How a single source of truth database is helping one health system drive analytics success

Health Quest, a Hudson Valley-based health system comprising four hospitals and provider organizations, decided it needed a single source of truth database where it could send its staff for projects focused on achieving the Triple Aim.

With some work, it was able to combine its homegrown enterprise data warehouse with another developed by a Health Catalyst.

With that goal achieved, Health Quest is now seeing results.

For example, Health Quest's pharmacy used to spend a great deal of time manually adjusting and filtering reports from multiple data sources. It spent more time doing manual chart reviews and less time doing patient interventions.

Partnering with business intelligence, Health Quest built an internal application that combined the clinical, financial and inventory data into a single repository that allowed for real-time monitoring and expedited medication verification, helping to achieve the Triple Aim.

"As we automated their processes, we were able to increase the number of IV to oral therapy conversions by 200 percent and sustain it, increase the number of renal dose adjustments by 35 percent, and reduced the daily care review process time by two-thirds," said Ray Pankuch, director of business intelligence and data services at Health Quest. 

"Further work helped reduce the time and increase the information on therapeutic drug class reviews that resulted in additional cost savings," he said. "The largest contribution the partnership had was in the prevention of the purchase of other antibiotic stewardship software."

Health Quest currently has two different enterprise data warehouse platforms. The first was built in-house, before implementing another one from Health Catalyst. The health system is in the process of migrating the homegrown platform into the Health Catalyst platform so it has a single source of truth for all analytics.

Health Quest is mostly a Microsoft technologies shop. It uses SQL Server as its database technology and then supplements that with QlikView, SSRS and Excel for visualizations and access to data.

The health system links everything into the Health Catalyst platform. This centralizes all of its extract/transform/load, streamlines governance and creates that single source of truth for all of the analytics.

It wanted to eliminate as many extraneous data sources as it could and keep everything within Health Catalyst. For the most part, users interact with the Health Catalyst platform or internally developed Qlik applications.

"We do distribute daily reports and other data feeds from the EDW to various departments and leadership, but the preferred method is through our interactive dashboards," Pankuch said. "Our current complement of Catalyst applications includes Financial Management Explorer, GL Explorer, Key Process Analysis, Labor Management Explorer, Patient Flow Explorer, Population Explorer, Readmission Explorer and Revenue Cycle Explorer."

This year Health Quest is looking to enhance its offerings with Population Builder and Safety & Surveillance, and begin work on CORUS and CAFÉ. It also is leveraging Leading Wisely to assist with its daily safety huddles, monitoring unit nurse/patient ratios and creating unit-specific dashboards.

"We are still in the early adoption phase, but have made great strides getting the tools into the hands of our operational leaders so they can begin to make data-driven decisions," Pankuch said. "Our emergency departments and pharmacy areas have been our early adopters and they have made significant operational improvements along with cost reductions and improved patient satisfaction."

Health Quest's surgical services and OB/GYN areas have analytics tools coming out this year, and it is seeing good initial adoption with those areas as it begins releasing beta versions.

It’s also focusing on its revenue cycle team this year: It’s rolling out Health Catalyst Revenue Cycle Explorer and some custom denials tools to give the team greater visibility and analytics.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: [email protected]

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