As the healthcare system increasingly moves towards shared-risk and shared-savings models (such as the Accountable Care Organizations) data will play pivotal role in the decision making process of senior executives and line management, particularly in quality and cost improvement initiatives. At their core, successful ACOs must be highly data-driven and treat high-quality, usable data for all stakeholders as a strategic imperative.
To manage a program like this successfully, organizations must become good stewards of their data – they must understand and protect it as fiercely as they do their patients’ health and their bank accounts. Data Stewardship is a concept and function that includes executive leadership, processes, and technology. There must be a single executive – the Data Steward – whose primary role is to manage the quality and quantity of the organization’s data asset, ensuring that data is appropriate, accurate, and actionable. The teams that manage and use the data must have clearly defined and enforceable processes that allow it to be leveraged across the organization. And finally, there must be a technology infrastructure that is flexible and transparent enough to manage a data asset that includes a wide variety of internal and external source data.
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