Diana Bodell, Business Intelligence Team Leader, discusses the value of reporting in business intelligence for healthcare.
I believe that I have one of the most important roles in the world of Electronic Health Record systems. I am a Clinical Business Intelligence Report Developer. It doesn’t sound as glamorous as being a Web Application Developer or Data Warehouse Architect (never mind a Doctor), but what I do with reporting in Business Intelligence for healthcare can have a far greater impact on achieving both short and long term benefits from an EHR. I provide data that assists users at every level of the organization to make more informed decisions, improve the quality of their work, reduce costs, and compete more effectively in a very competitive and regulated healthcare environment.
Benefits of Reporting in Business Intelligence for Healthcare
For most of the history of Healthcare IT, clinical data has been largely unavailable to providers and health system executives other than that coming from billing and claims data. Those sources have not been able to provide the timely and specific clinical data that is now possible with today’s EHR systems. Economic and political pressures are changing the healthcare business model rapidly and somewhat drastically and this will require many healthcare organizations to justify investing in these systems further in the future. We are on the verge of a market disruption bigger and more impactful then healthcare has ever experienced. The nature of the relationship between providers, patients, and payers is changing. Payers themselves may cease to exist in the format they are in now and have to become incentive/value based entirely to manage the expense and outcomes of healthcare in new ways. One thing I am sure of is that healthcare environments will require we extract better information from all of the data we collect. This is where the value of reporting really can be quantified.
No matter what the model evolves to, the value of reporting in business intelligence for healthcare is the impact it has on lowering costs and improving quality of care. Near term healthcare reforms have put in place numerous incentives and penalties tied to lowering healthcare costs, increasing inpatient efficiency, engaging the patient, and improving quality of care. With a regular set of reported metrics such as readmission rates, average lengths of stay, case mix index, sepsis and other hospital acquired infection rates, healthcare organizations can target areas of improvement to qualify for those incentives and compete in a more consumer driven marketplace. With the advent of patient-center medical homes and the associated specific incentives, reporting to the physician provider level in the ambulatory setting is also becoming very important. While 80% of care is ambulatory, nearly 80% of data is generated during inpatient encounters and must be managed to provide the needs of the providers and patients in all settings.
Impact of Reporting in Business Intelligence for Healthcare
I saw the more immediate impact of Business Intelligence reporting while I was the Lead Report Developer at a Federally Qualified Healthcare organization in Illinois. These organizations operate on the very margin of existence and therefore must be more efficient and use data/information more effectively then most. The vast majority of this organization’s patient base is in the underserved and impoverished communities. Many of these patients are treated under Medicaid but many are not insured at all. A set of targeted reports allowed the organization to move many of the uninsured patients to a Medicaid plan, reduce their dependence on Emergency rooms for primary care, and improve their preventive care with cancer screenings, vaccinations, diabetes management, COPD and asthma management. Better control of accounts receivable and charitable write-offs improved cash flow. Meaningful Use initiatives had not been introduced yet, and this organization was able to make significant improvement in cost control, patient care and provider reimbursement just by using the clinical and financial data that was being collected in their EHR. In addition, being able to provide detailed clinical information to various grant providers allowed this organization to fund many of their research and quality of care programs.
At other organizations I have seen reporting in business intelligence for healthcare uncover areas of compliance deficiency. One organization was able to significantly improve compliance in an area that had been previously exposed as a problem by the Joint Commission which results in lower regulatory and compliance costs. These reports highlighted areas in which key clinical data was not being documented and in which special needs patients’ requirements weren’t being met on a timely basis.
Understanding ED patient throughput and inpatient occupancy rates with timely and accurate reporting has helped many organizations to do a better job of staffing, one of the hardest areas of cost to control effectively. These examples are at the tip of the iceberg for justifying EHR systems with the implementation of Business Intelligence and reporting in particular. As more and more clinical and financial data is being recorded in databases, mined and shared across organizations, the benefits of reporting will increase exponentially.
Keeping the Pulse with Business Intelligence Reporting
One question I have is, “What will be required next in our evolving healthcare system?” At Orchestrate Healthcare, we keep our fingers on the pulse of strategic change as well as operational change. Whether we are integrating systems and devices or developing strategies for our customers to thrive in the new healthcare paradigm; in the end it still comes down to collecting, storing, organizing and yes, most importantly, using data through well constructed information reporting in business intelligence for healthcare. We are rated a top performer in KLAS because we do everything from the integration to the reporting, in an end-to-end process, because no step in the process can be missed. Our reputation, and most importantly your business, depend on perfection.