HealthBlog

Thoughts, comments, news, and reflections about healthcare IT from Microsoft's worldwide health senior director Bill Crounse, MD, on how information technology can improve healthcare delivery and services around the world.

How to measure what we cannot see in healthcare

How to measure what we cannot see in healthcare

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imageThese days it seems that everyone in healthcare is buzzing about big data and analytics, and no wonder. Transforming, if not reimagining, healthcare is going to take everything we’ve got. Achieving the triple aim of higher quality, better access and lower cost of care cannot be done without being able to measure what we do. As the old adage says, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. To that I might add, “if you can’t see it, you can’t improve it”.

Anyone who has walked the halls of a hospital or clinic knows there is no shortage of data. We just aren’t very good at knowing exactly how to get our arms around it. Data is only meaningful if it is organized in ways that we can truly comprehend what it is telling us. Today, the smart money is on technologies that help us visualize and therefore understand data without the need of a PhD in advanced analytics.

One such tool is something we call Power Map for Excel. This 3D visualization add-in is now a centerpiece (along with Power View, Power Query, and Power Pivot,) within the business intelligence capabilities of Microsoft Power BI in Excel.

Information workers with their data in Excel have realized the potential of Power Map to identify insights in geospatial and time-based data that traditional 2D charts cannot communicate. For instance, digital marketers can better target and time their campaigns while environmentally-conscious companies can fine-tune energy-saving programs across peak usage times. These are just a few of the examples of how location-based data is coming alive for customers using Power Map and distancing them from their competitors who are still staring blankly at a flat table, chart, or map.

Please take a look at the video below. Then ask yourself, what if instead of mapping U.S. Power Production we were looking at:

  • Syndromic surveillance of the geospatial distribution and severity of an infectious disease
  • A real-time map of a hospital system’s nosocomial infection rate
  • A representation of the incidence of chronic disease plotted against the geographic distribution of toxins in air, soil and water
  • A facilities, capabilities and occupancy map of a region’s readiness for accountable care

To learn more, please visit the business intelligence and analytics page on our worldwide web site.

Bill Crounse, MD            Senior Director, Worldwide Health           Microsoft

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