Making the Case for Big Data (aka, ABC’s Data Warehouse)
On July 22, America's Blood Centers Data Warehouse Requirements Advisory Committee (DWRAC) held its first face-to-face member meeting in Chicago. We sought to define how the warehouse can be used to help member organizations identify opportunities for improvement and support national ABC advocacy efforts that represent our views.
Over two days, 19 representatives of small, medium, and large blood centers, with experience across multiple disciplines, engaged in interesting discussions about future needs and what the DW could provide. Needless to say, there was somefearregarding how the DW would be used, a bit ofuncertaintyunderstanding the DW's value, and somedoubtas to whether successful insights would emerge using combined data. In business intelligence circles, this is referred to as the "FUD factor." Hurdling the FUD factor is key to setting up a useful DW and business intelligence support system.
It seemed by the end of our second day, the committee cleared the FUD hurdle by realizing that the membership now has a powerful business asset with great potential for improving our operations, as well as our national advocacy efforts. The increased ability to share information and compare business practices across the membership will profoundly impact all of our business intelligence capabilities and provide strategies to address future challenges.
For example, using the DW, we explored the ways that a blood center with a 1.7 apheresis platelet split rate could reduce procedures by 5.5 percent while hitting a target split rate of 1.8. Would this be sustainable with an aging apheresis donor base? What impact would transfusion related acute lung injury (TRALI) mitigation guidelines have? Would a 5.5 percent reduction maintain competitive pricing? How do we define return on investment (ROI) for the C-suite? Providing answers to these questions is possible through the DW. Doing so requires full participation by the ABC membership.
Competition is changing the dynamics of how we do business. As it stands now, there are times when we must rely on other organizations' data to support our advocacy efforts. We now have a means to not only address our national concerns, but also our individual challenges through this unique database accessible to us all. As one of our committee members communicated after the Chicago meeting, "The more we share, the better we all are." Working together is the key to our future success. The DW is the door.