Value is not an easy thing to assess. Although many of us do it without thinking too much, we often aren’t able to articulate the tangible value of something in terms of dollars or time. Not too many years ago, I was often asked to do an ROI analysis on a data warehouse for healthcare organizations. The value didn’t seem that obvious to healthcare executives and therefore they wanted some quantified method of supporting their investment. In the brave new world of accountable care organizations and the affordable care act, folks have stopped asking me for the value of a data warehouse and have just simply asked how quickly I can get started.
But, the question is still relevant: What is the real value of data? A report? A dashboard? An analysis? The answer, of course, it depends. Value is dependent on what you can get out of it. There is no inherent value in providing data (that’s why big data is only hype until you can find a way to take advantage of it). The value of a dashboard, for example, is exclusively associated with the healthcare executive’s ability to make a faster and more informed decision. That’s where the real value is.
So as you consider what to build or how to build a data warehouse for your healthcare organization one of the first things you should consider is what is going to provide the most value to the greatest number of people first, and then build that. If you are able to build out the things that have strong business value first, you won’t have to worry about the long term commitment and investment the organization has in BI, because BI will be defining the value.
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