My Data Obsession: 3 Principles for Effective Product Design in Hospital Tech

Here at Ludi, we’re obsessed with data. Thousands of physician contracts flow through our software each month, and the quality of the data we collect is the driving force behind the value we deliver to our hospital and health system clients.The reality is, health care has become an increasingly data-driven industry (thankfully). Some might even say health care has a data problem now because there is so MUCH of it and it’s not being leveraged effectively. In fact, a recent survey of over 1,000 CFOs and controllers by Ernst & Young found “nearly half of respondents said they spent more time gathering and processing data than analyzing the information.” Yikes.

But what good does all that data do if you’re unable to derive the necessary insights from it? As a product designer, that’s something I think about constantly, particularly when it comes to product strategy. And, yet, I always come back to three simple data-driven principles I’ve learned over the years…

1. Take a ‘Quality In, Quality Out’ Approach.
 Yes, you’ve probably heard the inverse of this, “garbage in, garbage out.” Yet, what actually happens is more like “garbage in, nothing out” because it’s unusable data. That’s why our implementation team places such a large emphasis on data quality. Having collectively scrutinized tens of thousands of physician contracts to date, these experienced professionals, supported by flexible software, are able to separate the wheat from the chaff, and ensure all of the salient contract details make it into our software. 

2. Think Ahead. We can’t predict the future but get enough smart people in a room focused on lofty, blue-sky thinking and you’ll find you get pretty close. This principle helps inform the first: it’s important to think ahead about insights you will likely want in the future, so you can begin collecting that data today. For example, there are data elements that we collect as a part of our implementation process today that are not currently used by our flagship product DocTime Log®, but we know that — by thinking ahead and talking with our clients about their needs — those elements will be important in the future.  

3. Performance Matters. Whether you’re generating quarterly reports or simply trying to answer a question that popped in your head, speed and responsiveness matter. This is why it’s important to pay special consideration to how your underlying databases are structured. A well architected database means the difference between waiting a few seconds or a few hours for insights. 

As a product designer, good data powers just about everything I touch. And data collected today will power innovation in the future. It’s why every company should invest heavily in its data infrastructure to fuel the next generation of solutions. Without good data, you just have a product without real substance, value and heart.

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Our client was named one of Modern Healthcare's Top Innovators of 2019 for her implementation of our DocTime Log app!