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“Consistify?” Yes, you read that right. It is the act of collecting information consistently for easier comparison and analysis. Why is it so important to consistify the data you collect? Because measured outcomes are critical data to plan capital investments, apply for grants, hire staff and refine your marketing message.

In the health world, it means structuring exercise prescriptions and programs with fixed routines and easily comparable assessments to produce research-level health outcomes (an average 5.4 points of systolic blood pressure dropped over 60 days) and MBA-valid business outcomes (82.5% conversion rate for temporary members within the first 30 days of the program). With this kind of insight, it’s easy to pinpoint where your program needs support and where it’s running well.

If that’s not enough to convince you, consistified data held in one system helps you visualize the performance of each program, referrer and participant. When member records and program enrollments are recorded in structured routines, you can peer into the wellness story of a member and see their progress, and also zoom out to see how that individual’s data fits into your population health outcomes. Consistent data in a single platform is required to tell both stories.

Fragmented systems yield inconsistent outcomes. When collecting health data, how you store that information for later use is key.

Plugging program data into a spreadsheet — aside from the obvious security and workflow issues — doesn’t easily scale to provide insights for multiple programs and multiple locations.

Inconsistently collecting data over varied time intervals leads to poor health measures. After all, advertising weight loss over six weeks is not the same as advertising weight loss over six months.

Using a designated “data wrangler” wastes time manipulating unruly data.

Time and care must be taken to correct the datasets or the resulting reports could misrepresent the facts. Without comprehensive reporting tools that calculate business outcomes (the number of referrals is down 26.5% this month), or staff and participant performance (11% of the cohort has met the weight goal), it’s easy to fall into faulty decision making, false trends and misinterpreted cause-and-effect analysis.

A proper platform can help. Consistifying your data doesn’t have to be difficult if you have help from the right systems to do the heavy lifting. When you are looking for a data collection tool, it should first and foremost be able to accommodate tracking all of your people, programs, places and payers — this unified system concept is at the heart of consistifying your outcomes. It should remind you of due dates for assessments, and calculate valid outcomes on the fly.

 

Cassandra Stish, the programs manager at Welld Health, has helped implement a wide array of programs in facilities across the nation. She’s always up for a conversation about wellness programming. Reach her at cassandra@welldhealth.com.

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