6 Features Data-driven Organizations Have in Common

Data-driven organizations have certain advantages over those who do not adopt data-related strategies and developments. Utilizing data as a way to improve efficiency, quality, and effectiveness is an admirable and achievable goal for any organization. But how do you know if your organization is data-driven or simply uses data? How can you tell if you’re focusing enough on strategy? While there are many ways to determine whether your organization truly drives its success based on data, you can also look to some of the characteristics that data-driven organizations tend to possess to see how your company or facility matches up. Here are five characteristics that are common across nearly every data-driven organization.

Have Open-minded, Creative Leaders

data-driven organizations have creative leaders

Organizations that are early adopters of technology and ideas, such as the idea that looking to data as a source of strategy is helpful, tend to be led by people who are open-minded and creative. Tradition offers benefits of its own, but a staunch adherence to tradition in the place of innovation can create barriers and obstacles to success within an organization. Creative leadership that approaches new ideas with curiosity rather than disdain is a hallmark of data-driven organizations in almost every industry in which they exist.

Promote Broad Access to Data

If healthcare and other organizations are to provide next-level care to their patients and consumers, it’s not going to happen if data is strictly governed by a chosen few. In the modern age, it’s critical that every player in a healthcare organization has access to the same data. Gone are the days of interdepartmental transfer requests and waiting for a day to get a paper file on your desk. Data-driven organizations provide centralized, broad access to data for every member of the team that needs to see it, which is fast becoming every member of the team.

Utilize Data Management Automation

data-driven organizations utilize data management automation

Automation isn’t the future anymore, it’s the present. Many data management tasks can be automated, which speeds up the process of transferring, accessing, and communicating data. Automated programs exist to help HCOs manage their data, analyze it, and distribute it both internally and between organizations or facilities. While doing things the old-fashioned way can get you so far, automation can save valuable time and allow you to put your staff’s skills to use in far more productive and patient-centered ways.

Focus on Data Literacy

Having a technical support department is always a necessity, but it can’t be the only department that contains technically literate individuals. While it’s not necessary for everyone in the organization to have a high-level degree in analytics or certifications in IT, it is important for everyone to be data literate. As such, most data-driven organizations put a major focus on company-wide data literacy, providing training and continuing education on a regular basis in many cases.  

Keep Data Organized and Centralized

data-driven organizations centralize and organize their data

In order for broad access to data to be effective, that data has to be centrally located and exceptionally organized. Everyone in the organization needs to know where to find data, how to search for it, how to interpret it, and how to utilize it in a timely manner. While part of this goes back to data literacy, all the data-related knowledge in the world can’t help you if the data you’re trying to access is mismanaged, disorganized, and trapped in departmental warehouses. Open access is a good start, but make sure the database you’re allowing access to hosts centralized and organized data. Most data-driven organizations follow this best practice.


How does your organization stack up? If you notice some areas for improvement, that’s great. Now is the time to start implementing some of these practices in order to move towards data-driven strategy in your own organization or practice. While it might seem daunting, jumping in now can help save you time and put you ahead of the game later on when operating with a data-driven strategy is no longer an option. Consider also that this is by no means a comprehensive list of data-driven practices. Continue researching and finding ways that your organization can move into an increasingly digital future and benefit from Big Data, data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics, as well — just to name a few. The end result is increased efficiency and quality for everyone involved.