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Enterprise Data analytics: Breaking department silos

Organization departments have tendency work in silos and Healthcare Providers are no exception to this.  A leading insurance provider firm in USA was venturing into a new business in Canada and the IT team was busy working on the system requirements for the new business. The CIO sought this opportunity to make maximum out of the capital budget to invest in latest rules engine and custom application development. There was no consideration given to the revenue targets onto this new business or ROI on the IT system investment. Out of curiosity when I asked the CIO, his response was “ROI clouds the mind in any decision making. My priority is to ensure work for my team and have the systems in place to support business. It’s for business SMEs to extract maximum out of the system. This is what I call working in silos of departments by achieving individual department goals.

How many CEOs get a 360 view on the operations? Point me to any hospital which claims to understand:
• How much is my utilization cost vs the reimbursements I am getting for those utilizations?
• How much is my ALOS vs the reimbursed ALOS ?
• How many hospitals have a handle on the asset, staff, equipment utilization rates before investing more capital to increase capacity to meet demand?
• Which are the top 20 % areas that are leaking revenues for my hospital, which if plucked can bring 80% improvement in revenue leakage ?
• How much is my reporting tool investment, cost of ownership vs the returns/benefits I am deriving from it?

Data analytics is a very powerful tool that has the least penetration in hospitals. Hospitals invest in transactional products that help them to meet there day to day needs and look at analytics as mere post facto reporting tool to meet regulatory and payer compliance means. Little focus is given in understanding from the past data, trends, areas of improvements.  Moreover data availability in silos of departments makes it more difficult to relate a complete episode of care. The competing transactional vendor products across departments with very little interoperability capabilities adds to this. The current ARRA stimulus package with stress on the meaningful use of electronic record is step in right direction. For providers who currently don’t even have the transactional records captured electronically would need to invest in EMR.  But for those who already use transactional systems to capture day to day data should focus on data analytics around the record. Enterprise performance management tools are light weight analytics platform, which have pre built interfaces to extract transaction data from leading products and apply & present out of the box rules around clinical, operational & financial key performance indicators. These tools present real time performance of the hospital, breaking the silos and also  bring in built in intelligence based on statistical models applied on the past data of the hospital to improve efficiency, identify outliers and suggest corrective actions. They also come in with predictive modeling capabilities for hospitals to make informed data based decisions around its short & long terms capital investment needs.

Hospitals should not wait for full fledge definition of “Meaningful use of electronic record”. Those who have EMR should look at innovative ways of using the electronic data captured to decrease the healthcare cost. Investing in enterprise performance management tool is a low hanging fruit that can be easily explored.

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