Happy New Year! We’re back online, although I am working more remotely than usual. I decided to take the family to Park City, Utah, and camp out in the mountains for a month while the kids ski and pretend to go to school. Is this sounding familiar to anybody else? During the pandemic, I work remotely in a home office in a different location. Now that we’re talking about New Year’s (resolutions?), focusing on making data-driven decisions is a good idea.

Happy New Year! Hope you guys had a good holiday; I hope everybody stayed safe. Hopefully, there’s light at the end of the tunnel now that we enter a new year.

I will tell you even though we are an analytics business (my personal background is statistics and engineering, and other things that would lead you to believe that I’m very left-brained and only make highly analytical, highly considered decisions and don’t do things from the gut), I’m surprised at how many times I find we make decisions with a minimal amount of information. Sometimes, that’s required: you have to make sure you don’t get into analysis paralysis. Yet, I don’t think that that’s the problem most people have.

Make Decisions Even For Our Own Business

We will often make decisions even for our own business where we’ve talked to a bunch of clients or prospective clients, and they’ve expressed, “Here’s what a need is,” and we go out and build something or do something for them. We’re under the expectation that that’s what they need.

We haven’t gone out and collect information from thousands of providers. Not just collected any information, but that we’ve done it anecdotally. In other words, we conducted a series of interviews and discussions and more like focus groups, collected information, aggregated it, and, as a group, we somehow, using our intuition, came up with resolutions. Often, that’s very successful.

Data driven approach to business

Yet, I think one of the things that occurred to us last year was that even though we are a data-driven business and use data to help people be more successful, we could be more data-driven regarding how we approach things. We are attempting to collect more data from the marketplace on what their needs are and try to distill it down to a quantification, so it isn’t “We have these problems,” but “How many people can categorize that and get that into a database saying: with these systems, they are experiencing these types of problems, with these systems, these types of problems?”

That’s the approach that we think will be more data-driven successful, and so we’re trying to sort of take our own advice and push even further down that path. I think it’s normal. I’m sure everybody listening has this kind of experience.

Collect accurate data

It was a wake-up call. Somebody hit me upside the head at one point last year and said, “Wow! We’re not collecting the kind of data that we could be.” One of the things that highlighted this to us was discussions with investors because we are investor-backed. As you go through sort of the rounds of investments, there are questions often about quantification where we’ve got a track record, we’ve got financial results, and so on, but ultimately, people wanna see, “Okay, what’s the 10-year plan? And where is the potential for this: is this multi-billion? What is happening?”

Again, I’m not trying to share too much personal laundry, but the point is that that hit us, and I had this “aha” moment where I went, “Oh, my gosh!” I perceived ourselves as being so data-driven and so focused on understanding clients’ needs and market needs. I believe that’s true, but it was often more qualitative than we really should be.

Are there any examples where you might be able to find, “Hey! In our business, could we capture more data?” Are there questions that we could answer that would use data rather than, “Hey! We talked to somebody in the organization, and the head of this department said x, and we just kind of went with it?” rather than “Is there some way to get some information to shed some light on this?”

I remember the metaphor that my CTO used many years ago was, “We’re all stranded in a dark cave in healthcare.” There’s no way that it’s suddenly going to become Bright Lights, Big City inside this cave, given what we’re dealing with, but is there a way to figure out how not to just trip and fall on our faces in the next foot or two? Can we light a little candle or even a match that illuminates a tiny bit of space in front of us? Can we get some information to help us make a more informed decision rather than doing so many things from our gut? I think that’s a worthwhile approach.

There’s so much disillusionment. With the people we talk to, whether it’s the head of a $15-million physician practice or whether it’s somebody inside of a hospital system: a director or a vice president of revenue cycle management, we assume that we can’t get the information that we want, and therefore, we’re forced to make these decisions in a dark cave.

Innovative data collection

I think it’s time for us to figure out where we can learn from some things. Often, it’s hard to do that, but we can do it. We’re working on one of those right now that I’ll share in a subsequent podcast. We’re trying to get creative in capturing data to make this more productive and help people make more informed decisions. Ultimately, that’s what’s going to drive productivity and, therefore, profitability.

Happy New Year! I hope everyone is doing well and surviving all this. Commitment to a new year: let’s be more data-focused in all aspects of our business, not just sort of the financial transaction space, which is the core of our business. Talk to you soon!

Happy Holidays

Happy holidays, everyone! I’m going to take a little bit of time off, so we’ll reconnect with everybody in the new year. You won’t hear anything from me, hopefully, a lot. I need a little bit of a break. I hope everybody has a wonderful holiday and gets some data-driven time with the family! Happy New Year!

 

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