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We recently had the privilege of hosting Amber Welch, VP of Digital Marketing, Platforms & Planning from Ochsner Health and Teresa Andrea, VP & Chief Information Officer at Silver Cross Hospital in our latest webinar where they shared key insights into how they developed a successful provider data management strategy that is central to everything that they do.

1. Improving the consumer experience can also improve operational efficiency 

As organizations consider embarking on a provider data management strategy, they often struggle with  the internal debate around the same question, “why do we need to make this investment?”. Amber Welch explained to us the key reasons that Ochsner settled on, which fell into two main buckets: improving the consumer experience, and gaining operational efficiencies.

Amber Welch: Creating a single source of truth for our data allowed us to create a better provider search and match experience for patients ensuring that they can find the right provider at the right time, with accurate information whether that be on the internet or on our website.

Another key reason for our investment in a provider data management strategy was to gain operational efficiencies. Streamlining efforts allowed us to reduce the amount of manual labor involved in keeping the information up to date.

Customer Impact:  What was once a labor-intensive process taking up the bulk of an FTE’s workload at Ochsner has now been dramatically reduced by about 80%.

At Silver Cross, a solid provider data foundation was key to building a robust consumer experience and a scalable online scheduling program. For them, having access to a robust clinical taxonomy that is layered on to their provider profiles was key.

Teresa Andrea: You have to put your consumer hat on and think like a consumer. It’s really easy to use terms and verbiage that make sense from a clinical perspective, but ensuring that you have that consumer perspective when it comes to how they will think when searching for a cardiologist or asthma is important.

2. Bringing key stakeholders to the table may not be easy, but it is necessary

Getting stakeholders aligned is key to moving forward with any enterprise-wide initiative, and provider data management is no different. So how can organizations highlight the numerous benefits for various stakeholders to gain real buy-in?

Teresa Andrea: Having a multidisciplinary approach is key. All of the different stakeholders are typically doing their own thing, once you bring them together and understand the “what’s in it for me?” for each department or stakeholder group it will be easier to center around the problem that you are aiming to solve and work together towards the solution.

Amber Welch: Bringing the stakeholders to the table and getting everyone aligned is probably the biggest challenge. It is important, especially from a marketing perspective, to do your best to show the rest of the organization the effect that inaccurate data has on a consumer. The loss of trust with your organization that can occur when a patient searches for something on your website and is pointed in the wrong direction is huge.

3. Understand your internal resources before choosing whether to build or buy 

Many organizations understand the importance of having a provider data management strategy in place, but they feel they can build it themselves. Ochsner tried this multiple times, with Amber sharing that the main question organizations need to consider when doing this is: Are the appropriate resources available to build and maintain this in house?

Amber Welch: There have been about three different iterations over the past ten years where our stakeholder groups have come together at Ochsner to try and build this in-house and to be transparent, it didn’t really work. We didn’t really have anyone truly owning the project and moving it forward so it was hard to get everyone bought in and invested to put time and resources into it. So after three tries we made the decision to get the money together to invest in this and bring in an expert to do the heavy lifting for us.

The message here is clear: the right investment in a provider data management strategy can positively impact the entire healthcare organization across patients, providers, and staff alike.