This guide will cover the basics of healthcare analytics.

What is Healthcare Analytics? A Mini Guide + Examples

Can data analytics save lives? Many seem to think so. The Big Data Analytics healthcare industry is projected to be worth multimillion USD by 2029 as people put more faith in its potential to improve patient care, streamline operational efficiency, and contain costs.

Additionally, big data analytics solves the problem of healthcare’s formidable data volume problem, as it’s estimated that the average hospital produces roughly 50 petabytes of data every year—more than twice the amount of data housed in the Library of Congress.

So what exactly is healthcare data analytics and how can it help today’s healthcare landscape? Read on to learn the answers to these questions. 

Key components of healthcare analytics

According to Arcadia, healthcare analytics refers to the “systematic use of data and statistical analysis techniques in the healthcare industry.” Specifically, it involves:

Four key components of healthcare analytics as explained in the text below.
  • Data collection. Patient records, claims data, clinical trials, and research are all collected data types in the healthcare industry. Comprehensive and accurate data collection sets the tone for meaningful analysis and actionable results.
  • Data management. Data cleansing, integration, and storage all fall under data management. A robust analytics platform is necessary to facilitate these processes in a structured and HIPAA-compliant manner.
  • Data analysis. Most people assume that analysis is a part of healthcare data analytics. Rightfully so, as applied predictive, prescriptive, and descriptive analytical approaches provide recommended decision-making based on analyzed results. This translates to predicting diagnoses, identifying at-risk patients, and more.
  • Data visualization and reporting. Making large amounts of data visually digestible is essential in the fast-paced world of healthcare. Analytics tools and techniques break complex metrics down into understandable dashboards, charts, and graphs that can enhance quick and knowledgeable decision-making.

Healthcare analytics involves all of these processes to generate the most value. However, implementing analytics software can be a challenge for many organizations, as consolidating data from disparate sources can lead to duplication, inconsistencies, and compliance hazards. That’s why many decide to partner with an analytics vendor to guide them through the implementation process and help them achieve their full analytical power.

Real-life examples of analytics in healthcare

Analytics supports and revolutionizes the digitalization of healthcare systems by changing the way patient data is collected, accessed, and analyzed. To understand healthcare analytics in action, let’s review a few examples.

Electronic health records

Electronic health records or EHRs are comprehensive digital records detailing a patient’s health information. Patients can become misdiagnosed without accurate and updated EHRs if providers cannot access the full patient history or claims data. 

However, combining and migrating patient data is technically intensive and can open the door for data to get lost. This is where EHR management and integration come into play. With EHR integration software, providers can access high-quality, comprehensive data at the point of care, leading to the following benefits:

  • Clinical decision support. Medical history, demographic information, allergies, lab results, and more can support a provider’s diagnosis and treatment plans. With comprehensive details, providers can more easily identify health patterns and employ preventive measures. 
  • Patient engagement and retention. EHR integration allows hospital systems to go paperless, opening the door to more face-to-face interaction with patients. Additionally, cleaner and more organized patient data invites patients to better understand their health status and take steps toward self-care management.
  • Care continuity and collaboration. In today’s fragmented healthcare system, it’s easy for medical professionals to unintentionally misdiagnose due to a lack of patient data. EHR integration unifies care teams to collaborate and problem-solve through organized file management and secure transferability.

Although the EHR is a reliable management solution, not every country has fully implemented it. Fortunately, the U.S. has committed to an EHR system, with a total of 94% of hospitals adopting it. However, other countries, including those in the EU, are hesitant to make the leap. If they do decide to exchange health records across borders, it will open up the door for cross-border, cohesive patient care.

Patient outreach and engagement

Analytics also has a hand in revolutionizing patient outreach and engagement. With AI-enabled tools, healthcare analytics technology can scale engagement efforts to ensure individual patients receive the follow-up care they need to experience optimal health outcomes.

Analytics software tools use algorithms and risk models to zero in on at-risk patient groups. In turn, this optimizes resource allocation, closes care gaps, and relieves care teams of extensive outreach planning efforts. For example, with analytics, care teams can automate targeted outreach efforts to complete the following care objectives:

  • Preventive care and screening reminders. Healthcare professionals can use analytic outreach tools to send informed preventive care messages such as vaccination, screening, and flu shot reminders. This ensures patients receive timely care and safeguards against the risk of illness progression.
  • General appointment reminders. No-shows and other scheduling complications can increase costs and decrease patient satisfaction. Automated analytic outreach tools send appointment reminders via text, email, and phone calls to ensure patients attend scheduled appointments and maximize resource healthcare utilization.
  • Emergency alerts and notifications. Providers can use automated alerts to update patients during times of public health emergencies, send information on recalls of medications or medical devices, and inform them of any other urgent updates they’ll benefit from receiving. 

AI-enabled audience segmentation allows care managers to send out timely reminders to those who are most at risk. In the case of providers and patients, it’s a win-win allowing providers to experience a decreased administrative workload and patients to experience better health outcomes. 

Staff management and coordination

The implementation of healthcare analytics can also lead to streamlined staff management and coordination. This is especially helpful as many healthcare organizations face extreme staffing shortages that threaten to disrupt workflows and lead to an even greater retention risk. 

By using data-driven insights, analytics help optimize staff management and pave the way for increased employee engagement. As an example, providers can use predictive analytics to forecast staffing needs, such as by analyzing historical patient volume fluctuation and planning sufficient staff during peak times like flu season.

Another staffing use case would be the evaluation of staff to create action plans for areas of improvement. This could be translated into refining communication of employee expectations or optimizing employee recruitment to narrow an organization’s list of candidates to those that best fit your culture. 

Healthcare analytics tackles operational, clinical, and cost hurdles. Although some organizations may be hesitant to implement analytics software, its growing market value and relevant use cases speak to its ability to simplify workflows and improve patient outcomes. If you’re curious about how analytics can transform your healthcare organization, consider watching the technology in action by researching the top vendors and watching product demonstrations.

The title of the article next to an illustrated person gesturing at charts on a board, representing the concept of nonprofit staff training.

Nonprofit Staff Training: How to Create an Effective Plan

According to an Independent Sector report, 48.5% of nonprofits increased their staff workloads to meet rising demands for services last year. Your nonprofit’s staff members have a lot on their plates. To continue making a difference, they must stay on top of fundraising initiatives, dedicate time to outreach, follow up with donors, and more.

As more community needs arise, it’s essential to equip your team with the tools, skills, and resources they need to streamline their roles and avoid burnout. One way to accomplish this is by creating a nonprofit staff training plan.

Having a deliberate training plan in place ensures that you stay on top of your staff’s learning needs and keep up with the latest best practices in the sector. Fortunately, there is a wealth of high-quality resources that you can offer to employees, from certification programs to online advice shared by nonprofit thought leaders. Let’s start by exploring exactly why staff training is so important to your nonprofit’s long-term success.

What are the benefits of nonprofit staff training?

Every member of your nonprofit’s team is a key contributor to your mission. Therefore, you need to hire and retain passionate, talented individuals who are capable of propelling you toward your goals. By investing in staff training, your organization can:

  • Attract top candidates. The world of nonprofits is fast-paced, which might seem overwhelming to newcomers. They may be concerned that they’ll be left to their own devices in their roles and forced to adapt with minimal help. Having a training plan that you can mention in job descriptions can assuage their worries and inspire more exceptional job seekers to join your nonprofit.
  • Improve employee engagement. Training your employees is an excellent way to demonstrate how much you value their contributions. As they learn and improve, they’ll feel more confident in their day-to-day responsibilities and proud of all that they accomplish for your nonprofit. The more competent they feel in their roles, the more likely they’ll be to stick around for the long term.
  • Boost operational efficiency. Your staff members need to leverage various tools and work as a team to fulfill your nonprofit’s purpose, whether they’re providing services to beneficiaries or putting together reports to inform your strategic planning efforts. Staff training can streamline their workflows, improve their efficiency, and empower them to build stronger relationships with stakeholders.
  • Increase its reputation. Developing a staff training plan demonstrates to your donors, volunteers, board of directors, and other community members that you’re committed to producing better outcomes for those you serve. This can increase your credibility and bring in more support for your cause.

Ultimately, the time and resources you devote to nonprofit staff training will shine through in the impact you make on your community. 

