January 2009

Business Intelligence Delivers Data for Decision Making


CHI’s Business Intelligence (BI) integrates data from across the system to help leaders solve problems and improve patient outcomes. Evon Holladay, CHI’s vice president of business intelligence, says the data warehouse at the center of BI helps improve quality of care, increase efficiency and make better decisions. CHI analysts and programmers mine the warehouse’s 100 patient-specific data points to create reports that help CHI and MBO leaders measure performance, trends and operating margin in new ways. “BI automates data collection,” said Holladay. “It makes information available to the right people at the right time. And, it allows us to compare data and measure outcomes across the system. “BI also provides the kind of integrated information that can help solve complex operational problems and make clinical decisions at the point of care,” she added. Established eight months ago, BI has already added value across CHI. For example, BI-produced data is helping CHI and its MBOs avoid preventable errors, identify opportunities for service line growth and improve physician practice management. Data to Help Avoid Preventable Errors In October 2008, Medicare stopped paying hospitals for the care of patients who have complications or injuries resulting from their care, such as incompatible blood transfusions or wrong-site surgeries. These preventable errors occur in 1.6 percent of Medicare-paid hospital stays. CHI’s BI initiative uses claims data to analyze the incidence of any preventable errors across the system. The first report was released in mid-December. MBO clinical quality teams were able to review their data for the development of performance improvement plans. “Without BI, many of our hospitals would struggle with tracking, measuring and reporting this data,” said Jeanie Mamula, CHI’s vice president of clinical quality improvement. “Also, comparisons between hospitals for benchmarking would be nearly impossible. Now, we can see which hospitals are doing a good job of preventing errors.” Identifying Opportunities for Service Line Growth Developing high-performing service lines is important to CHI’s growth strategy and to providing care that matches community needs. The BI steering committee selected service line assessment as one of its first projects. “Before BI, I had to request this information directly from each MBO,” said Jennifer Knotts, CHI’s manager of strategy and business development. “There was no central repository, and the way the MBOs collected the information varied.” In addition to volume data by service line, operating margin data will become available as BI integrates cost and revenue information from the MBOs. Also, market share data will come from an external vendor. All of this data will help service line leaders better understand and respond to patient activity trends and opportunities. Common Data for Physician Practice Management CHI employs more than 1,400 doctors and nurse practitioners. CHI’s Physician Practice Management Group identified three areas that call for integrated, system-wide data: provider productivity, practice financial performance and compensation practices. BI team members will build interfaces between existing information systems and the data warehouse to centralize all of this data. “The BI team brings technical expertise,” said Theresa Lewis, CHI’s director of medical affairs. “We anticipate that initial reports will be available early this summer to help practice leaders identify opportunities for improvement. We’ve been exploring how to integrate practice data for a number of years. BI provides us with a solution.” Long-term, Lewis hopes to add operational, quality and patient satisfaction data.