Coining a phrase: data insight experience

A study by McKinsey tells us that less than 1% of data is used to make real business decisions[1]. At the same time, we talk about data being the “new oil”, holding so much intrinsic value. So why is it that just 1% of the total data in the world yields value?

We have gone through many data use cycles, many buzzwords and many tools. Once meaningful phrases have been challenged or overused to the point of misunderstanding. For instance, we thought that as dashboards became more sophisticated that we had found the answer, but now we hear of organizations talking about a blizzard of dashboards that their intended users find intimidating.

We spend inordinate amounts of time looking for information to construct answers in our heads so we can make business decisions, and then an hour later, we have forgotten the original question, as the data has diverted us onto a different path. Sound familiar?

The term “data insight” is a familiar one now. It speaks to the ability to turn data into information and then use that information with 4IR techniques such as AI, ML, and big data analytics to bring insight. For example, instead of a list of 10 priority actions, we can now ask the technology to recommend and prioritize which of the three actions will affect 80% of the outcome we need to achieve, and thus allow us to focus on impact.

This is real progress and insight – hence data driven insights. However, the real fear is that this will also fall into disuse unless we create the closed loop of insights to action and confirmation.

At BroadReach we are emphatic that data driven insights hold little value unless they are turned into action. Of course, the idea of “actionable insights” isn’t new, but in our quest to harness health technology and innovation that empowers human action, our experience has shown us time and again that actionable insight is only of any real value when it is married to a workflow and that workflow is measured for completion. This is locking in the action, and unlocking highest value.

In the world of health, where action matters more than anywhere else, this is how we achieve outcomes such as helping the first district in South Africa to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets towards HIV epidemic control. We are also strong proponents of changing the future of work in health and are pioneering this shift in our industry to help health workers to be more effective so they can deliver more value to patients. This allows us to focus on our core tenets.

At BroadReach, we help healthcare organizations (governments, NGOs, private sector) to improve access and outcomes by:

  1. Helping healthcare workers to make the right decisions at the right time

You can give someone insight, and that will be about 50% efficient. You need to give them the workflow to get the best results. It’s about getting the right information to the right person for the right action.

  1. Empowering healthcare workers to implement these decisions consistently and at scale

Empowerment is driven by creating workflows that allow repeatability at an industrialized level. We can now start to attain consistency, and the knowledge that was once contained within people’s minds is now being built into the workflows, giving a pathway to sustainable performance.

But it’s not about technology: it never has been. It’s always been about the experience, whether we are out shopping for a new pair of shoes, going for a meal or using systems that need to bring the complexity of a health system into simplicity. It’s about the experience we feel in those moments.

So in order to improve the experience of the populations and patients we serve, we believe that we need to evolve our thinking to focus on “data insight experience”. This is a measure of the experience we have in talking to that 1% of the world’s data that is used. By creating the right experience, we can drive up that intrinsic value and make a difference in health.

We’ve used data insight experience to great effect in large health care interventions. Every month, for example, we send out over 24,000 automated emails to people in large healthcare systems, from the program director all the way to the clinic nurses. Each email is specific and relevant to the person and the job they hold. Each email gives them insight and actions to take and these are then embedded in workflows in the health system they use, Vantage.

This has dramatically changed the way people work. The email, expressed in written form using NLP (Natural Language processing), derives specific and relevant insight for that person using AI methodologies, so that person can stand up in front of their leadership, their team or individually, knowing that these three specific actions will improve their specific performance by Y percent. This leads to a virtuous cycle of performance improvement on how we target disease, financial and people indicators.

So, what does data insight experience feel like?

It feels like you are in a dialogue with your data. It uses plain English to tell you how your part of the program is performing, and the actions you need to take to improve. Here, we use a combination of natural language processing and user experience (UX) design. This is 4IR in action – using artificial intelligence (AI) we can predict outcomes for you, and what you need to focus on next. So data insight experience is action centered and outcomes driven. It is both prescriptive and descriptive.

It also employs chatbots – something we’ve all experienced online when we want to buy, for instance, insurance online, and suddenly a chatbot starts a conversation with you. Behind it is great sophistication and hard work that helps you make the right choices and assist you with your decision.

But when you’re talking to our chatbot, you are talking directly to your data. You don’t have to go and print spreadsheets and reports and look up other systems. Your access is immediate and it is a dialogue based on your questions and the answers it gives you – always guiding you to the right information to help you make the right actions.

Data insight should also be driven obsessively to answer the critical questions. We drive this via a rich question catalogue. If you can answer all the questions in the catalogue, you may not need our help, but they are the questions you should be able to answer. Once you understand the key questions that are relevant to your performance, you’re no longer looking for that needle in the haystack of data.

It also allows your data to talk to other data and for you to talk with the data. If you’re tracking health indicators for diseases like tuberculosis or diabetes, for example, there’s a great deal of value to be found in the ability to talk to the data at pathology laboratories and national health databases – this is what we call “interoperability”.

This transparency is also a vital part of the democratization of data – which means that it becomes open, visible and transparent. Taking data insight and moving it into the realm of experience, means that your business becomes the focus, becomes a high performer.

All of this feeds directly into the future of work that so many are talking about, which ultimately puts patients at the center of health care – where health teams work more effectively on a platform that combines collaboration, democratization of data, interoperability and ease of use. When you combine those four things you can change the future of work and you can change lives.

Lastly, we must not forget that it’s about human beings. In the new world we are emerging into, collaboration will turn from a value and mission into business critical infrastructure requirement – changing the future.

We recognize this and have built everything to work in a collaborative platform, Microsoft Teams.

Imagine, one day, a dozen or more clinicians, across a region, all in a Microsoft Teams room, all working on solving a problem on a rich data set, making decisions without having to step away, and turning that conversation with the data via a chatbot into enabling action and changing lives.

That is the future of work in health systems, that is our vision and mission in action, and we welcome an opportunity to share it with you.