Halifax Health Spreads Business Intelligence throughout the Enterprise
Historically, the only way to get data out of the Meditech DR system was to run tab-delimited reports and export the results to Excel. Halifax Health used ibi technology to replace this manual reporting system, creating a series of reports and self-service applications that leverage the data marts to help people make decisions within a well-defined subject area.
Halifax does most of its development with the WebFOCUS platform. For example, a new utilization dashboard displays monthly KPIs that empower users to monitor broad trends and drill into daily details. The BI team has also used ibi technology to automate physician credentialing, create more efficient procedures for scheduling surgeries, and track patients throughout medical facilities.
Halifax Health in Daytona Beach, Florida, recently made a significant investment in the Meditech Data Repository (DR) to improve operational reporting. Staff needed an environment that could leverage clinical and administrative data in Meditech, TeleTracking, eSignature, Kronos, and Allscripts applications. Managers wanted end-user dashboards that could display key performance indicators (KPIs) for inpatient quality, patient safety, core measures, and financial measures. They needed an analytics platform that supported drill-down capabilities, mobile computing, offline analysis, self-service reporting, report scheduling, and intelligent report distribution.
Halifax required a general-purpose BI environment that emphasized self-service, so the hospital turned to ibi™. Its decision support team favored WebFOCUS for its broad capabilities and ease of use. Halifax developers found it was easy to create self-service applications and deploy dashboards and compound reports with ibi™ solutions.
According to Andy Foster, decision support manager at Halifax Health, “Our business leaders need actionable knowledge so they can make decisions and continue to improve the care we provide to our patients. Through our data repository and WebFOCUS's vast capabilities, I can always provide a solution that fits their needs, from ad hoc reporting to self-service BI applications to the domain-specific automation we get with self-service applications.” Self-service applications provide a convenient interface through which users can analyze and interact with data. Intuitive and visually compelling, they give the business community instant insight into a complex dataset.
For financial reporting, experienced developers at Halifax quickly determined ibi™ WebFOCUS's analytics platform accomplished everything they could do with their old systems and more. With WebFOCUS’s platform, the team offered self-service BI capabilities to the entire organization, including the finance department. “ibi tools access huge datasets, and they perform very well,” adds Foster.
To create a unified data source for enterprise reporting, Halifax purchased Meditech DR as a staging area for clinical and administrative data. Data loaded from DR into a SQL Server data warehouse was structured for operational and financial reporting. IT also created function-specific data marts for various clinical and financial domains. Decision support personnel dubbed the new BI environment “Business Related Actionable Information Network” or BRAIN. They used ibi solutions to create dozens of dashboards, reports, and self-service applications to provide self-service access to their information.
One of the first BI projects was a real-time dashboard for the emergency department (ED) that displayed current patient activity, updated every minute. ED administrators use the dashboard to track incoming patients, monitor how long a patient has been in a particular room, review what tests have been ordered, and determine whether the hospital’s objectives have been met or exceeded. It is easy to view hang-ups and quantify the impact of ED activities on other departments. Personnel make decisions based on quantitative rather than anecdotal information. Because it is live data, they react immediately. Authorized users view the ED metrics from computers, tablets, and smartphones. One key metric is the time a patient waits before seeing a physician or getting moved to another part of the hospital. Once this interval exceeds two hours, it is considered a hold.
The ED dashboard also includes data on "frequent flyers," people who often come to the emergency room due to various chronic conditions. These citizens benefit from the assignment of a case manager who emphasizes prevention and promotes the most appropriate setting for care delivery. Case managers have access to WebFOCUS’s platform alerts when frequent flyers check in, so they can be visited in the ED.
The dashboards generate events to notify staff about taking immediate action. For example, ED doctors easily see where hang-ups are occurring, such as a backlog in Radiology. Case managers know when particular patients arrive so they can quickly address their needs.
A skilled nursing facility dashboard is in production at Halifax, designed to share patient information among nurses and attending physicians. This dashboard is especially helpful when a patient is transferred between facilities, revealing which patients are sent, which ones come back within 30 days, and what condition those patients are in at the time of transfer. Clinicians throughout the health network use this dashboard to collaborate and provide knowledgeable care, without having to make special requests for patient health records.
The BI environment also helps the hospital comply with Medicare reporting requirements. For example, a Relative Value Unit report measures physician productivity to ensure that doctors and service line leaders are adequately informed. The old version of this report used to take hours to run. Now it takes just minutes.
Workers in the Infection Control department continually track patients who seek treatments for infectious diseases. Reporting is ongoing, but at the end of the quarter, the department needs a complete summary showing progress. Previously it took more than a month to gather this information. Now the department runs a report that summarizes the data immediately.
Halifax is training power users to create their own reports on the WebFOCUS platform. Self-service applications are intuitive, visually compelling, and interactive—providing business users with instant insight. Employees, partners, customers, and other non-technical users can leverage self-service applications to immediately discover the answers to numerous mission-critical business questions. WebFOCUS technology allows users to successfully create financial reports, regulatory reports, clinical reports, and productivity reports.
At Halifax, WebFOCUS's analytics platform usage is perpetually growing. Every week the decision support team gets a request from another group of users interested in BI. Other new applications on the BI roadmap include a disease-specific clinical management tool, a physician billing dashboard, enhancements to infection control tracking, and an array of reports to manage materials, control inventory, analyze health insurance claims, and more.
Foster says, "Throughout the expansion and development of our BI environment, ibi has been a great resource, helping us bridge gaps between simply reporting on the data and providing true business intelligence that meets customer needs."