18 Feb “Real-Time” Data Warehouse Benefits Healthcare Providers
Hospital administrators and clinicians can reduce medial errors, improve patient safety and run a more efficient healthcare organization by using data warehouses to automate the costly processes of data collection, organization and analysis.
Less than 5 percent of healthcare organizations research outcome and process improvement strategies, despite the dramatic cost reductions, revenue enhancements and quality of life improvements associated with such research. So why doesn’t every healthcare organization do this? Because it’s hard to do and it takes the knowledgeable and skilled professionals to design and implement.
Healthcare providers can improve the efficiency of their organizations by using data warehouse technologies that optimize data collection and business processes. The results will provide a better definition and understanding an organization’s problems. TeraDimension has distilled this data warehouse optimization into a four-step data process: collecting data, organizing data, asking the right questions and producing an analysis that both clinicians and executives understand.
There are three main concepts in a data warehouse:
· Facts: values and instantaneous relationships captured in a transaction
· Dimensions: the context of a measurement transaction
· Time: which relates to all contexts and facts
Patient record example
Having a patient’s blood pressure record, for example, doesn’t do any good unless it’s identified and linked to the individual. These dimensions, called patient and person, provide context to the measurement.
It may be critical to know how many other patients had similar blood pressure readings over a given period of time or to compare the measurements against a specific age group. Additionally, identifying the instruments used in measurement and the clinician who took the reading provides additional context to the record.
The ability to study the results, in the context of process, will create improved patient care. This is a science: no one will believe a measurement’s result without understanding the methods, which must be consistent and proven. The data must also be consistent and concise so analysis and predictions can be made over long periods of time. These qualities are found in well-developed data warehouses.
Data warehouses are a solution for on-going costs of collecting, organizing and cleaning data, a resource-intensive, time-consuming, and sometimes inaccurate and manual process.
The information capability of a data warehouse allows individuals to derive high-quality data, knowledge and business intelligence. Having the right information, at the right time increases efficiency and the ability to make more informed decisions. That knowledge can then directly affect processes and ongoing analyses. The data warehouse is the witness and historian to the results of changes. It is an information technology asset that derives value from raw data.
Why real time?
It is common that data warehouses are updated daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. While this frequency is sufficient in most cases, as the data warehouse best fits its traditional role as a data historian. However, using newly developed technologies and techniques, the ability to update a data warehouse “on the fly” now exists. The right questions can now be answered as data is transacted in real time. In addition, results can be instantly compared to previous data in order to understand measurement variance, process times, events and disease outbreaks.
A real-time data warehouse is capable of transcending the gap between data and business processes. Using a workflow modeling tool (a tool that visually represents a set of business processes) and directly linking query results from the real-time data warehouse to the events, activities and decision points on the model; a “live” view of the business can be developed.
In real time, the data warehouse provides continuous surveillance, producing directed feedback for comparison from various complex conditions, measures and variables. In this mode, continuous “live business” improvements are made by monitoring performance. This results in increased patient safety, lower costs and risk mitigation as well as creates new opportunities for increased revenues.
Ron Mueller is the Chief Technology Officer at TeraDimensions. He can be contacted at