This month the Practice Analytics Node profiles Kirsten Jackson. Kirsten is a Project Officer with the Research in Implementation Science and eHealth (RISe) Group at The University of Sydney. RISe’s primary research emphasis is on the impact of new technologies on clinician and consumer behaviours and outcomes. With a background in project management, and experience in health and data management, Kirsten coordinates data focused and oncology research projects for RISe. These projects research effective ways to implement change in the health system; look into ways to improve collection and impact of health data; and provide consulting and advice to partners and networks across the health and education sectors.
Kirsten was asked five quick questions about Practice Analytics:
What does practice analytics mean to you?
It means being able to leverage and analyse health data to improve health care delivery and health outcomes for the community. There is a huge amount of data and information being collected by healthcare professionals and organisations which is immediately used for delivering treatment and care. This information also has the potential to provide high quality benchmarking and health program evaluation, be fed back for professional development and ongoing learning, and of course be used to improve the quality of care and in turn health outcomes for the community.
How did you get interested in practice analytics?
My background is public health and cancer prevention, but for the last few years I have worked as a business partner on system and data projects. A nice intersection of those is practice analytics – how people and health organisations can use the data they collect or have access to, in order to improve care and health outcomes. I really enjoy helping people see the value of their data, and working out the best way for them to be capturing, recording and consuming it to support their work.
What excites you about the area?
There is so much potential in this area! Healthcare has been a bit slow to adopt analytics so I look forward to seeing how business intelligence and analytics tools will be implemented and tailored to the health setting. Personally, I really enjoy seeing new and exciting ways people can consume and make sense of their own data. Things like dashboards and clever visualisations are increasingly being implemented in health which could hugely impact the way the sector makes decisions, communicates with their patients and community, and report on outcomes and research.
What are some of big challenges in the practice analytics areas?
I think one of the hardest things is ‘selling’ practice analytics. In the healthcare industry there’s only pockets of people who see the value in complete and meaningful data being collected, and made available. A lot of work is needed on smaller proof of concept projects to demonstrate easy ways to collect the right data, how to narrow down reporting requirements or measures so that data fed back is not overwhelming and confusing to its audience, and how analytics can be used regularly to inform decisions, facilitate conversations and discussion, and quickly evaluate service delivery and research.
What is your “blue sky” vision for the area in the next five years?
I would love to see the routine collection of complete and meaningful data sets electronically in health becoming the standard. This would be a great starting point for the development of analytic tools and training for health care professionals and organisations which in turn would give staff and the community better access to health trends, treatment information, benchmarking and evaluation data. It would be blue sky to have all of a patients details collated and accessible by their clinicians/health care workers, for this information to be used to support real-time decisions on treatment and ongoing care, and all of this to be accessible by patients in a meaningful format whenever they need, so perhaps online or through an app.
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