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How Nonprofit Healthcare Organizations Can Use Technology To Reach Data Maturity

How Nonprofit Healthcare Organizations Can Use Technology to Reach Data Maturity


Data maturity is no longer a goal exclusive to the corporate world. Nonprofit healthcare organizations are similarly pursuing — and achieving — data maturity, where organizational leaders use data to drive decision-making.

But many healthcare boards are at an earlier stage of data maturity than they would like. Getting the right data to improve fundraising, measure impact and reach peak efficiency can seem too difficult, too expensive or both.

It isn’t. Unlocking and using data to drive success is achievable, as one healthcare organization discovered when it wanted to improve patient experience.

Memorial Health has leveraged data and tools to optimize patient flow across their six hospitals, and also used advanced AI algorithms for patient monitoring.

Jeff Sturman, the Chief Digital Officer of Memorial Health, says, “We’re really looking at digital tools as a strategy more than ever before, and thinking about data differently than we have before. We’re all dealing with labor shortages, we’re all dealing with patient flow efficiency, we’re all dealing with margins being a percent or point here or there at best. So we have to get smarter about how we do things. From a productivity standpoint, we are absolutely looking at tools to help us get more efficient.”

So how can boards use data — and technology tools to unlock it — to drive success?

Technology partnerships in data-driven decision-making

We covered some of the overarching benefits of ​​using data for nonprofit success. Now, take a further look at how the right technology partnerships can enable these efforts.

One inspirational example is Biokind Analytics, started by a student at Rice University. An early interest in Alzheimer’s disease diagnoses led Alex Han to use analytics to support health care nonprofits. Biokind Analytics had initial success in helping Alzheimer’s Los Angeles analyze geospatial trends in its donorship and interpreting the previous year’s donation trends. Biokind Analytics is now a 501(c)(3) organization with chapters on seven college campuses around the country, and has served several medical nonprofits.

These types of collaborative partnerships powered by technology innovations are one way that organizations can work together to use data and serve communities. They focus on tailored targeting, enabling organizations to deliver better healthcare services by studying preferences, behaviors and needs.

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6 Ways to Use Technology and Data to Drive Impact

In the Big Data era, it is easier than ever to collect, analyze and use data to power strategic decision-making around service efficiency, fundraising, grant applications, public relations and more, as long as you have the right tools. Consider how technology — and, in particular, modern nonprofit board management software — can cut through complexity and help illuminate the insights that data provides.

1. Home in on Data that Maximizes Impact

It’s a Goldilocks situation: Too much data can be just as undesirable as not enough data. Organizations should home in on the right type and amount of data to support their organizations. For example, tailored surveying — another feature of digital board management software — can ensure the right data is collected at the right time for better decision-making around goals, progress and their mission.

2. Analyze Data to Identify What Resonates with People

Memorial Health is also measuring patient experience at a consumer standard.

They are looking at ways to offer more self-service capabilities, like online appointments, and easier communication with providers.

Data can be used to better understand how patients are activating through tools, how they utilize the tools, and how often. Data shows if and when they are making appointments, messaging, refilling prescriptions, contacting providers and so on. All of these insights can be used to improve service delivery.

3. Adopt Smart Partnerships

The Biokind Analytics example shows that healthcare organizations can tie their success to the right partners. Modern nonprofits almost always require technology to serve their communities effectively, but most don’t have the resources or staff for every IT need. Partners such as Diligent bring experience with mission-driven organizations to make the dream achievable while staying in-budget.

4. Support Strategic Planning Efforts

Current and historical data – the right data – enables keen insights in developing and measuring progress against a strategic plan. By honing key performance indicators tied to mission goals, nonprofit leaders quickly can see and understand the progress their organizations are making.

5. Use Tools that Support Collaboration

Sharing data within the board, with staff and through strategic partnerships ensures all stakeholders are on the same page working toward the same goals. Board management software, such as BoardEffect, offers a clear, consistent presentation of data shared through granular permissions, so the board and others can be more effective around strategic planning and outcome-tracking.

6. Use Metrics for Effective Resource Allocation

Staff efficiency is important for organizations contending with shortages and burnout. By implementing task workflows and reporting, board members and organization leaders can better understand how the work is getting done, as well as the bottlenecks that may impede strategic goals.

The Next Steps to Data Maturity

Most organizations already have the data they need to start making profound change. By cutting through the clutter, honing in on the right data, and engaging the right tools and partners, mission-driven organizations can increase the impact they have on the communities they serve.

Consider this takeaway from Nathan Chappell, Senior Vice President at DonorSearch, as he spoke to The Chronicle of Philanthropy: “There’s no future where you compete effectively in a world where you’re not using big data and technology. Every nonprofit that wants to be here tomorrow needs to be able to leverage data to some extent.”

Data can provide the answers, but mission-driven organization boards need the right tools to cut through the noise and inform better decision-making. BoardEffect is a board management software designed for the unique needs of nonprofit healthcare organizations that enables your leadership team to collaborate and make data-driven decisions confidently.

Contact BoardEffect to request a demo and learn how the right solution can transform your healthcare organization today!

Jennifer Rose Hale

Jennifer Rose Hale has over 20 years' experience with digital and employee communications in for- and nonprofit environments. Her writing and client areas of expertise include education, finance, science and technology.

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