Aligning H&HS Analytics Resources to Support Actionable and Timely Insights for Service Delivery Re-design

Date: March 16, 2017||   0  Comments


Joseph Fiorentino, Managing Director H&HS, Accenture
sat down with HITC’s Rob Waters to understand more about the challenges states are facing in realizing the potential of their data analytics programs and to discuss the creative approaches being employed by states to engage with the vendor community to support actionable and timely insights to better serve their service re-design efforts.

Rob Waters: H&HS agencies hold huge potential in terms of the varied data stores they manage to measure performance and improve outcomes – what are some of the challenges states are facing in realizing this potential?

Joseph Fiorentino: Agencies are trying to move beyond compliance and operational approaches to creatively use data to reinvent service delivery and build a stronger network of care, however, many are struggling to glean value from data. A few factors are holding back progress. These include:

• Data privacy and security issues – This is the biggest barrier. Sharing data across an ecosystem is not without challenges for most agencies. Even those with good intentions often face legislative, process, cultural and confidentiality obstacles. Adaptive leadership approaches and creative strategies will help agencies to overcome this barrier.
• Demand for new skills – Analytics professionals today need new and more complete skillsets—a combination of business, data science, visual aptitude and technology, among other skills. These skills are in tremendous demand in the marketplace, and agencies must retain this type of talent to maximize their data.
• Architectures – Big data architecture must work hand-in-hand with traditional architecture to satisfy more complex analytics needs. Hybrid is the new reality to increase value.

RW: In a world of finite resources and often burdensome data-usage regulations, how are states evolving their approach to analytics to yield actionable insights in a timely manner?

JF: Agencies need a new data mindset if they are going to use data to improve decision-making, align finite resources, measure performance and improve outcomes.

Agencies that want to develop their own targeted analytics programs and get results quickly need different tools than most might expect. Many decision makers think that they must start with infrastructure. They assume the first step is to invest in data warehouses, data stores and the hardware and software necessary to support them. This is an expensive, unnecessary heavy lift—a three- to five-year project that often times does not yield desired results for data analytics.
Agencies have exciting opportunities to get straight to using data insights to benefit citizens. Rather than focus on infrastructure, agencies should focus on extracting value from the data they have, using fast, innovative methods. The key is to identify a specific problem or question to address and “work backward” to determine the data insight needed to solve it.

With this narrow focus, agencies can apply methods, such as rapid prototyping or rapid cycle evaluation, to reduce delivery time and improve services faster. These methods take weeks, not years, speeding insight to action. They are also highly adaptive, giving agencies newfound freedom to take risks and experiment with analytics. Agencies finally have room to “fail fast and fail small,” making near real-time course corrections to program approaches to manage risk while supporting a continuous focus on outcomes.

RW: Increasingly states are referencing the role of ‘partnership in analytics’, how have you seen the relationship between vendor, agency staff and policy makers evolve over time?

JF: To a certain extent, reform programs are driving progress as agencies are looking for creative strategies to share data and adopt analytics. Agencies recognize that traditional procurement processes and difficulty sharing data across an ecosystem are a challenge. Legislative, process, cultural and confidentiality barriers hinder even the best intentions.

Rather than struggling through a typically lengthy RFP process, agencies are having firms prequalify by participating in a “bake off” of their solution. This approach has benefits because it drives an infusion of innovation as firms big and small respond to projects. However, there will need to be a great deal of coordination and governance as agencies try to manage multiple vendors working off the same data using different techniques and technologies.

RW: For states who are currently re-assessing their H&HS analytics strategies, what advice do you have in terms of engaging the vendor marketplace and structuring procurements for optimal outcomes?

JF: An analytics RFP should encourage creativity and innovation. Engage with the marketplace prior to the RFP by fostering conversations and work sessions between the agency and the vendor.

Agencies should be transparent, if they have a strategy in mind, share it, and have the vendor community comment on it. Try to avoid product specifics, where possible, to keep the door open to new ideas and new approaches when communicating with the vendor community. One approach that is gaining traction is to prequalify vendors rather than go through a lengthy RFP process and select one vendor. After prequalifying vendors, work collaboratively with those vendors and have them compete on smaller projects. This gives agencies newfound freedom to take risks and experiment with analytics. In this model, agencies have room to quickly make course corrections on the relationship with the vendor.

Accenture is the Track 2 Sponsor: State Innovation, Data Analytics and Population Health Management *Accenture’s Joseph Fiorentino will also be co-presenting the track session as detailed below on Day 2 of the conference.
March 29th, 11.30 a.m.12.30 p.m EDT
Track 2
Analytics Make My Head Hurt! A Prescription for Actionable Insights

Joseph Fiorentino, Managing Director, Health and Human Services, Accenture
Martin Baker, MSc, Senior Director, Strategic Growth and Business Development, UMass Medical School

Register to Attend the 2017 State Healthcare IT Connect Summit | March 28th – 29th | Hilton Baltimore, Baltimore MD.

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