Can MAJOR Change Come from Just Internal Hospital Data?

At a conference I attended, I had the chance to sit down with Sheri Stoltenberg from Stoltenberg Consulting. During our visit, Sheri asked a really valuable and important question:

Can MAJOR Change Come from Just Internal Data?

What a fascinating question! We hear so many people out there yelling for major change in healthcare. Costs are too high. Quality is too low. You know what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, many in healthcare are pushing against all these changes. However, I believe everyone in healthcare realizes that change is absolutely coming to healthcare. Hospitals are going to have to do more with less. That’s just the reality of the future.

Many people have argued that one of the key ways a hospital is going to be able to deal with these changes is using quality healthcare analytics. Very few people would argue against the value of analytics. When properly implemented and understood, healthcare analytics can provide some real change for good in a healthcare organization.

Now, let’s go back to Sheri’s question. Will a hospital be able to effect the MAJOR change that is needed in their organization with just the data that exists within their 4 walls (or within their health system if you prefer)?

I believe the answer to this question is no. Some change will happen because of internal data analytics, but the largest change is likely going to need data that exists in external systems. In some cases, it may even need data housed in your “competitor’s” systems. However, there are plenty of other external data sources as well. Not the least of which is the growth of consumer health sensors. We’re really just getting started with consumer health sensors.

The problem I see is that healthcare is ill prepared to work with all this external data. Goodness, they can barely figure out (probably because they’re too busy working on MU, ICD-10, and other government regulations) what they need to do with their internal data. Most can’t even fathom the idea of working with external data. However, the future world of healthcare might just require them to do so. How is your hospital going to get there?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.