How do you create a nonprofit staff training plan?

The specifics of a nonprofit staff training plan will differ depending on your mission, staff members, and priorities. For instance, you might be trying to promote more matching gifts and determine that you need to educate staff members on how to speak about these opportunities with donors. Or, you might have recently adopted a new software solution that you need to familiarize your employees with.

No matter what your priorities are, you can follow these four steps to put together an effective training plan of your own:

1. Identify staff training needs and topics.

Ensure that you’re directing your resources to the right areas by sending out a survey to your staff members upfront. Ask them to share which topics of knowledge or skills they would like to focus on to improve their performance in their roles. Additionally, consider creating assessments to evaluate your employees periodically and identify any gaps you need to address.

Think about the training needs of both your frontline staff members and managers. After all, your managers can significantly influence the productivity, motivation, and collaboration of your employees. To prepare them for managing effective teams, you may enroll them in a nonprofit management training program that covers best practices related to time management, communication, and delegation.

2. Promote staff training opportunities.

Use the insights you gather from your staff input and evaluations to provide a framework for the training resources you’ll offer. Then, promote several types of opportunities that appeal to a variety of learning preferences. Some employees may enjoy engaging with their peers in live, instructor-led classes while others may feel more comfortable with learning at their own pace.

Some popular staff training options include:

  • Cohort-based classes. Enrolling your staff in online, cohort-based learning can boost their engagement and strengthen their bonds with team members. These classes are a wonderful way to learn from the expertise of a dedicated instructor and the knowledge of other peers in the sector in a structured format.
  • Mentorships. Nurture a culture of learning at your nonprofit by creating a mentorship program. Pair newer hires with more experienced staff members so they can quickly develop the skills and best practices they need to thrive in their roles. Plus, these programs also help mentors refresh their knowledge and feel more confident in their leadership abilities.
  • Conferences. Nonprofit conferences are ideal opportunities for convening with other professionals across the sector and sharing ideas on how you can better fulfill your missions in the current landscape. With topics ranging from fundraising to leadership, there’s bound to be an event that suits your staff’s training needs.
  • Asynchronous courses. For employees who prefer a more flexible learning schedule, direct them to online courses that they can work through at their own speed. These courses are cost-effective and cover topics such as matching gifts and cybersecurity through educational videos, quizzes, and other activities. However, it may be more challenging for staff members to feel engaged when approaching training on their own.

Include a mixture of in-person and virtual training options to appeal to more of your employees’ needs and make it easy for them to participate.

3. Reach out to experts as needed.

If you’ve identified specific areas of your nonprofit’s operations in which your staff members need more in-depth, specialized training, consider approaching an expert for guidance. According to Laridae’s nonprofit consultants rundown, there are many professionals are committed to supporting nonprofits in a wide range of ways, including:

Numerous ways a nonprofit consultant can provide expertise and support your nonprofit staff training plan.
  • Strategic planning
  • Communications
  • Governance
  • Human resources (HR)
  • Fundraising
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI)
  • Finance
  • Legal Support

Depending on their specialty, a nonprofit consultant can help your organization improve its training program or provide one-on-one coaching for individual contributors, such as your managers.

4. Recognize staff learning accomplishments.

While creating a thoughtful training plan is an important start, you can maximize staff participation and engagement by coming up with ways to recognize them for their learning accomplishments. eCardWidget’s employee recognition guide highlights the importance of acknowledging your staff members by pointing out that 92% of employees are likely to repeat a specific action if they’re recognized for it.

For example, when staff members complete a course or program, you could:

  • Send congratulatory eCards.
  • Post social media shout-outs.
  • Host a celebration event.
  • Present small gifts of branded merchandise.

Just as your nonprofit thanks its donors and volunteers for the role they play in your success, don’t forget to make your employees feel appreciated for the efforts they invest into fulfilling your mission.

As you implement your staff training plan, continue to collect feedback from your employees and conduct follow-up evaluations to identify ways you can improve moving forward. For example, you might determine that you need to share more podcasts if many of your staff members indicate that they prefer taking in information auditorily. By tailoring your training to your staff’s needs, you’ll ensure that they’ll get the most out of the resources you provide.