Simple Solutions, Clear Paths Forward

What that means for healthcare or any other industry where workforce training and other vital functions must reach thousands of people is a pivot to consumer technology for problem solving.

“People are just starting to get comfortable with using data to guide their decision-making, and consumer applications in some ways are leading that charge--some business applications are going to follow,” Gemignani says. “Something we talk about is how the best kind of data application would be a to-do list that just tells you what you should do. Wouldn’t it be better if you just opened up an application that said, ‘Here are the three actions you should take based on all this data that’s under the hood?’”

It’s an elegant solution, but one that won’t come overnight. Still, as the healthcare industry invests heavily in data warehousing and mining, its diverse components are going to want to see those dollars pay off in multiple ways, including:

  • More efficient training
  • Workforce retention
  • Improved workflow
  • Positive outcomes

“It’s going to take a while for people to build up the comfort to trust in this, in this data, in the system that is being built,” Gemignani says. “But analytics are going to be built into your workflow in such a way that it helps guide and inform your options in such a way that feel like you’re interacting with data. It’s just providing you useful guidance as you go along. That’s going to be true for real-time data, mobile data, and alerts delivery. I think we’ll see analytics moving away from the kind of heavy dashboards and self-service business intelligence tools we have now, and towards much more lightweight things that are almost embedded into the way people work every day.”

About Zach Gemignani:

Zach Gemignani is co-founder and CEO of Juice Analytics, a Nashville-based company helping transform how people communicate with data. Its products include Juicebox, a SaaS platform for delivering interactive data-storytelling applications to inform smarter decisions. He also is author of the Wiley book Data Fluency: Empowering Your Organization with Effective Data Communication, has served on the leadership committee for the Nashville Analytic Summit for several years and has been named a Most Admired CEO by the Nashville Business Journal.

This blog post is taken from a HealthStream Second Opinions Podcast that was recorded recently. To hear Zach Gemignani’s full discussion, click here.

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