The Real Secret to Using “Moneyball” for Healthcare
September 19, 2016

Many health systems have started to recognize the power of big data to transform the healthcare industry. They’ve heard the talk about “Moneyball” for healthcare, and they’re eager to make it work for them.

It’s a great strategy, but it requires the right execution. In “Moneyball,” statistics were used to assemble a nearly unstoppable team of baseball players. Healthcare collects the kind of data that can assemble phenomenal teams of physicians, but many health systems instead use predictive analytics to understand which patients are at higher risk for hospital readmission and which ailments and complications costs the most.

This is where healthcare bobbles what could be a routine grounder: Their focus is on the condition of the patient – not the quality of the physician.

As CMS forces hospitals to shift from fee-for-service models to value-based care, health systems’ revenue will become increasingly dependent upon keeping patients healthy. High-quality doctors will become increasingly valuable. But how do you find them?

Surgeons operating

Sophisticated analytics systems already exist to help locate the physicians who can provide the highest quality, most efficient and most effective care possible. Unfortunately, too few health systems take advantage of them.

Health systems don’t update their rosters, let alone provide detailed information about who excels at specific procedures. This is why primary care physicians will tell you it’s difficult to make quality referrals within their own systems with any meaningful measure of confidence. It’s the kind of blind spot that keeps the heads of ACOs up at night. They are responsible for assembling the best “players” in the game, but they have no access to those players’ stats.

Better information leads to better patient care. Decades of peer-reviewed studies have found a relationship between experience and outcomes – with risks of injury, complications and death plummeting in the hands of experienced, highly skilled physicians.

Taking billions of pieces of physician outcomes data, analytic systems can help health systems employ real data for real results.

This allows health systems to improve recruitment and retention and to make staffing decisions based on quality. As more health systems turn their attention toward quality, physician performance transparency will allow them to deploy the most appropriate providers to the patients who need them. This level of big data will also allow physician groups to attract higher caliber talent. And as performance data becomes more transparency, “peer pressure” will inspire quality to soar.

If you want to apply the “Moneyball” approach to healthcare, turn your gaze toward your dugout and harness big data to assemble the best medical teams possible. We can do right by patients, reduce costs, increase revenue and elevate the entire industry.

In the film version of “Moneyball,” the character Peter Brand says, “There is an epidemic failure within the game to understand what is really happening. And this leads people who run Major League Baseball teams to misjudge their players and mismanage their teams.”

We don’t have to face the same criticism in healthcare. Let’s put together a winning team – by focusing on the players.

About David

David Norris is a public speaker, expert and thought leader in the areas of technology, advertising & branding, healthcare, big data, international business, and entrepreneurism.

Topics: Healthcare