Many are predicting the jobs of the future, how to robot proof your kids and what knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies will be key to avoid your white coat getting the pink slip. Communication, creativity, complex problem solving and collaboration are usually on the list. Now we need to add another “C”: healthcare data competency. 

For some of your team members, the idea of using healthcare data to inform decision-making can feel intimidating. As noted, maybe they don’t consider themselves to have strong analytical skills. Maybe they felt overwhelmed by their statistics course in college. Maybe they like to “go with their gut,” or simply dread the idea of wading through a ton of data. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you can show your team that there are simple, straightforward ways to make a big impact with healthcare data competency, it will go a long way toward getting your employees to use data more often in their day-to-day decision-making.

Here are some ideas on how to create a data literate workforce and leadership team:
  1. Try to keep as much math as possible out of the course
  2. Focus on the problem you are trying to solve
  3. Teach and learn the landmines
  4. Have members of the tribe speak to other members of the tribe: doctors to doctors , nurses to nurses and pharmacists to pharmacists
  5. Create mandatory education and training programs on healthcare data competency
  6. Showcase champions and use cases that create value
  7. Incorporate data scientists into the clinical team to help with translating data to value and mentoring medical caregivers
  8. Start teaching data literacy in elementary school so medical school professors can still have time to talk about their latest research on DNA histone regulation
  9. Provide career pathways
  10. Teach the lessons of Therontology
  11. Factor in intergenerational attitudes and learning styles
  12. Keep your eye on the prize: quality, cost, access, patient experience, doctor experience
  13. Figure out the best ways to display data. Heed the lessons of the airline and auto industry when applying them to sick care.

Here are some more tips on how make sense out of all that data, data everywhere.

I promise. There won’t be math on the test. Just like that little black dress: simple, elegant, timeless…and a fraction of the price at Ross.


arlen meyersBy Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.

Arlen Meyers is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at . He has created several medical device and digital health companies. Most of them failed. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization.

He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism — nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures.