6 Surprising Benefits of Healthcare Data Warehouses: Getting More Than You Expected

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At Health Catalyst, we’re often asked to describe how our solution addresses specific popular uses of a healthcare data warehouse. For example:

With 500+ years of combined healthcare analytics, data warehousing, and care improvement experience, we feel we have a pretty good idea of how our customers will use our solution.

Global performance flow chart conceptThat being said, we are consistently impressed with the novel and innovative ways our customers utilize our healthcare data warehouse platform to achieve results.  For example, one of our customers is expected to recover about $5.7M over the next three years because of the cross-system analysis they can now do with their Health Catalyst data warehouse.

But this blog post goes beyond the results our customers are achieving and examines “what else is possible” once a healthcare organization’s data is available in an integrated information repository; the enterprise data warehouse (EDW).

Recently, I invited a group of my colleagues to share some examples of unexpected benefits they had witnessed at healthcare organizations that feature powerful, thriving EDW initiatives. The number of responses I received was overwhelming; more than I could possibly hope to include in one blog post.  With a goal of hopefully sharing all of them within a continuing series, here are some excerpts, reprinted with permission and in the words of the “EDW Elders” within our company:

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

  • “Negotiating with insurance companies:  We retained the cancer services for a large self-insured employer because we could show them the cost of care and the outcomes of care, transparently, using the EDW data.  The competing healthcare provider could not.  $23M per year retained.”

Stage 1 Meaningful Use Self-Certification

  • “Our EDW was instrumental in it achieving Stage 1 Meaningful Use self-certification.  [Our team] led the effort to develop a dashboard to monitor the readiness of our hospitals and physicians, and the EDW was the basis from which all data was pulled to be sent to a third party vendor for calculating the clinical quality measures.  Millions would have been lost without the EDW.”

Data Quality Issues

  • “The EDW was able to catch data quality issues:  a report looking at Averages caught an ‘average’ that was waaayyy off when the Surgical Record showed a patient payment (refund) of approximately 15 million dollars!  Many people were involved in following up to see if a check was mailed to the patient.  J”

Financial Data Comparisons

  • “The EDW also allowed a way to view the financial data from different systems side-by-side; using this information [one company] was able to renegotiate from regional to system-wide contracts for payer reimbursements – resulting in big $’s.”

EMR User Log Data

  • “We were surprised when people started using the [EMR user log data in the EDW], such as for clinical PCP, to see who had last updated the field.   This is now a formal report that comes out and allows management to track policy compliance and discover employee education opportunities.”

Employee Satisfaction Data

  • “Employee Satisfaction was brought in since it was a highly manual, FTE-heavy process.”

What these anecdotes help to remind me of is that when we integrate healthcare data with an enterprise data warehouse, the whole (an integrated EDW) is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Do you have a story you would like to share of the unexpected utility your organization has realized from implementing an EDW in healthcare?

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