The Rx for Successful BI and Analytics User Adoption in Healthcare

Five critical factors for getting your project up and running.

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User adoption of new technology implementations can often present major challenges and frequently becomes the main barrier to success. In turn, a lack of user adoption severely undermines the value an organization can gain from a genuinely innovative project. In the fast-paced, high-stress environment of front line healthcare, this challenge couldn’t be greater.

Navjot Kalra, one of my Qlik colleagues, recently completed a research study to understand which factors led to successful user adoption of BI and analytics. She surveyed more than 50 healthcare providers during the course of the study, and the results were surprising.  We’ve condensed the findings into a short whitepaper, available here, but as a sneak preview, I wanted to share the top five success factors.

1. User-Friendly Design

It’s probably not a great surprise that user-friendly, intuitive design is critical.  The correlation between user friendliness and successful adoption was the single strongest factor across all stakeholders. We therefore recommend that you think carefully about the design of your analytical dashboards – make them clear and intuitive to ensure strong adoption.

2. Management Support

Our findings indicated that proactive and vocal support for analytics and BI programs from senior management is key. This finding was also replicated in discussions around change management, where ‘walk the talk’ was seen as a crucial management behavior in the adoption of new technology.

3. Data Quality

In cases where users didn’t trust in the data that was being presented and analyzed, adoption suffered significantly. Data quality is a challenging and often conflicting discussion point within healthcare. In my time working with providers, I’ve uncovered two distinct camps – the ‘visibility breeds accountability’ brigade (of which I am a strong believer) and the ‘wait until it’s perfect’ group. In the research context, poor data quality leads to poor adoption; but from real-world experience, transparency and a degree of tolerance will naturally breed more accurate, trustworthy data.

4. Stakeholder Engagement

More than 70% of respondents agreed that good stakeholder engagement was a critical success factor in user adoption. Without early engagement, projects typically suffer from poorly defined success measures and lack the necessary capabilities.  As a result, adoption suffers. To avoid this pitfall, include a wide user population in all phases of the project, as early as possible. The aim of early stakeholder engagement is to understand current processes and work to define a value-based model, as opposed to delivering features and capabilities which are often superfluous.

5. Clear Vision

The importance providers surveyed placed on establishing a clear vision underscores the significance of clearly defining and communicating the expected benefits of the project with stakeholders. And though the impact of clear vision scored high on some lists, we also saw the largest deviation in response to this question and the lowest overall score compared to the other factors. I was personally surprised by this finding.  Based on my experience in healthcare, I would have expected that this would have topped this list. However, when pushed to rank alternative factors, it is clear that communication through stakeholder engagement and management support are perceived as more critical.

Of course, user adoption isn’t the only critical factor when it comes to successful deployment. The research also explored project management and change management processes, with some equally fascinating results. I encourage you to download the whitepaper to learn more!

How are you using BI and analytics in healthcare?  Have these considerations or other factors not listed here made your efforts successful?  Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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