From data to information to knowledge to wisdom

Where healthcare execs would like to see analytics go from here

I recently sat in on a panel discussion on analytics with CEOs and CIOs. One CEO shared the vision for his hospital, “I’d like to see us move from having lots of data to having actionable information, which will increase our knowledge and eventually lead to wisdom across our organization.”

I thought, what a succinct and clear statement! And then he laughed and said, “I’m not sure we’ll get to the wisdom part in my lifetime, but hopefully to the knowledge level.”

A week later, in a meeting with 20 CMIOs, I saw a flow chart with very similar language. It was titled, “The challenge of moving from data to information to knowledge to wisdom.” It showed the progression from electronic data in systems, to advanced reporting of that data, to insightful analytics derived from multiple sources, to improved outcomes.

There was healthy discussion of what wisdom means. Some of the ideas included:

  • real-time predictive scores
  • improved clinical decision capabilities
  • applying artificial intelligence
  • incorporating personal genomics

The executives also debated whether we’re three, five or even 10 years from achieving these respective definitions of wisdom. They acknowledged significant challenges, such as incomplete or incorrect records and siloed and unformatted data.

But consensus emerged around several assessments:

  1. Reports are not analytics. At the very least, we need to show summaries and patterns to be insightful.
  2. We can’t wait to get started. The data will only get better by using what we can and improving…

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