It was our fifth year for the Healthcare BI Summit. Each year takes on its own feeling and this year, it felt a little like controlled chaos. Early in the planning phases the executive committee agreed that the healthcare BI marketplace was changing rapidly as a result of ACO's and meaningful use. It was difficult to determine what issues or concerns were the most relevant in an industry so fraught with change. Many of the discussions I had and the comments I heard were specific to the 'how'. How do I do this faster, better, cheaper? Because the next thing is coming down fast and most of us don't have time to sit and think about the decisions we are making.
There's no question that healthcare is changing, and much of it is changing in ways that are unpredictable. That's making for some very unsettled discussions and challenges with plans.
Everyone was talking about building an analytics capability. The sessions that addressed this were the best attended sessions. I heard consistently though that folks just had a difficult time finding the right resources, empowering those resources and balancing that against the standard reporting that is required. Visualizing data is such a hot topic and when you tie that with analytics, most people felt that is the Holy Grail for healthcare BI. The variety and types of data and users presents challenges; and for a long time most people assumed that if you could build a pie chart you could visualize data. They've learned that isn't true and are now trying to figure out what to do next.
Many organizations are still dealing with the challenges of getting IT and business to work together. During one facilitated networking session everyone in attendance rated 'working with IT' as one of their biggest challenges. The good news is that people in that session realized that they weren't alone and found connections that will last long past the Summit. I'm thrilled with that result, as that was one of the main reasons the Summit was created, to provide a networking opportunity for those people that worked in healthcare BI. It's such a specialized industry and having other people to call and ask questions is invaluable. But, like the healthcare landscape, change is inevitable. We didn't set out five years ago to be the event to imitate, but we are. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then consider us flattered. But like everything, there comes a time when it's important to step back and re-assess and for the Summit, 2013 is the year.
Therefore, 2014 will be a hiatus year for the Summit; to assess its role in the healthcare BI landscape. Our sincere hope is that the Summit comes back stronger than ever in 2015, but that requires support. A new non-profit organization has been created and is willing to take over the Summit in 2015. If you are interested in making sure that you have the networking opportunities, with the depth of understanding of what it takes to build a BI and data warehouse program in healthcare, in an event like the Summit please go to AHBIA.org, learn more and volunteer!
Laura Madsen, MS
"The BI Summit is a great way to learn about what others are doing in the industry. We don't all have to reinvent the wheel - let's share best practices and use the great resources we have! Thanks for hosting and sponsoring a great event!"
-Julie Smith, Dir. Product Development Methodology United Healthcare
"Great variety of new ideas, and new concepts. Get to talk in person about how and what others are doing. It's a great networking with other analytically minded professionals in the healthcare industry."
-Andrea Marks, Chief Informatics Officer Blue Health Intelligence
"Good local forum on healthcare BI. It's like a mini national healthcare datapalooza. The Summit was well worth my time. The sessions I attended were very informational. The food, as always, was excellent."
-Patricia Janey, Clinical Informatics Analyst Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota