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The Wisdom of Business Intelligence In Healthcare
Inderjith Davalur
Inderjith Davalur
Group CIO, Global Hospitals Group
Inderjith Davalur is the Group CIO of Global Hospitals Group with hospitals in Hyderabad, Chennai... more>>
To a considerable extent, the use of data in making decisions affecting clinical
performance, business performance and strategic and tactical initiatives is not
new to healthcare. However, BI has brought forth a systematic, disciplined
approach to how hospitals determine the data they need, how they collect it and
organize it. I like to call BI “actionable data”.
Obtaining a comprehensive view of the patients’ medical history and healthcare
is only possible with a complete view of patient data.
There has never been a dearth of volume of clinical data in a hospital. Typically,
the data available in a hospital could be used to:
• Increase clinical quality and service quality
• Improve patient satisfaction
• Increase revenues
• Reduce costs
• Support capital investment decisions
• Support pay-for-performance programs
• Improve access to healthcare services and facilities
• Improve staffing
• Improve marketing and customer information programs
• Meet special market challenges
• Increase the value of special initiatives such as lean six sigma
• Lead the development of regional health information
The areas where BI plays a vital role with significant impact can be looked at
under the following areas.
Operational Efficiency
If you ask a clinician (Physician or Nurse) if he/she uses BI, the answer would
most likely be “no”. However, in ways that they may not realize, BI tools are
providing valuable information that helps them significantly improve the quality of
patient care they provide. BI tools that aid in patient care administration in an ER
could make a life giving difference in patient care.
Something as basic as patient wait time monitoring and management could
impact patient care. It could also make a difference in patient retention in an ER
where a non-life threatening patient could simply leave to avoid unduly long wait.
Preventative Medicine
Besides adverse drug reactions (ADRs) hospital infections are one of the leading
causes of deaths in hospitals. With advanced patient screening tools combined
with aggressive treatment protocols, mortality rates caused by sepsis or ADRs
can be dramatically reduced. The trick is to build the indicators and triggers into
the BI tool that can function as a predictive intelligent clinical decision support
mechanism that a nurse could use to manage the patient more effectively.
For sepsis patients, minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
This makes continuous monitoring essential - early detection and early
treatment of sepsis likely prevents patients from needing Intensive Care [ICU]
stays, shortens their length of stay in hospital and save lives.
Clinical Services
A hospital’s Pathology and Laboratory department collects and analyzes patient
specimens essential in guiding patient treatment. This requires efficient data
analysis, operational management processes and fast process turnaround
times.
Using business intelligence, reporting processes could be automated and
turnaround times reduced by up to 50 percent. The impact on overall hospital
productivity could be significant. In particular:
• Increased confidence in data
• Reduced Cycle
• Increased Patient Throughput
• Improved Communication
• More Effective Employee Management
The value of business intelligence is in using the same data across the
organization for a variety of decisions on clinical performance, business
performance and strategic as well as tactical initiatives.
These are just a few of the many types of analytical applications needed to
succeed in the specialty healthcare industry segment. As the industry continues
to move toward insurance paid model, the competition will heat up and this
capability will become not only the way to succeed, but also the way to survive.
For hospitals in India, BI is especially valuable from a hospitals survival viewpoint.
As the business model moves from 20% insurance and 80% cash pay to a
more likely scenario of 80% insurance and 20% cash pay, hospitals would need
to arm themselves with some solid analytical tools to stand out in the crowd.
Insurance companies will require hard data analysis and BI tools will be the
hospitals’ best friend in town. Those hospitals that embrace BI will do
themselves and their patients the best favor.

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