Healthcare Analytics, Healthcare Data and Analytics Leadership

Healthcare Analytics Success Requires Enterprise Analytics, Strategic Alignment and Superior Leadership. Notes from Cleveland Clinic’s CIO Ed Marx in His Keynote Address to the HIMSS Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum.


Ed Marx, who is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Cleveland Clinic, gives a fascinating keynote presentation to the HIMSS (Health Information Management and Systems Society) Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum.  His presentation is definitely worth watching.  There are a few key points that I would like to review.  These fit in nicely into the framework that I laid out in my blog post Healthcare Chief Data/Analytics Officers Must Master the Realms of Data Excellence, Analytics Excellence, and Leadership Excellence to Become “Leaders of Excellence” in Their OrganizationsIn this framework the three realms that need to be mastered to become a Leader of Excellence are data excellence, analytics excellence and leadership excellence.  Marx’s key points are that healthcare analytics organizations need good analytics people and capabilities, but more importantly need strategic alignment with the organization, and most importantly superior leadership.

One of the really interesting aspects of his presentation is his observation that data and analytics leaders need to passionate about the data, and the use of data to make data-informed decisions.   If the leaders are not passionate about this, then no one else in the organization is going to be either.   He discusses how the use of data became personal for him during his training to become one of the members of Team USA for triathlons, and one of the top 100 triathletes in the world.  The use of data became even more personal when he suffered a heart attack 1 1/2 miles from the finish of a marathon, and how the data helped in his treatment and recovery.

Key Points

An organization needs superior leadership and strategy before the actual analytics details matter.

  •  You can have the greatest analytics department in the world in your organization, but if it is not linked to your strategy it is sub-optimal.
  • If the analytics are not run with superior leadership, it is sub-optimal.
  • The best thing you can do is to really ensure alignment with analytics and your organization and ensure it is led by very capable leaders.
  • Data is never the reason for an organization’s success or failure, but can be the accelerator for either.  So you want to make sure that data is the accelerator for success in your organization.

Data and Analytics are one of the Key Strategic Enablers

One of the goals is culture change.   Making sure that data is readily available, understood and expected.  This will allow discussions to be interactive and supported by data discovery and intuitive visualizations.  This is getting everyone to ask “Show me the data”.   The data is needed to help the culture change and remove emotions from conversations so that more fact-based decisions can be made over emotion-based decisions.


1.  You need to be passionate about the use of data and analytics in your organization.

2.  You need to be visible, and be seen as a champion.  Get out in the organization.

3.  Be creative in the ways that you deliver data.  Data visualization is very important.

4.  Trust is important.

5.  Be bold.  Leadership requires boldness.  That is how you make a difference in life.

6.  Quietness.  You need quietness in your personal and professional life to think and have clarity.

7.  Measurement.  You should have objectives for yourself and key results that you measure.  If you don’t you will “rise to the level of mediocrity”.

8.  Humility.  You must be humble.

9.  Things change and you need to be flexible.  Build things that are movable and agile.


This is a must watch for leaders of healthcare data and analytics programs.




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