Analytics and Data
In this episode, Barbara and Jonathan discuss:
-What is the relationship between analytics and data?
-How can people get different information from the same data points?
-How do you advise a professional to discover what is the interest and concerns of the people that he or she serves?
“Data, just like language, is this sort of instrument of power.” – Jonathan Fowler.
Connect with Barbara Hales:
Content Copy Made Easy
14 Tactics to Triple Sales
Power to the Patient: The Medical Strategist
Dr. Barbara Hales: welcome to another episode of marketing tips for doctors.
I’m your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. And today we have with us a very special guest, Jonathan Fowler. Dr. Fowler is the creator of the LDI s plus analytics impact framework and aptitudes, which help companies address their biggest obstacles to a data-driven culture.
He is an entrepreneur, researcher, practitioner, speaker, and father to an amazing 11-year-old daughter. He founded logical analytics in 2020.
Welcome to the show, Jonathan.
Jonathan Fowler: Thank you!
Relationship between Data and Analytics
Dr. Barbara Hales: So tell me something. Tell me about the relationship between analytics and data in marketing a person’s business or practice.
Jonathan Fowler: I got my start in analytics and data science when I was in my humanities education at Clemson and did a lot of educational research and my master’s and really figured out at that point, that all and this is true. Now more than ever, all data analytics work ultimately boils down to human behavior. And, of course, marketing is studying human behavior and trying to make sure that we get the most out of what we put out there in terms of impacting behavior.
And so every data analytics story and they are all stories, or data analytics is storytelling. All of that is ultimately telling a story about your audience. And I mean, if we’re talking about customers, patients, prospects, all of that, it’s all related to behaviors and preferences. And last, more, more, on the care side, we’re talking about, you know, health and observations and happenings and things. But from a marketing perspective, I think data and marketing had been intertwined. Since marketing began probably before data even became a big buzzword.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Well, it is so crucial because how are you going to know if your marketing attempts are successful, or you’re just spinning your wheels and wasting your time and money without backing it up?
Jonathan Fowler: There are two clinics that I’ve worked with that come to mind. And both were putting out social media stuff, right? Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, all that. And my first question to them was, well, what are you getting back in terms of clicks and engagement? And do you know, what, the things that you put out there? Are they driving foot traffic back into your clinic? And neither one of them can answer that? Because they were putting it out there. But they weren’t traded, tracing what comes back and go. Why are you not doing that? Because that would be like me just shouting into the wind and wondering if anybody’s ever responding.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Which is something that we were used to doing in the past. No, it’s so right. Especially nowadays, when people have well tipped their toes in the water and ventured out into social media, they may not be on the right platform. They may be putting out information, not of interest to their target market. And it doesn’t matter if you have a lot of followers. What you need are followers for people who are going to come and make use of your services.
Jonathan Fowler: That’s right. It’s just, if a tree falls in the forest, that adage goes, I can, I have, people will say well, I have, you know, X 100 Instagram followers. So? It’s how many of them are helping you reach your goal? And how many of them are?
Dr. Barbara Hales: And the answer is?
Jonathan Fowler: Yeah, I don’t know because I’m not tracking it. And tracking is so easy. I mean, you put some UTM parameters on the end of the URL, and suddenly, you’ve got the ability to say this campaign for this medium and this particular time. This is what drove traffic back to our website or orders or inquiries. Do that sort of thing.
Dr. Barbara Hales: I’m sure some of the data that came back was shocking.
Jonathan Fowler: You know, there’s a book out there called everybody lies and Seth Stephens. I forget his name. Now, I’m recovering from COVID. The brain fog is the thing that drives me nuts right now. But in the book is this sort of deep dive into what data tells us about ourselves. And reading that, some of it was interesting, some of it was disappointing because you go, wow, I had no idea. People were like this. So studying data, sometimes you get results you may not want to know.
Different Information, Same Data Points
Dr. Barbara Hales: Oh, that’s true. How can people get different information from the same data points? I know it is like statistics where you can make it say anything.
Jonathan Fowler: There’s this great picture of it. It’s like the letter E. And somebody else gets thrown on the floor. And somebody’s looking at it from the side and says, it’s an E, somebody’s looking at it, or citizen W. Somebody’s looking at it from one side and says it’s an E, and the caption is, well, they’re both right. It’s just dependent upon their perspective. And that’s true to a degree. But then you go, it was meant to be it was written as E, and you need somebody to orient you to tell you how to look at it. I kind of buy both of those approaches. Because yes, it is important to have some orientation to say this is the truth. This is the way we want to look at it. But you do have to account for everybody’s different perspectives.
