Last month we defined and talked about Dark Data in our blog Dark Data 101. We introduced the concept and defined dark data as:
Information embedded in the cost cycle that is not readily visible, sometimes not accessible, and rarely timely.
You also now know that Dark Data in your system hinders your ability to find and fix the control gaps causing financial leakage. You cannot fix, what you cannot see, and Dark Data obscures your vision.
Let’s shed a little light on the reasons why Dark Data exists by discussing the Top 5 Places Dark Data exists within your system.
1. The integrity of Tools – In a recent study by Kaufman Hall 70 percent of finance executives in a recent survey reported that they don’t have the proper tools in place to effectively reduce costs in their health system.
2. Disparate Systems and Process - The process of purchasing goods and services can be centralized or span across your network. How many steps are in your process? How many different software systems or methods are involved? The handoffs between departments and the lack of an enterprise-wide view are where control gaps exist, and they are not visible.
3. Lack of Integration - A common enterprise-wide software system that did everything has been a desire of many hospital executives ever since the first EHR and ERP systems were developed. However, necessary integration is still a challenge for even the most integrated of health systems. There are just too many people involved in the process. The lack of integration means you cannot see the full impact of the process. It says limited visibility and limited ability to make changes or corrections.
4. The integrity of Data – An additional insight from recent articles is the belief held by 56% of healthcare executives, they don’t believe their data is accurate. This lack of useful information pulled from data hides control gaps and makes it difficult to make changes or improvements.
5. Limited Reporting – Departmental differences with personal and systems causes holes in the process. There is not an easy way to know if the different methods are causing issues or losses. You probably must run multiple departmental reports and then manually merge the data to gain just a limited view. A lack of visibility allows Dark Data to hide the problems.
The cure to Dark Data is Visibility. A clear view of your enterprise spending coupled with a system to identify outliers gives you control. With visibility and power, you can make changes that close the control gaps and improve your financial fitness.