Storytelling: It’s Not Just for Books but for Hospitals, Too

By | 2018-10-30T20:41:46+00:00 October 30th, 2018|

Product managers often have interesting origin stories. Perhaps not as interesting as Captain America or the Hulk, but the discipline of product management is known for attracting people from a broad array of backgrounds. I’m a journalism major, myself — in college, I learned the fine points of copy editing, graphic design and, of course, the Associated Press style guide. (I can also name at least three people who’d have issues with the use of commas in that last sentence, but that just comes with the territory.)

The most important thing I learned as a journalism student, though, is the importance of storytelling. You can have all the facts researched, verified and assembled, but without a cohesive story tying them together, your reader is not going to follow what you’re trying to say. Humans are just hard-wired to relate to stories rather than dry numbers or bullet points. This truism becomes even more important when efficiency, dollars and even lives are on the line. In the hospital operations world, where insight and foresight make decision-making so much more impactful, it’s crucial to get a complete picture of what’s happening…and what’s going to happen.

Data is compelling, but a story spurs action. There are three keys to telling and understanding a solid, actionable story — whether it’s on the page or in how a hospital or health system best approaches organizational planning and efficiency.

Data. This is a no-brainer, but you need enough data to draw the right conclusions. Fragmented or incomplete sources don’t cut it. Just as you wouldn’t cut the last chapter out of a mystery novel, you can’t tell a data story without ample data.

Visuals. Nothing’s worse than an unhelpful presentation. Technology has given us many ways to display information, but they’re not all created equal. (If you’ve ever tried to make sense of a 3D pie chart, you know what I’m talking about.) Intuitive, drillable visuals covering the proper breadth of data makes interpretation so much easier.

A guide. There is very much a human element to storytelling. You’ve got to be able to combine subject-matter knowledge and analysis skills with data and visualization to truly get a point across and enable crisp decision-making. These skills will only become more valuable in today’s world.

Real understanding and real change are driven by combining data, intuitive visuals, and plain-English interpretation into a cohesive story. Hospital IQ helps hospitals and health systems form their stories by combining data from across numerous operational, clinical and financial systems — allowing decision makers to see the whole picture with flexible, intuitive visualizations and predictive capabilities that get to the heart of strategic and tactical problems. Together, this business storytelling provides the analysis and interpretation hospital leaders need to be confident in making the right call.

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