So how that works out and how this sort of this aptitudes, the analytics personality types came into play is, let’s say, a company that has different divisions, sales, marketing, HR, that sort of thing. They have access to the same data for their company, but they have different priorities in how they use it, and say, you know, people that are in more of a controlling mindset, they want to use that data to enforce policies and procedures and rules and ways of doing things. Individuals and divisions are more on the creative side of things. They want to use data to help mitigate risk and explore new opportunities. They want to increase focus on external customers. How do we innovate and create? So you have to acknowledge that there are those different types within an organization, whether a company, a clinic, whatever, it’s just as organic as a person with multiple aspects to their own personality.
I think one of the mistakes we make in data work is assuming that this cold, hard thing is absolute truth. And I studied, going back to my early humanities education, one of the things I studied was literary theory and this notion of multiple truths. And, you know, plurality that there is no single truth for what an author means in a book, for example, I never thought those two would connect like that in data. But what I’m finding is data, just like language is this sort of instrument of power.
So let’s take a very, very concrete example, the Florida COVID-19 cases. There was a data scientist there who worked for the Department of Health, who was in charge of publishing their COVID-19 public dashboard for cases and the numbers that she was putting out there. She was told by the state government to filter and change how she was doing things and she disagreed. She was ultimately fired. And there was a long drawn-out case about that. But legal issues aside that the foundational question whose data was right? And who’s controlling the narrative here? She painted a much darker picture of COVID-19 cases in the state than the governor’s office preferred. And so there you have the same data, you’re looking at it differently, who wields control over the story it tells. And so that goes back to this idea of whoever wields that that data has that power in their hands.
If we take that back to the question of inside an organization. Yes, people can see data differently. A simple filter, or even how you approach it pie chart versus a graph versus a KPI. Everybody has different, different ways that numbers hit them. And the presentation is key. So I think we have to acknowledge that and work from there as opposed to going well, you know, the numbers are out here, can’t you see it? Well, maybe they can’t. And maybe there’s a good reason they can’t.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Well, what are some reasons why they can’t?
Jonathan Fowler: Definitely, being able to communicate graphically is important. I, it’s funny, there’s this There’s a book out there, it’s like a five leveling, which is I forget the guy that did it. But it’s, it’s in relationship counseling. And the idea is that everybody has five, we all have five ways we give and receive affection. And there’s quality time, physical touch, gifts, acts of service, and words of affirmation. We can behave, we can favor any of those. And that’s how, say, for example, with our partner, if we communicate our affection through, say, acts of service, but they don’t tune into that they’re more about words of affirmation or quality time, then we can be throwing everything we have out there and our partners just not getting it because it’s not how they communicate.
Same thing with communicating data. I can give you a spreadsheet. And that’s how I see things. And I go, and this is happening right now for customers working with. They’re saying. Look, everything is right here in this spreadsheet. I’ve explained it to you a million times. It’s right here. Don’t ask me to go over it again because I’ve given it to you. And the audience is going; I don’t know what this means. I don’t understand it. I need it visually. A spreadsheet person doesn’t think visually. And so we have to figure out it really, this is a lot like relationship counseling, which is, it’s figuring out how people communicate.
How do they read each other? And how do I make it so that this person who’s thinking and spreadsheet terms can communicate effectively with the person who wants to see dashboards, same data, but completely different ways of getting it? I think in medical practices, where everything is so fast-paced, and it’s not, you know, if you drop something, it’s not like we don’t ship 50 widgets, it’s somebody’s health is on the line. Acknowledging that and addressing it is so important.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Do you feel that having infographics is helpful?
Jonathan Fowler: Right now, dashboards are a buzzword almost. And there is this danger of just throwing money and tech and software and tools added in thinking that doing that will solve everything. Let’s say, you know, the family practice has been doing things their way for 50 years. And you know, they feel like, oh, wait a minute, everybody else is doing analytics, we need to get on that train. And they want to let’s just buy this, throw up some monitors around the office and do this. They’re not going to get anywhere because it’s just the tails wagging the dog. It is.
Let’s just put some lipstick on it, make some nice dashboards, and go with it. But there’s no thought around. Well, what do we need? What’s important to different audiences here? Internally, you know, what that is important. And how do we want to communicate? Because could be that that is trash. And there’s old adage garbage in, garbage out, which happens a lot.
