Importance of Business Intelligence in Healthcare

What is Business Intelligence

To turn any business establishment profitable, the managers & the work force is highly reliant on decisions & those decisions are dependent on the kind of information available. This is where Business Intelligence comes into picture

Business Intelligence (BI) refers to technologies, applications and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information and also sometimes to the information itself. The purpose of BI is to support better business decision-making.

BI systems provide historical, current, and predictive views of business operations, most often using data that has been gathered into a data warehouse or a data mart and occasionally working from operational data. Software elements that make up the BI system support reporting, interactive “slice-and-dice” pivot-table analyses, visualization, and statistical data mining.

Importance of BI in healthcare Industry :-

Today, healthcare establishments are also generating a lot of data (Data in healthcare – e.g., encounters, labs, pharmacy, membership, finance, claims, billing, CRM, EMR, HMS, etc). Though, they have lot of data, but information is very less.

There are three broad categories of data that any healthcare organization is interested in : financial, operational & clinical. Healthcare organizations must apply business intelligence to organize clinical, business and operational data for decision-making purposes. This data is used to support programs like disease management, outcomes management, clinical performance and process improvement, cost and waste reduction, quality accreditation and predictive analytics.

Forward-thinking healthcare organizations realize that data—and, thus, business intelligence (BI)—is at the center of informed and precise decision-making that will improve patient and service outcomes in addition to ensuring their organizations’ future, thus, many leading hospitals have already adopted BI

  1. Harvard Medical School, St. Jude Children’s Research, CIBA, & Mutual of Omaha
  2. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida
  3. Columbus Children’s Hospital
  4. St. Joseph Medical Center & St. Joseph’s Hospital
  5. International Federation of Red Cross & Crescent
  6. St. Luke’s Medical Clinic, Houston Infectious
  7. Diseases Associated
  8. Denver Health and Hospital Authority (BI is especially crucial to “avoid both waste and having patients fall between the cracks)
  9. Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (plunged into BI because of a specific need to better analyze the efficiency of its service lines)
  10. Hartford Hospital
  11. Nemours
  12. Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto
  13. University Health Network

Benefits of using Business Intelligence in a healthcare establishment :-

a. Consolidation & protection of data since there would be a single point access of data Better protection of patient data is also possible by providing access to data only to those with appropriate access levels.

b. Improved Efficiency :- Since any type of information & report, whichever is required at any time. This will enable better decision making and improved efficiency

c. Increased revenue & reduce costs :- BI makes it possible possible to eliminate waste and mine data stores to examine and recoup denied claims in healthcare organizations. Costs of: healthcare professionals, lab equipment and consumables, pharmaceuticals/ medical material, treatment per diagnosis and cost per type of medical intervention (e.g. specific medical operation) can be reduced as well

d. Improved Margins :- BI (BI/balanced scorecard program) helps to improve gross margins of healthcare organizations.

e. Improved patients satisfaction by using BI and analytic tools.

f. Improved Patient Treatment & Care :- Through the use of BI, healthcare professionals have easy access to patient’s data and they can create a variety of classifications/reports based on demographic data, sex, age, and so on. Thanks to the evidence based medicine and capture of medical history of the patient doctors can accurate diagnosis and apply efficient treatment with reduction of risks during treatment (e.g. related to on time admittance, the use of medicine, biomedical equipment, blood transfusions). Timely and effective clinical decisions are better facilitated by increasing the potential of BI.

 g. Reduction of medical errors and improved patients safety. It could be reached by supporting medical research and data treatment. BI systems can support a larger Healthcare system, by the exchange of medical information on a patient. Improved decision-making in the area of comprehensive health care policy by the authorities of the organization of the health sector. It can be reached with monitoring the performance of doctors, departments and medical material requirements. Multiple groups or individuals can be put together by emphasizing the analysis and accurate data, which brings them closer to the point of service in order to enhance decision making & make data actionable.

h. Better data management helps in better patient treatment in terms of timely admittance, diagnosis and risk in casualty.

i. Some other benefits includes supply cost optimization, fraud detection

Main KPIs & Performance Indicators

The main KPIs which can be used to be displayed via reports & dashboards are mentioned below.

Clinical Data KPI

Healthcare establishment can improve clinical quality and resource utilization by effectively monitoring and measuring clinical performance and outcomes data. By delivering analysis from multiple sources at once, BI enables organizations to track large amounts of information stemming from clinical activities and identify the most efficient practices. BI helps providers identify trends and anomalies, and analyze risk in clinical care. With a lot of stakeholders involved like doctors, diagnostic centers, pharmacy etc all of them cant function as independent silos. With BI, all constituents can work from the same data over a secure extranet with information personalized based on security credentials. BI’s unique centralized administration and role-based security assures that healthcare providers have security measures at every layer of the architecture. With secure, essential clinical information, individual practitioners can diagnose and prescribe more quickly and provide top quality care with greater peace of mind.

