Healthcare organizations are always working to improve the quality of their care and the efficiency of their business operations. Data analytics for these clinical quality improvement efforts require access to data for determining process baseline performance, detecting trends and patterns in quality based on key indicators, and simulating potential outcomes of new processes and workflows.

As an analytics professional working within a large healthcare organization, I am required to access and use the PHI (personal health information) of many individuals. Most often, this occurs when I am extracting and analyzing data required for clinical quality and performance improvement efforts or when I’m assisting with critical incident reviews. Like most healthcare analytics professionals, most of the PHI that I access is done through health IT systems such as electronic health records or via data warehouses.

All users of health information that I know, myself included, consider ourselves to be responsible and respectful stewards of the data we use. As such, we rarely consider ourselves at risk of an accidental or intentional breach. However, both accidental and criminal breaches of security and privacy do occur. As responsible professionals, it is incumbent upon us to regularly review our own security practices to ensure we are not unnecessarily accessing, using or viewing private health information, or unintentionally increasing the risk of a breach of PHI.

A recent article that I wrote on discusses the need for security and the protection of privacy when analyzing large quantities of patient data. The article discusses how and what patient information must be protected and shares some situations where physicians (and other healthcare professionals) should be able to identify each subject.

Please feel free to click here to read the entire article.


2014DataAnalyticsSummitTorontoThe Third National Summit on Healthcare Data Analytics is coming to Toronto, Ontario December 2-3, 2014. I’m honored to be chairing this outstanding event this year, as there is an outstanding lineup of speakers. There are expert speakers attending from across North America and internationally.

Several of the timely and important topics include:

  • population health management
  • data privacy and security
  • quality improvement
  • big data in healthcare

I am also conducting two half-day workshops in association with this summit. On December 1,2014, my workshop is “Healthcare Analytics 101: Analytics Essentials for Today’s Healthcare Organization”. The workshop I’m conducting on December 4, 2014 is “Develop a Strategic Analytics Framework that Drives Quality and Performance Improvement”.

I will be posting much more about this exciting event in future articles. In the mean time, I invite you to visit the Summit website to learn more about how this important event will help keep you current with the latest in healthcare analytics, big data, and data science. Keep up to date with the latest tweets on the Summit by following @HealthDataCA.

I hope to see you in Toronto in December 2014!


The HIPAA Basics that Healthcare Analytics Professionals and Data Scientists Must Know

by Trevor Strome September 26, 2014

Healthcare analytics professionals and data scientists access and use healthcare data on a near-constant basis. Whether it is for designing dashboards or building predictive models, the use of sensitive information is a necessity in efforts to leverage analytics to improve healthcare. Also essential, however, is keeping the private health information that we access and use [...]

Read the full article →

Big Data and Data Science – A Statistician’s View

by Trevor Strome September 12, 2014

While the various methods and technologies associated with Big Data and Data Science offer exciting potential to dramatically improve the business and clinical insight available to healthcare professionals (both clinical and administrative), there is no shortage of hype associated with them either. Oftentimes what is missing from the discussion is an objective look at the [...]

Read the full article →

The Five-Point “Systems Check” for Analytical Healthcare Organizations

by Trevor Strome September 10, 2014

Healthcare Organizations (HCOs) are undergoing an incredible amount of change. Whether addressing regulatory changes, financial pressures, or quality and performance issues, HCOs require insight into their business and clinical operations to identify where problems exist, and to evaluate efforts to address those problems. In my recent article on, I share a few common capability-maturity [...]

Read the full article →

Analytics Play an Essential Role in Improving Healthcare Quality, Safety, and Value

by Trevor Strome September 9, 2014

This posting is an extracted and abridged selection from my book “Healthcare Analytics for Quality and Performance Improvement”, published by John Wiley & Sons Inc., and available at in hardcover and e-reader formats. Quality from the patient’s perspective From the patient’s perspective, healthcare is often thought of in terms of quality and expressed in questions such [...]

Read the full article →

Presentation: Developing a Strategic Analytics Framework that Drives Healthcare Transformation

by Trevor Strome September 4, 2014

I have been getting many requests from people who read my blog and who have seen me present to share my “Strategic Analytics Framework” slide stack, so I have posted a version of that presentation on, which you can view below. Based on Chapter 3 of my book “Healthcare Analytics for Quality and Performance [...]

Read the full article →

Creating a Healthcare Analytics Strategic Framework for Quality and Performance Improvements (Live Online Seminar)

by Trevor Strome August 11, 2014

I am pleased to announce that I will be presenting a two-part series entitled “Healthcare Analytics: A Strategic Framework for Quality and Performance Improvements” in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health Informatics (NIHI). The two-part series will be offered on October 8 and 15 at 12:00 PM ET. Click here for more information and [...]

Read the full article →

A Primer on Secure Messaging for Healthcare

by Trevor Strome July 9, 2014

Mobile devices are one of the largest contributors of data for healthcare analytics. Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are being used increasingly for “traditional” healthcare purposes (such as accessing Electronic Health Records, or EHRs). Perhaps more significantly, however, these devices are being used at an increasing rate by patients for accessing their own [...]

Read the full article →

Healthcare Analytics textbook ideal for university- and college-level courses

by Trevor Strome July 7, 2014

Many readers of my blog will know that my first book, Healthcare Analytics for Quality and Performance Improvement, published by John Wiley and Sons, Inc., was released in October 2013. One important niche that my book addresses is the need for a university- or college-level healthcare analytics text that is useful for both experienced and [...]

Read the full article →