Discover People’s Interests and Concerns
Dr. Barbara Hales: So how do you advise a professional to discover what it is that is of interest and concern to the people that he or she serves?
Jonathan Fowler: We always look at it sort of multiple layers of customers. So, you know, for the provider, customers, or patients, but internally, let’s say if they either have, you know, an appointee internally, whether it’s office manager or records manager, whatever that is to go to data person, then the customer of that data person is everybody else in practice.
The first step is figuring out what data we have. What insight will make life easier? And what insights will help us grow? And more than likely, there are two or three different systems, there are patient records, there’s your marketing, there’s the appointment, reminder system, there are all kinds of different systems that work together, or they probably don’t work together. And one of the keys there is how we get all of those to work together without disrupting current practices. So usually, in the cases where I’ve worked with doctors’ offices, it’s a matter of how we get the data out of our existing systems, put it all together in one place, and then draw insights from that one place.
I can get, for example, my data from my appointment reminder system, you know, what is my likelihood of no shows, if there’s a certain case type coming from my patient record system, combine that with my appointment system that says whether they responded or not. And then maybe I’m also pulling in, you know, what zip code there, and how far they are from the office, that sort of thing. And there we start sort of connecting breadcrumbs across different systems and making real insights for Hey, this means this person’s probably not going to show up based on past history.
Do we want to overbook? Do we want to go get ahead of it? Like it doesn’t change. It shouldn’t change practice. In that, you know, you’re going to well, you know, don’t worry about them. No, it’s not like that. It’s more of, okay, this could probably go one of maybe three different ways. How do we respond? How do we set ourselves up so we can respond to each of those quickly, as opposed to scrambling or being surprised when something happens?
Dr. Barbara Hales: Absolutely. And in a way, a lot of doctors are a little bit behind other business, no personnel, for instance, every time I make an appointment for the dog groomer, for my little furball when the appointment is coming up in two or three days, the text comes across my phone saying you have this appointment, please respond. Yes, for your coming. See for cancel or reschedule and they depend on you responding and that out two or three times and you don’t respond, they, the office just assumes you are not coming.
Jonathan Fowler: That’s right.
Dr. Barbara Hales: And a lot of doctors don’t have that. But it seems that if my nail players can do it, and the dog groomer can do it, certainly, the physicians can do it. And it would make the running of the office that much more efficient.
Jonathan Fowler: It would, one of the things that I saw a lot is doctors, or the practice heads are saying we need more customers, we need more clients. Office managers are saying before we pile any more stress on the system, with more people, we need to get a handle on making the operation run more smoothly. Because if we add more people to it, it’s going to break, and then you start looking at what is running well, and then okay, instead of broad brushing this and saying we want more clients with more patients. Let’s look at current operations and understand what type of patients we want more of the three Gus the better revenue.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Exactly. You don’t need a ton more patients what you need is better patients.
Jonathan Fowler: And that’s good, and there’s that that answers two questions we talked about a little bit earlier. One, people see different data, or people see data differently. One person If we need more patients, the other person sees that we will need more of a certain type of patient. And there’s the other question, which is how do you grow? You don’t just broad brush it. You don’t say come one come all. You go, okay. We’ve been in business for X number of years.
Depending on the practice, we have, say, for example, well, chiropractic is easy, because chiropractic, you can, you can differentiate between self-pay versus Medicare versus major health insurance. And you know, a lot of them have moved to concierge type practice, and so doctors to, my PI is a concierge doctor because the data has shown that, why would I put so much money into the insurance over so much time in the insurance overhead for so little payback? When can I do self-pay? And make way more profit for my time for that.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Absolutely. When concierge services and transitioning to it first came out, there were many people who feared doing that, because, although it was an attractive thing to do, they feared that they would lose their patients, the guy down the road that would accept their insurance. And they said if I do that, and I lose my patience, I’ve lost my revenue, instead of looking at, like the flip side and the positives. But I think now that medicine is such that you get three minutes of quality FaceTime. Yeah. And you get a recording on the phone, which slays me because it would have never happened when I had my practice, which was, we’ll leave a message, and we’ll get back to you in 48 to 72 hours. And when I hear that I go, what, what not like in 10 minutes, not in 20 minutes, not even like later today, I have to wait like three hours I could be sprawled out on the kitchen floor and three days.
Jonathan Fowler: Yeah.
Dr. Barbara Hales: I think that these practices that are now going on are a great incentive for patients to say, Listen, I will pay a concierge doctor so that I get the attention and the response in a timely fashion I want.
