No business conversation is complete these days, without at least some mention of “Big Data.” And for good reason.

Huge investments in the continuous collection, analysis, interpretation and application of the insights derived from massive data sets consistently generate better than expected quality improvements and ROIs.

Take Electronic Medical Record systems, for example. There is absolutely no doubt that the positive public health quality impact of EMRs, while already huge, has only scratched the surface of its possibilities. You’ve read about how the grand-kids of today’s newborns will routinely live 100 years and more... Thank Big Data for much of that massive advance in healthcare.

But beware the unintended consequences!

As with any new technology, we can’t always predict every ramification of terrific advances of things like EMRs. There’s always a down-side, indicated by things like the above notice posted in who-knows-how-many medical clinics. Like any of us needs yet more wait time to see the doctor!

But the good news continues... A few leading-edge thinkers and organizations are beginning to attack those downside consequences using the long-proven principles of Lean Management. One of the many beauties of “Lean” is its relentless focus on smoothly merging high-tech with high-touch; with our human nature.

Take “Visual Cues,” for example. To paraphrase the Lean Gurus, visual cues put a specific issue in plain sight. They give all team members the same vantage point and enable them to better coordinate their efforts to achieve an objective; like minimizing the total door-to-door time for a patient visit to a physician. A visual signalling system (like one of these) in a medical facility, for example, is uncannily effective for patient care team communications. Its hidden sophistication lies in its ability to instantly reach deep down into the depths of our human nature - our “lizard brains” - and enable extremely rapid communication and coordination of effort. Enough added efficiency so the same healthcare team can treat one, more likely two more patients per day! (Anybody out there concerned with the rapidly rising cost of healthcare??? Or the aggravation of the 10:00 doctor’s appointment that actually happens at 11:00???)

So back to the core point of this post... Big Data? Sophisticated high tech? YES!!! Forget about the low-cost integration of the human nature side? AGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Each alone is powerful. Both coordinated is magic!

Think about it...