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Tag: Mckinsey

Why Hospitals Continue to Fail in ‘Connecting the Dots’ With Their Data, and What They Can Do to Change

The world is awash in data. It is estimated that the amount of digital information increases ten-fold every few years, with data growing at a compound annual rate of 60 percent. The big technology company Cisco has forecast that by 2013, the amount of traffic flowing over the internet annually will reach 667 exabytes. Just to put that in perspective, one exabyte of data is the equivalent of more than 4,000 times the information stored in the US Library of Congress.

This data explosion – now rather imprecisely dubbed “big data” – is both an opportunity and a curse. Having all of that information makes it possible to do things that were previously never even imaginable. Last year, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) conducted a major research study on big data, calling it “the next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity.” The MGI study noted that big data is becoming even more valuable as our analytical and computing abilities continue to expand.

On the “curse” side of the big data phenomenon, the growing mountains of information also pose massive challenges to those who need to manage it. Having ever greater volumes of data to sift through to find critical insights (the proverbial needle in the digital haystack), is a growing problem for companies, organizations, and governments the world over. Sometimes, there really is such a thing as too much information.

The data deluge is especially urgent for hospitals, which are factories of data. In the typical hospital, data flows from every department and function – from emergency department admission records and HR systems, to purchasing and billing information. But, hospitals are not exactly known for effectively managing data. The healthcare provider sector is probably 20 years behind other major industry domains in terms of how its uses data. Many hospitals fail to realize the value of the data they do have – or they are overly focused on EMRs.

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Lost in the Mckinsey mire

It’s a good week for Bob Kocher, a key architect of the ACA, to be leaving Mckinsey and moving into the word of venture capital. There’s lots of fuss in wonkdom about whether Mckinsey’s survey of employers was statistically correct and peer reviewed or more of a push poll. There’s lots of fuss even apparently within the firm about the validity of the estimate that 30% of employers (or is it employees) will be moved over to the exchanges. But despite ballyhoo over the Mckinsey report, because in 2009 the White House got stuck into the mantra that “if you like your insurance you can keep it” the fact that it’s good to get employers out of providing health insurance has been missed. If you have insurance from an employer that puts you in the exchange it’s a fair bet that your coverage was anyway going to move to levels worse than that mandated by the government. And the levels of coverage and behavior of the plans in the exchange which will hopefully actually be enforced–with the threat of being booted out being a motivator. And as we all know employers are the worst purchasers of health care out there and need to be got out of the game. That was what the very sensible Wyden-Bennet plan did, but as the collective stupidity of the nation’s unions and chambers  of commerce is very high, we ended up with the ACA instead. Oh well, welcome to America.

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