The different types of reports permissible are

Avg cost per case Clinical outcomes
Cost & clinical data Cost affectiveness
Disease management In-patient admission rates
Investment in research programs No of procedures vs benchmarks
Patient safety & staffing Performance reporting
Population risk Resource cosumption vs benchmark
Response time Treatment

Patient Care KPI

Healthcare providers want to offer the highest-quality patient care in the most efficient way possible with improved patient access to care. BI enables the right people to access the right information at the right time, delivering a single platform to healthcare providers for sharing information with patients for better decision-making and connecting patients across hospital, nursing home, physician office, and community social support settings. By providing easy, secure access to crucial information, BI supports safe care delivery, assists clinicians in evidence-based clinical decision-making, and facilitates seamless care coordination across clinical settings. Providers use BI to monitor patient diagnoses and use of healthcare services in order to improve patient care, reduce wait times, and administer more effective treatments.

Clinical Outcomes Day to next appointment
Dispatch request & monitoring Patient functionality
Patients wait time in admission Patients wait time in pharmacy
Service complaints Service Level Agreement reporting
Services performed Timeliness of service

Financial KPI

Healthcare organizations need visibility into the full scope of their financial operations. BI provides full transparency, analysis, and delivery of financial and operational data. BI enables healthcare providers to drill from reports into detailed analyses of costs and revenues, view data underlying cash flow statements, and compare planned versus actual income and margin. BI’s analytical capabilities allow providers to analyze current care practice patterns to identify unnecessary or under-utilized services, execute cash flow analysis, forecast collections, and monitor underwriting requirements. In addition, BI enables healthcare organizations to meet statutory reporting requirements and ensure accountability from financial analysts to business unit management, executives, and directors.

Accounts payable Accounts receivable
Accrued expenses Assets in current vs prior period
Bad debt as % of net revenue Budget variance analysis
Capital expenditure growth rate Cash & equivalents
Cash collected vs target Cash on hand
Current asset turnover Current Ratio
Customer Plan migration Net assets
Net income Operating margin
% of capital expenses % of cash flow to total debt
% of cash flow to total liabilities % of charitable revenue
% of debt to capitalization % of out patient revenue

Quality & Performance KPI

Providing safe, quality care is a top priority for healthcare organizations. BI allows providers to improve performance by leveraging evidence-based performance data, tracking variations in quality, providing patient dashboards, setting alerts, and checking drug interactions. Providers can use BI to monitor the quality of their care according to the Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) standards established by the National Committee for Quality Assurance to allow for performance comparisons across quality, patient access, patient satisfaction, utilization, and financials. Additionally, Dashboard can be used for improving quality at healthcare organizations, which empowers managers to make more timely decisions and participate in on-the-spot quality improvements. BI allows providers to identify the presence or absence of interventions recommended by evidence based medicine.

Dose Frequency of attacks
Handling costs Avg length of stay for patients
Length of visit with nurse practitioner Length of visit with physician
Medication error Monthly drug cost
% of follow ups No of emergency room visits
No of hospitalizations No of patients admitted
No of patients referred outside No of patients with infections
No of patients with vaccinations No of physicians visit
Packaging cost Patients satisfaction

Marketing KPIs:-

With a No. of hospitals, clinics & nursing centers, healthcare providers must place a greater focus on their marketing efforts to stay competitive. BI helps analyze the success of marketing efforts designed to demonstrate the clinical effectiveness of their products and services, create an increased feeling of overall wellness, and reduce workplace absenteeism. BI also allow providers to determine the most cost-effective marketing techniques by tracking campaign costs against budget, calculating the return on investment for campaigns, and comparing performance against goals. In addition, BI allows healthcare providers to use dashboards to show which products and services are profitable in specific patient segments and measure how their marketing efforts and corporate communications alter brand perception and affect brand performance.

Acquisition Advertising budget per procedure
Avg visit length to website Brand Management
Churn Analysis Customer Profitability
Customer Segmentation Demographic Analysis
Loyalty Program Market Share by Business
Marketing Focus group scores No of visit to website
Patient satisfaction Physician practices
Preference & permission bundling Retention

Above mentioned are some of the commonly used KPIs. Keeping a tab on them via selecting a proper Business Intelligence tool & correct implementation, can surely help them to rise above the competition & deliver a world class service to the patients.

