From a volunteer effort in the late 1960s to a robust Federally Qualified Health Center, Stockton, Calif.-based Community Medical Centers continues to adapt to patient care needs.
That includes evolving its data analytics strategy, which previously involved mostly freeware and a single-person team. But with a growing demand for better analytics to drive operations and provide whole-person care to underserved communities, it was time for a change. Five years ago, CMC turned to Tableau for a more cohesive data analytics approach.
“I think we’ve come a long way in terms of our data evolution process. Tableau has really helped us develop data literacy in our teams,” says COO Preethi Raghu. “Ultimately, our goal is to enhance access for our patient population. We are a safety net provider, we are a primary care healthcare organization, so whatever we use Tableau for is really critical to our daily operations. I think, from a benefits perspective, it’s been really useful for our teams to have these data points at their fingertips, as opposed to waiting extensively for your EHR to open and running large reports and slowing down the system.”
The business intelligence team has since grown to an eight-person crew. BI Analyst Darnetta Minor notes that cross-team partnerships are regular occurrences; for example, finance, BI developers, quality improvement, applications and operations will join forces as a data integrity team. “They all come together to ensure that everything is pretty much going like a well-oiled machine with data,” Minor says.
Raghu also highlights the importance of teamwork. “I think collaboration is really key,” she says. “I often encourage our data analyst to go out to the clinics, sit down and observe a patient flow or observe how our team members operate. That partnership between the clinical side of things and operations and analytics is really key to make a product that’s truly useful to the teams.”
She adds that leadership support also helps the organization prioritize data-driven improvement. “We don’t operate on guesstimates. That really helps set the tone for how we view data organizationally,” Raghu says.
Looking forward, CMC has plans for the cloud, Minor says. “We have some really early plans in place on moving not only our reporting database but also the Tableau server itself to take advantage of the resources in the cloud.”
LEARN MORE: See how health systems are using data to drive change.