Healthcare Tech: Can BI Help Save The System?

Initiatives like nationwide, integrated e-medical records won't happen until we get beyond closed, proprietary architectures. Business intelligence is a solid place to start.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

August 13, 2009

2 Min Read

What can IT professionals do? Specifically, in the area of BI consider the following:

BI isn't a panacea, but it's a start. True, BI is useless until data is clean, integrated and aggregated. But don't wait for that to happen before implementing it. Instead, use BI as to start exposing your data problems, and demonstrate to key stakeholders what data issues you have and how you can address them. Results from BI reports are great supporting evidence for justifying data integration project budgets. Leverage outside resources. When evaluating healthcare BI tools, leverage research and expertise on the BI market, such as Forrester's BI Wave, ETL Wave, and DW Wave. If data integration, data cleansing, data warehouse, reporting, OLAP, and dashboard tools aren't built on one of these standard and open technologies, that's a huge red flag! At the very least, use the criteria in our Waves research to evaluate, score, and rate the BI vendors you're short-listing. If it's not plug-and-play, it's probably bad news. Use compatibility and out-of-the-box integration with these leading BI tools and platforms as a measuring stick to evaluate other healthcare IT applications. If you see that you need to write custom scripts to extract data from the application so that one of these leading BI tools can be used to analyze the data, that's another big red flag. Remember, you're in the business of improving (and even saving) patients' lives, and not in the business of developing custom scripts and extracts. Boris Evelson is a principal analyst at Forrester Research and is a leading expert on BI. For more information on Forrester and a complimentary copy of its most recent BI Wave, click here.

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