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How Alteryx is Shaping Data Strategy in Healthcare

By: Jake Lorber | April 29, 2020

We live in a time where, after people, data often serves as a company’s biggest asset. Given the speed of our economy, data is constantly changing and evolving. The challenge is not only to ensure that data is accurate and available to database developers, but also to provide business analysts access to current, relevant data, equip them with the ability to understand and leverage its utility, and help them keep the insights coming.

Here at CoEnterprise, we have found that Alteryx has been a vehicle of choice to help drive many companies towards a data-centric transformation.

What is Alteryx?

Alteryx is an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tool that provides analytical capabilities that almost every company requires today. Its code-free user interface, intuitive drag-and-drop, and widget-style canvas allow analysts of all levels to solve complex business problems faster than a PhD could with pen and paper.

Data transformation is often the biggest part of any analytics project. In fact, as a rule of thumb, we typically see roughly 80% of project tasks associated with getting data into shape for analysis and visualization. Alteryx helps speed and automate the ETL process, so that your users spend less time shaping data and more time analyzing it.

What kind of problems can Alteryx solve?

Here are a few basic tasks Alteryx is designed to make easy:

  • Converting from one system of measure or currency to another
  • Converting from one data type or date format to another
  • Finding and handling non-identical duplicates (e.g. 3 Bros. Moving vs. Three Brothers Moving Co.)
  • Cleaning up unwanted characters in string fields
  • Imputing numeric values to replace nulls
  • Simple and complex data pivots (moving data from columns to rows or vice versa)
  • Filtering, sorting, grouping, splitting and merging data
  • Creating joins and unions between data tables
  • Creating multiple outputs

Alteryx can tackle everything from automating and accelerating your quarter-end reporting cycle, to optimizing the locations of new retail stores, and even to more accurately predicting how much a potential customer will spend for that extra side of guacamole.  But today I wanted to discuss a few examples of how some of our clients in one of the biggest and most complex industries are using Alteryx—in the ever-changing industry of healthcare!

Healthcare Use Cases

First, we’ll start with some of the basic functionalities of Alteryx: blending and joining data from various systems. Currently, there is a big shift in the healthcare industry that centers around improving the patient experience. I don’t know about you, but I grimace at the idea of having to fill out countless forms every time I go to a doctor, especially when I know I filled out the exact same form last time; awful customer experience! With the help of Alteryx, healthcare providers and insurers can now get a full view of a patient’s health by blending historical medical records from all relevant sources including the provider’s internal systems, and those of their partners. This delivers a better customer experience and ensures that the doctor has all the relevant information when examining their patients.

Or, how about this one: What if I told you that Alteryx is helping healthcare providers know when you are likely to skip that appointment you booked, before you even know you are going to skip it!?

Are they mind readers? No, they are just using Alteryx’s set of Predictive Grouping tools to perform a cluster analysis on patient data. Patients who skip out on their appointments cost healthcare providers time and money, especially if they are unable to offer the abandoned timeslot to someone else. By using historical electronic health record (EHR) data, along with tools such as the K-Centroids Cluster Analysis Tool or the Naïve Bayes Classifier Tool, the provider can build predictive models in Alteryx that will tell them which patients, or groups of patients, are most likely to no-show. They can then make a business decision to send an automated message forcing the patient to confirm their appointment 48 hours ahead of time; something they don’t send to every patient. Or, by blending regional based socioeconomic data with these results, they may find the patients who might miss an appointment due to lack of transportation. With these insights they can often help coordinate alternative transportation to the doctor’s office.

Speaking of which, Alteryx’s tools for geospatial analysis are powerful and yet eminently accessible to a business user. Alteryx makes it easy to perform analyses such as calculating drive-times between locations, fleet route planning, and evaluating competitive locations for new storefronts.

These are just a few examples of the analytical power of Alteryx.

Do you see gaps in your data utility at your company? Click here to explore how we can improve your data strategy and help take your business to the next level.

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