For any query regarding Business Intelligence implementation, plz mail [email protected]

Nikhilesh

+91-7893947676

Dashboards & Designing a good Dashboard

A picture is worth a thousand words & when spoken in IT paradigm, a dashboard is worth thousands of GB of data.

A typical definition of dashboard is
“An easy to read, often single page, real-time user interface, showing a graphical presentation of the current status (snapshot) and historical trends of an organization’s key performance indicators (KPIs) to enable instantaneous and informed decisions to be made at a glance.” – source Wikipedia

The concept dashboard originated from automobile dashboard, where driver can look & get all the required information like speed, distance travelled, RPM etc.
Dashboards have became a very critical & important tool for not only CXO but also mid level managers & any other employee for that matter. A normal data will not make sense to any person, & dashboard is just the perfect tool to help a company & employee to make sense out of the humungous data & to draw insights from it. This data can be from multiple softwares like ERP, HRMS, CRM, web service etc. The key benenfit which dashboards gives is

–  View performance information in a graphical format that enables the ability to quickly identify performance issues and study the root causes behind an anomaly.
–  View performance information in an organized format aligned around key goals and objectives.
–  Deliver more timely information by moving away from costly manually intensive    methods of integrating and disseminating information.
–  Dashboards helps in better decision making by reducing operational inefficiencies.
–  Improved bottom line by reducing cost
–  Rapid problem detection, escalation & resolving

A dashboard is not useful until & unless it is linked to the vision & mission of the company. It should be linked to historical data & provide insight. There should be a high level of interactivity in the dashboard, there should be alerts, hover information, drill down & drill through capabilities. Also, a dashboard has to reflect the right KPIs which are relevant to the specific industry & also specific department. In general, finance sales HR & manufacturing are the departments which are found to use dashboards the most in comparison to others.

Dashboards Deliverables Expected :- Generally, below are the most commonly expected deliverables which are supposed to be fulfilled by any dashboards
– Historical information to be present as well
– Information to be upto date
– Customized view according to the department & sector
– Access levels – Security to be implemented
– Mobile capabilities – In today’s world, with more & more of the workforce being on the move, its very essential that the dashboards can be accessed by even a mobile, ipad & tablets
– Interactivity- The dashboards should have high level of interactivity like drill down, drill through, hover capabilities

 

Designing a good Dashboard :- while designing a good dashboard, the following points have to be kept in mind

– Dashboard should be simple & communicate easily with an end user
– There should be the best use of data visualization techniques so that in one look, end user should comprehend what is happening
– Utmost care should be taken in order to ensure that the most important information is made to stand out as compared to others
– Those text should be put in dark which has to be highlighted (like problematic are or exceptionally good performance)
– Icons draw more attention & hence can be used optimally
– wherever & to whatever extent possible, clicking should provide more information of that specific KPI
– There should never be overdose of information, the visualization should never ever be cluttered. Maximum 4-5 frame information.
– As much as possible, the entire information should be present on a single page without scrolling
– There should be focus on actionable data & insights. Patters should be highlighted on a dashboard
– Exceptions have to be highlighted – Via size, shape, icon, color, boldness, italic, shades
– Most important info to be present on topleft & least one at bottom right in a dashboard
– Giving the chart name can eliminate the need for axis naming & hence can save space
– For showing trends, the height should be bigger than length
– Never show more than 3 time series charts in a single frame
– Dashboard background should be always very light in color
– Negative to postive values should always be in opposite or contrasting colors

A typical components of dashboard which are generally used are bar & charts, map, diagrams, grids, gauges, scorecards, pareto chart, balance scorecards, gauges & scales etc

– For comparison, columns are the best tools to be used
– Databars are helpful to read data magnitude
– Color scales to be used in comparisons of data
– Line charts are the best when used to display trend or pattern
– Bar charts to be used for categorical comparisons. But should not be used for large data sets
– Pie charts generally take lots of space & also there is difficulty to read data in it. Hence, generally to be avoided in dashboards
– Sparkline & bulletgraphs deliver a lot of information without taking too much space
– Maps to be used for demographic information (should be interactive with hover, pointer, text addons, labels, graphs in maps etc)
– Sea should be in very light colors & country boundaries should be in dark colors
– Gauges are best for continous processes like speed, RPM etc
– In gauges & other places as well, the colors can be used to depict whether the current value is falling in good, average or bad range

Following the above mentioned guidelines will make your dashboard more easy to read & visually appealing.

Happy dashboarding