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Kolker 1


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Kolker 1

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Kolker 1

  1. 1. By Eugene (Gene) Kolker, PhD | | JUNE 22, 2015 Guest Post: Data-Driven and  People-Powered COMMUNITY The work of our Data & Analytics (D&A) team at Seattle Children’s ( has empowered diverse clients – the Governor’s office, the Downtown Seattle Association, and, of course, the clinical care teams here at Seattle Children’s. Our partners want to tap into the power of data-driven decision making – and we’ve built the right process ( and methodology ( to assist them. Our approach to the most challenging part of data and analytics work – the translation from data to action – was recently acknowledged at the HIMSS Annual Conference in Chicago ( This translation is critical in healthcare, and we want to help others benefit from what we’ve learned. We look both forward and backward in time, using forecasting and optimization tools as well as historical data in order to build the highest competitive advantage from robust metrics and analysis. However, the real “secret ingredient” in our approach is  A
  2. 2. our intense focus on empowering the people who make the decisions. We’re building a vision we describe as People, Process, Technology (PPT) enabled by D&A to drive organizational decisions and actions.  As evangelists for effective D&A, we emphasize the following messages: Take the time to listen and get to know your clients and their objectives Appreciate the clients’ knowledge and expertise on subject matter Complete robust data science for a full, unbiased 360-degree view Concentrate on communicating well: Clearly define projects with clients. Specify deliverables and expected outcomes; Utilize clients’ expertise and experience to inform the analysis; and Co-develop clear data stories. It’s no coincidence these lessons reflect insights not only from data science but also from other disciplines such as marketing and the social sciences that are ultimately concerned with decision-making. For executives implementing D&A programs, the messages are very clear: Utilizing D&A should align to strategic business goals;  D&A should be thought of as a core service similar to IT, HR, and Finance; and  D&A are synergistic with and complementary to IT, not redundant. Here at Children’s we helped to leverage outcomes metrics to improve care and achieve our highest ranking ever, #6 among children’s hospitals ( hospitals/articles/2015/06/09/best-childrens-hospitals-2015-16-honor-roll-and- overview) for 2015-2016 in US News & World Report. We in healthcare still have a ways to go to be as effective as innovators like Amazon and Facebook. While organizations like ours have success stories to tell ( stories), the real success stories will emerge when the entire healthcare industry focuses its D&A on people – patients and providers.    [UPDATE: To see a response from Cambia Grove company-in-residence Trialomics, please visit this blog article ( analytics-small-and-medium-sized-company).] Eugene Kolker is the Chief Data (Analytics) Officer at Seattle Children’s – Hospital, Foundation, and Research Institute. Eugene has 27 years of experience in multi- disciplinary data analysis, advanced analytics, and modeling and 17 years of
  3. 3. experience in management, business, and community development. At Seattle Children’s, he heads the Data and Analytics team, which focuses on leveraging large and complex data to improve outcomes and safety, reduce costs, broaden access, and drive innovation ( Dr. Kolker is an Adjunct Professor at Northeastern University College of Science, Boston and an Affiliate Professor at University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle. Eugene has 130 publications in 40 different journals and also serves as the Executive Editor of the journals “OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology” and “Big Data.” In April 2015, Eugene was honored by the HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) members to be one of the top three "Innovators" in their annual HIT Awards. In May 2015, he was named one of the “top 16 data-driven geeks to watch” by HIMSS.