Three Key Steps to Building a Relationship-Focused Approach to Data

Being able to effectively collect, analyze, and use data is critical in the field of health care. At a population level, data can help shape organizational priorities through understanding which health measures need attention. Data can also help identify which care providers and teams are doing well, so that other providers and teams can learn from their approaches and find ways to innovate in the services they provide. However, many organizations struggle with the best ways to collect, analyze, and use data. Data is sometimes seen as a purely technical enterprise, but Southcentral Foundation has developed a comprehensive approach to data collection, analysis, and usage that is built around a strong focus on relationships.

Based on SCF’s experience, some key factors to consider when setting up a relationship-focused data system are:

  • Understand who your key stakeholders are and build working relationships with them. Different areas of your organization will have different data needs, and having strong relationships with the key stakeholders in the different areas of your organization can help to identify and prioritize those needs. When an organization values the differences and strengths those voices bring, it leads to productive dialogue and an increased focus on the data needed to help the organization improve.
  • Identify the “data stewards” in your organization. These are the people in each division and/or department who work with each other and with the Data Services department to determine how to prioritize data requests. At SCF, any employee can make a request through our Data Information Request Tool, and these requests are regularly screened by the data stewards in the appropriate areas to ensure that they are answered in an order based on the organization’s data needs. Communication and relationships with these data stewards is very important.
  • Consider building Integrated Information Teams. Much like SCF’s Integrated Care Teams, our Integrated Information Teams are multidisciplinary teams of employees who determine how to best support the different areas of the organization in meeting their data needs. This allows for a variety of perspectives to be brought to the data processes, and information support is woven into the processes themselves.

Beyond having effective processes for data collection, analysis, and usage, relationships between stakeholders can greatly improve the efficiency of an organization’s data usage. For more information about relationship-focused data systems, data stewards, Integrated Information Teams, or SCF’s general approach to data, contact the SCF Learning Institute today!