Data integration is a buzz phrase in medical informatics. At Ochsner Health System, southeast Louisiana's largest healthcare provider, it's far more than a catchphrase--it's a key part of Ochsner's strategic plan, VP and CIO Chris Belmont said.
Under Belmont's lead, Ochsner has replaced legacy IT systems with Epic's EHR system and integrated a long list of applications into a data warehouse. In the past, doctors, administrators, and in some situations even patients had to scavenge through multiple systems to find the information they needed, Belmont said. That meant that figuring out something as simple as how many hospital visits a patient had in the last 12 months became a major headache, he said.
Belmont needed a way to take all the rich data the healthcare system had collected in the last 15 years--including clinical and operational data--and combine it all in one place so users would have easy access. Using Informatica's data integration software, Ochsner spent the past year moving data from 22 different IT systems into a data warehouse, giving employees access to a huge store of financial, clinical, administrative, and operational information.
Access to detailed work schedules, for instance, lets Ochsner's managers better adjust the labor pool to the ebb and flow of business. It also lets them manage productivity among their 850 physicians, eight hospitals, and 35 clinics. "The data analytics we can do now lets us track clinicians' patient loads and make sure each physician's schedule is full," Belmont said.
Bottom line? Data integration has improved the clinician's user experience, and that lets Ochsner run more efficiently and provide better care.