HFMA project points to power of BI

April 1, 2013 in Medical Technology

Driven by skyrocketing healthcare spending, the Healthcare Financial Management Association has launched Value Journey, a new initiative with 35 hospital systems across the country to identify common challenges, as well as common capabilities, strategies and tactics. For at least one hospital – so far – business intelligence has become a focal point.

During the recent Maine Chapter HFMA Accounting Update conference in Freeport, Maine, Wayne Bennett, CFO at Franklin Community Health Network, FCHN,  in Farmington, Maine, explained how his organization — one of the hospitals participating in the project — has been focusing on one facet of the project, the use of business intelligence, to improve clinical and financial performance.

[See also: Rocky road ahead for BI.]

Bennett explained that within the Value Project, HFMA has suggested four common capabilities for hospitals to cultivate in order to adapt to a value-based business model, which includes: people and culture; performance improvement; contract and risk management; and business intelligence.

FCHN began its journey by focusing on a combination of two issues: data warehousing and data integration technologies; and desktop query, reporting and analysis tools for self-service access to information, said Bennett.

“Putting the two together — data warehousing and desktop query — allows us to really understand this,” said Bennett.  “Relationships of data drive the business intelligence, and you can stop working off of anecdotal information and focus on straight facts. Really, data intelligence is an evolution.”

[See also: 6 ways to use business intelligence software.]

The evolution of business intelligence maturity, explained Bennett, begins with production reporting, moves to spreadmarks, and then eventually moves towards data marts and data warehouses, where data is pooled and reports are run off of a common database, rather than separated databases from each department of the hospital.

“We are at the data warehousing period of the evolution, where we are not only working off of one database, but we are also delivering business intelligence dashboards of information and putting more energy on analyzing information, rather than gathering information,” said Bennett.

He explained that FCHN partnered with PowerHealth Solutions, which specializes in hospital data systems for patient costing and billing, to work on getting their hospital data out of specific systems in the organization and into one data warehouse.

The evolution does not stop at data warehousing though, explained Bennett. From data warehousing, organizations can then make the leap to enterprise data warehousing, where “people begin studying the data and working on improving costs and solving problems,” he said.

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Article source: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/hfma-project-point-power-bi

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