How Healthcare Data Helps Caregivers - InformationWeek
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How Healthcare Data Helps Caregivers

BI and analytics already are driving operational efficiencies. Next up is using data to improve patient care.

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Download the entire November 2010 issue of InformationWeek Healthcare, distributed in an all-digital format (registration required).

Cover Story Dramatic change is coming to healthcare--to patient treatment, providers' business models, and the government's role in regulation and reimbursement. There are many drivers, and not everyone's on board, but the one defining factor is that these changes all depend on the intelligent use of data.

Large healthcare organizations already use business intelligence and analytics tools as a standard part of their financial and administration processes--to streamline billing, manage financial performance, allocate staff and equipment, better manage patients as they move through the organization, and uncover revenue opportunities. They're also starting to use these tools to improve their insight into the effectiveness of patient treatments, and to move toward the quality healthcare objectives and pay-for-performance metrics that are becoming an integral part of federal funding and reimbursement.

Healthcare industry BI was a $600 million market in 2009, and it will grow faster than any other BI vertical industry in the next five years, says IDC analyst Dan Vesset. Increased focus on financial performance management, labor productivity, cost control, and analysis of billing, payments, bed occupancy rates, and patient treatment will drive that growth, Vesset says. In particular, he foresees 10% annual growth in applications that use BI and analytics to manage patient interactions.

In the future, BI and analytics will have more impact on clinical decision making. Healthcare providers will be able to analyze treatment outcomes based on who provided them, what treatment options were chosen, and where they were given, among other factors. They'll be able to look at what they spent on personnel and other resources and see how those decisions affected patient outcomes.

As the experience-based insights that BI and analytics provide expand and mature, healthcare will enter a new phase of personalized medicine, where treatments are carefully tuned to individuals' needs based on extensive analysis of personal genomics and aggregate data about disease risk in select populations based on analysis of genetic markers.

What it Takes To Build A BI Infrastructure

Large healthcare organizations are leading the way. They have the budgets for the considerable up-front investment in data warehouses, data marts, and data integration tools needed to build the information management infrastructure for BI and analytics.

St. Joseph Health System, a $4.3 billion not-for-profit provider, uses Microsoft's Amalga Unified Intelligence System as a common BI data store. It loads patient data from its Allscripts, GE, and Meditech electronic health record (EHR) systems along with financial, staffing, and other data into Amalga, so that users can do reporting and analysis against this data store rather than against the primary sources.

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