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Healthcare Analytics for Quality and Performance Improvement by Trevor L. Strome

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CHAPTER 6

Working with Data

In God we trust. All others bring data.

—W. Edwards Deming

Data is an essential component of analytics, and working with and understanding data is a critical analytical skill. Due to its nature, healthcare data is often more complex than that in other industries. Despite this complexity, many analytical tools such as dashboards and reports use simplistic (or even incorrect) approaches to analyze and represent the data. This chapter will focus on the key concepts behind understanding and effectively utilizing data. Covered are data type common to healthcare and how to select appropriate analyses for various data types so that healthcare information analysts are able to extract the maximum information and value from collected data.

ROOKIE MISTAKES
I am sure that everyone can share a time when they were eager to “dive right into” some data, made some completely wrong assumptions about what the data meant, or what kind of data it was, and prepared a report or other analysis that was completely meaningless. The valuable lesson I have learned on these occasions is to fully understand the data and all available context prior to performing any detailed “analysis.”

Data: The Raw Material of Analytics

Data is the raw material of information. Data is continuously generated as healthcare professionals such as healthcare providers, administrators, and analysts use computerized systems as part of their jobs, or enter data into databases as part of post hoc data ...

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