My friend and colleague Scott Wanless recently posted an article entitled “Create a Great Healthcare Analytics Team.” In the article he breaks down the composition of particularly well-functioning healthcare analytics teams he has worked with, and describes what he feels has made them successful. One of the features I liked about Scott’s article is that he describes the team members as individuals, not as roles or resources, and makes the point that it’s the people that make a team successful.
Some of the success factors listed by Scott in his article include:
- “Decision support is part of the organization’s quality and information services group,… [and] decision support forms part of the organization’s system of measurement.”
- The team has strong member from diverse backgrounds so that “taken together, these people know, or know somebody who knows, the answer to virtually any question the group is asked.”
- A strong leader whose job it is to “champion and sponsor the group’s activities, including promoting it, funding it, protecting it and funnelling the never-ending stream of requests appropriately.”
Of course,even well functioning teams are immune from problems. Scott outlines three major risks to well-functioning teams:
- Arrogance – which forms as a result of building a world-class analytics system, but may lead to self-imposed isolation by viewing non-technical people as somehow inferior. This can be addressed by including team members on non-technical projects and creating a “a resource for the entire organization instead of an insular, selfish group.”
- Infighting – which may occur if the team becomes bored and turns to internal politicking. Scott recommends “maintaining focus on the mission of the group, which is to serve the organization as its system of measurement.” I have found that trying out new tools, approaches, and “playing/innovating” helps fight boredom, and keeps the team fresh.
- Burnout – which occurs when faced with a constant barrage of information and development requests, will reduce the overall productivity of the team. Scott recommends finding outets for the team to ensure consistent productivity.
Scott’s article is a must-read for any healthcare manager working with analytics development teams. His insights are particilarly relevant as analytics teams are coming of age in healthcare, and as the need for analytics by a healthcare system under duress only continue to grow.