Rising costs, a decline in productivity and an increasingly ageing population are only a handful of the national challenges facing healthcare providers today. Unsurprisingly, the system is expected to manage and deliver world-class patient care on a tight budget, all the while being able to provide insights into operational performances.
As a result, business intelligence (BI) is shaping up to be more than just a band-aid solution for the sector. With its ability to provide access to real time information, BI is enabling healthcare workers to gain insights into their clinical departments, empowering them with information to drive improvements across waiting times, patient safety, costs and revenues – all in a cost effective way.
The diagnosis at a glance
There’s no denying that the healthcare system in Australia is quite complex. With funding and administration undertaken by several levels of government, alongside non-government sectors, healthcare providers are under pressure to not only provide guidance on current data but also remain transparent and accountable for their actions.
As a result, the healthcare sector is generating data at an exponential rate, each and every day. While this contributes to the large volume of information available, the problem lays in the fact that many healthcare providers lack the technological tools needed to bring the information together. If we consider the range of information systems used to record information throughout the sector, from patient information to administrative costs, then the challenge for healthcare providers is how to draw actionable insights from all these different sources of data in order to improve performance.
Real-time, real value
Through its ability to join all the different sources of data together in real-time, self-service BI is revolutionising the way that healthcare workers draw actionable insights across the board.
How so? Because without access to data, healthcare providers are worse informed than they may know. All too often healthcare employees work with and make decisions from reports comprising of data that are a few days, weeks or even months old. As a result, healthcare employees are unable to determine exactly where the hospital stands in terms of financial and patient performance.
By combining the different sources of data together in a self-service business intelligence platform, all healthcare employees are provided with real-time information on data that is contextual to their department. For example, department managers can monitor their cost-controls in real-time to compare their actual spend against their budget.
In doing so, insights can be drawn on the department’s overall performance, allowing managers to make more informed decisions on how to better schedule their staff and supplies in order to constantly stay in control of their bottom-line financial performance.
Additionally, by providing all healthcare employees access to data that is relevant to them, they are able to service their own needs for their specific problem at hand. This empowers employees to make fact-based decisions quickly, effectively and in real-time without being reliant on IT to pull reports hours later. This is especially critical in healthcare, given that the decisions made here are ones that affect lives.
Intelligence to save lives
By embracing BI, healthcare providers are enabling their physicians and nurses to focus on improving patient performance across waiting and processing times as well as in treatment and diagnostics.
For example, by synchronising the planning of resources with that of patient logistics, hospitals are able to receive visibility into the patient’s treatment journey. That is, from how long they have to wait for an operation, to when the operation starts and right up until the departure of the patient.
Having access to this data enables healthcare providers to gain a better understanding of where there is a need for improvement. Decisions can then be made into the best ways to streamline the process to ensure maximum efficiency and number of operations performed.
Furthermore, through its collaborative nature, self-service BI software allows medical professionals to share best practices in treatment and diagnostics. This is especially important as enhancing the quality of patient care can only occur through communication.
While data on its own cannot help improve the challenges present in the healthcare system today, providing those who work with the data the tools to access information themselves can. Self-service business intelligence, through its ability to provide access to relevant, real-time information, empowers healthcare workers to make objective, fact-based decisions anywhere, anytime.
As a result, the outlook isn’t as dire as once thought as business intelligence provides the cure for improving performance across the board.
Phillip Beniac is QlikTech regional VP - APAC