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Using Business Intelligence in Healthcare: The Modern Patient Record

April 30, 2012 No Comments

bi healtcare sm Using Business Intelligence in Healthcare: The Modern Patient RecordBy David A. Kelly, Upside Research
The goal of business intelligence is to support better decision-making in business. The direction of modern healthcare is evidence-based medicine driven by the proper use of data. Clearly, the combination of business intelligence in healthcare would seem to be a match made in heaven. On the one hand, hospitals have terabytes of data about patients, procedures, pharmaceuticals, and diagnoses. They have a veritable goldmine full of data and information that can be used to drive superior patient treatment and care. If only they had a way to mine that data, though. The reality is that many of today’s healthcare systems are a discrete collection of legacy systems that do not share information readily, making it very difficult for a clinician to utilize all of the data that has been captured in a meaningful way for the patient’s best care.

Add to this reality the driving forces behind improving quality on all fronts of the healthcare system. According to a report issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), “Crossing the Quality Chasm,” there are six goals of the ideal healthcare system:

  • Patient-centeredness
  • Timeliness
  • Equity
  • Efficiency
  • Effectiveness
  • Patient Safety

Healthcare providers and all of their moving parts are working toward these goals together as the future healthcare system is unfolding. The complexities of the healthcare system will only continue to increase as the entire US healthcare system moves toward electronic medical records. The challenge for healthcare systems becomes how to achieve these goals in light of the enormous amount of data and information that runs throughout the healthcare system.

Enter Business Intelligence (BI). BI solutions by their very nature are designed to extract the diamonds from the rough in the terabytes of corporate data, to help business users sift through all the data to find the relevant information that can drive business decisions. In healthcare, this can translate to two key areas of focus: better patient care and improved medical billing.

A number of business intelligence vendors have developed solutions that seek to apply business intelligence to these six areas of quality improvement for the healthcare system, enabling large healthcare organizations to achieve their benchmarks for success in delivering better patient care and streamlining back-office processes like medical billing. Among them are Business Objects (SAP), Cognos (IBM), Cognizant, Eclypsis, Oracle, SAP, and SAS.

While there definitely more complexities to leveraging data within the health care industry than most other industries, I believe that the better, smarter, faster business healthcare business intelligence will be a critical part of the healthcare system within ten years.

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