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Better data, better health-system strategy: Highlights from SHSMD

Recently, some of the industry’s brightest minds gathered for the 2019 Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) Connections conference. It was a tour de force of visionary ideas for the future of health-system strategy.

If you missed it, you truly missed out. But not to worry! In this post, we’re going to recap some of the best that SHSMD Connections had to offer.

Three breakout sessions in particular showcased some bold ideas with startling clarity and force. Health-system leaders should certainly pay attention to what they had to say.

  1. From Fahrenheit 212— “10 Out-of-industry Innovations You Need to Know About”

In this meaty presentation, speakers Adam Rubin and Kristine Plunkett, of the consultancy Fahrenheit 212, offered a look into their crystal ball.

Using cutting-edge innovations from players outside of healthcare, they showed leaders what the emerging desires of healthcare systems might look like—and how health systems can rise to meet them.

No succinct recap of all 10 observations could possibly do the talk justice. (You can see Rubin and Plunkett’s illuminating slide deck here.) But this summary of three important points should give leaders more than enough food for thought:

Micro-moments of truth

Outside of healthcare, leading companies are tweaking consumer experiences with an unprecedented degree of precision.

Uber, for example, now offers passengers in-app options to fine-tune every aspect of their ride before they even step into the car. They can customize everything, from the temperature of the A/C to the chattiness of the driver.

Perfecting these “micro-moments” is what adds up to an outstanding passenger experience. Rubin and Plunkett ask, Which micro-moments should health systems make better?

 UX imperative

Employees squander 32 days of productivity each year, simply because their employers’ communication apps are confusing.

If that’s that case for workers, how much worse is the situation for consumers?

Many patients are bewildered by the digital experience they get with their healthcare providers. How can this experience be redesigned to be clear, simple, and frictionless?

 Proactive personalization

86% of consumers report that personalized experiences affect their purchasing decisions.

Small wonder, then, that Nike offers its customers the ability to customize their shoes, or that L’Oréal can tailor its beauty line to fit customers’ microbiomes.

Such fine-tuned customization might not be within reach for healthcare experiences. But it’s not as far off as health leaders might think. How can health systems reform services to reflect their patients’ personalities?

(This is exactly the issue that NRC Health president Steve Jackson and Jeffrey Rakover, a senior researcher at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, covered in a recent webinar. If you missed the live event, you can catch a recording here.)

  1. From UC Health and Rasor Marketing Communications— “Marketing Measurement 101”

In today’s digital age, no one doubts the importance of data—least of all healthcare marketers.

Questions arise, however, when it comes time to consider how this data should be collected. What’s the smartest approach to customer research? How should healthcare marketing teams allocate their limited time and resources?

Allison Neikirk, marketing manager at UC Health — one of NRC Health’s partners — and Mimi Rasor, president of Rasor Marketing Communications, offer their guidance. To avoid being overwhelmed, they say, health systems should adopt a simple three-step process.

First, they should take an inventory of their metrics—both the metrics readily available, and the metrics they’d like to collect in the future. Combined in a single analysis, these measurements will give marketers a full view of where the organization stands, and what it can improve.

After the inventory comes connecting with experts.

These advocates within the organization—often, but not always, higher-ups in executive management—are able to help the marketing team refine their research projects. They can help select KPIs, vet strategies, and nail down the way the project will be supervised.

Once that’s accomplished, it’s time to develop a data process.

This is where marketing teams need to get into the nitty-gritty details. They need to agree on what data should be collected, and how; who will perform the various tasks behind the collection process, and how often; and finally, how the data will be reported and analyzed.

The end result will be a context-rich, robust, and reliable field of data-points, to be drawn from by marketers seeking to inform their strategic decisions.

The entire slide deck is worth reading. You can see it here.

  1. From Houston Methodist Global Health Care and Stratasan—“Pairing the Right Questions with the Right Data”

Last but not least, a presentation focused on data analysis.

Too often, well-intentioned research projects begin with an earnest query: How do I grow my market share? or How do I know I’m reaching the right population?

In an effort to answer these queries, researchers instinctively turn to data. But how can we be sure they’re consulting the right data for the job?

That’s the question that Kola Omotade, project manager at Houston Methodist Global Health Care, and Lee Ann Lambdin, SVP of healthcare strategy at Stratasan, set out to answer in their talk.

They explained that not every data set is equally capable of answering every research question. Each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. And if we want more reliable analysis, we have to match these data sets with analytic questions that suit their strengths.

Omotade and Lambdin explained what these various strengths might be in a richly useful talk. The whole thing is well worth healthcare leaders’ time.

Plan on attending next year

Uniting these talks is a common theme: that the way to better serve patients is through creating a better experience, and the way to a better experience is through better data.

That foundation of applied intelligence is the bedrock of SHSMD Connections, and it’s fundamental to what we do at NRC Health.

We’ll certainly be watching that conference closely—and we’re already looking forward to the next one in 2020.