Jonathan Fowler: Absolutely right. And I’m that was me, I did that. And I went to a health savings account and a high deductible plan because I like being able to talk to my doctor and text him and I’m not abusing it. But to me, it’s like okay, the one time I need you, I do not want to have to go through an IVR and press O for somebody and all that stuff.
One of the greatest things, I still love is the fact that I was able to do this with it at a clinic. It was a two Doctor’s clinic. And the same story with the data figuring out okay, do we want kind of come one come all or do we want to be targeted? And we figured out that just by combining the different systems that they had in place into one sort of data warehouse to the source of truth that we could then extract insights from, we started looking at patterns of behavior over a year, and figured out that for the time that they were spending on insurance overhead, they could flip the practice, they would lose about half of their clients, if all of them went if all the ones that were doing insurance left, if they just went with the self-pay, right.
Dr. Barbara Hales: But they’d still be making more money,
Jonathan Fowler: But they would still be making more money. And the time that they had, let’s say they lost half their patients, we estimated by the amount of time they spent with each client. And because we had those metrics, we had enough metrics to figure out, that you could build back your client base and get to full capacity in three months. So not only are you making more money with half the people, but you can fill out the other half with more profitable patients and give them a better service. And none of that would have been possible. If we had not started looking at the data, we would have hunches, but we wouldn’t have the numbers to prove it out.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Absolutely. You know, it’s like the old adage you know, you have to open your hand and let go of what you’re clenching in, in order to receive.
Jonathan Fowler: And the fear that clenching was that we’re going to use If you tell somebody you’re going to lose half your patients, and you just stop there, they’re going to, Of course, they’re going to freak out. But there’s more to that story. And we were able, to show the rest of the story with the data and say, okay, hear me out. Yes, you’re going to lose half your patients in worst case scenario, but here’s how things are, the numbers are going to get better for you even in the worst-case scenario, you’re still going to be making a lot more and putting a lot less time in the overhead for getting paid 10 to 30 cents on the dollar for what you throw out there.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Well, our listeners who have just heard this are probably saying in their mind at this point, I want that I want some of that, like, where’s my head been? You know, I need this guy. So how can people who are listening reach you?
Jonathan Fowler: Website is logical.us. And my direct email is Jonathan@logical.us And we, like I, I teach, I’ve got one foot in academia and one foot in the business, because I think the intersection of data and industry is the one place where, or one of the places where research and innovation have to be right there with serving customers. And I love working with business owners and having the same sort of light bulbs turn on above their heads that my students do when I want to do Agile at work. I don’t want you to get a degree in data science with me, but I at least want you to understand a little bit about why we’re doing what we’re doing. And to me that that’s a much better journey than just a transaction.
One Helpful Tip
Dr. Barbara Hales: what is one helpful tip that you can give our listeners now to implement right away?
Jonathan Fowler: Make sure if you are doing social media marketing that you have some way of getting metrics on responses. Don’t just throw stuff out there. If you have a link somewhere, if you put a link to your website somewhere, be sure that you have UTM parameters on there. And all that is is a little question mark. And then it usually says UTM, medium UTM source. If you ever see that from a link you follow, that means that whoever put that out there is wanting to know how you got back to that website, you need to do the same thing. Because again, putting it out there and not having a way for it to track back is just shouting into the wind.
Dr. Barbara Hales: I think that that is excellent advice. And I have one last question for you today. Since you say that analytics is mostly, you know, analyzing human behavior and predicting future behavior. I was wondering if you are able to use that on your preteen.
Jonathan Fowler: Oh, boy, yeah, she just turned 11.
Dr. Barbara Hales: And you’re in trouble already.
Jonathan Fowler: I’m in trouble already. Boy, Lily is. She’s a mini-me for sure. But in a lot of ways, yeah. In a lot of ways. And, you know, I don’t know. She’s definitely I was an English major. She’s very artistic. And I don’t think yet she’s got any penchant for any sort of data science stuff, which is fine with me. I want her to go her own way.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Now, I was just wondering if you could use the data for her behavior.
Jonathan Fowler: I thought. One thing I’ve learned as a parent so far is no. If I even if I collect 11 years of data. I have no idea what’s gonna happen next because that’s the way kids are.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Well, it’s been a real pleasure having you here today.
Jonathan Fowler: Thank you for having me.
Dr. Barbara Hales: This has been another episode of marketing tips for doctors with your host, Dr. Barbara hills. Til next time.