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Data-driven quality improvement is one of the cornerstones of modern healthcare. Hospitals and healthcare providers now record, track, and monitor data on dozens of individual indicators spanning patient safety, prevention, and inpatient care; even a small facility may collect thousands of data points daily. But is all this data really making a difference?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires hospitals to report key measures such as adverse events and hospital readmissions in order to qualify for reimbursement. All this data collection provides a treasure trove of data points that hospitals could use to make quality improvement decisions. However, in many hospitals, data collection and reporting is not effectively connected to decision making. In order to drive real and measurable improvement, hospitals need to be able to turn quality indicator data into clear, understandable information and actionable next steps.

The promise of data-driven healthcare is twofold. First, data can help hospitals make decisions that improve patient outcomes. Second, data can be used to find inefficiencies and reduce healthcare costs. In order to achieve these results, data must not only be collected but actually be used. Effective QI data must be:

  • Actionable
  • Timely
  • Accessible
  • Comparable

Analytical tools that provide near real-time analysis and reporting can help hospitals move from simply collecting and reporting required data to actually using it to drive results. Hospitals need to be able to use data to answer questions such as:

  • How different metrics of patient safety and quality change over time
  • How these trends compare to appropriately established benchmark comparison groups
  • Whether the changes observed are statistically significant and meaningful
  • How the changes are reflected in associated outcomes such as reduced morbidity and mortality, improved patient experiences, cost savings for the patient and/or provider, and reduced days of care

Analytical tools such as Battelle WayFinderâ„¢ Q.I. Dashboard can help hospitals better use and understand the data they are already collecting. By putting these data to work, hospitals and other healthcare providers can make decisions on quality improvement initiatives that lead to better outcomes for patients, payers and themselves.

Visit to learn more about translating data into actionable information.