Hospital Data Warehouse: The Best Reporting Tool for Efficient, Consistent Hospital Reports

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Hospital Data Warehouse Best ReportsIf you’ve worked on the finance side of healthcare as long as I have, you’re probably uncomfortably familiar with the stresses of reporting to management. Now, as the industry transitions from volume-based to value-based purchasing, pulling together management reports is becoming even more complex.

Visualize for a moment the reporting rush. Finance, quality, human resources and clinical departments are scrambling to compile data for their reports. Once each department has managed that process separately, they are tasked with bringing their reports together so management can review progress on organizational goals. Management wants to see the big picture and draw valid conclusions about quality, satisfaction and cost performance across the organization.

What I just described is a stressful, time-consuming process. The good news is there is a better way. And that way involves a hospital enterprise data warehouse (EDW).

Here are two ways that a hospital data warehouse makes management reporting more efficient and effective:

1. Enabling a More Efficient, Scalable Hospital Reporting Process

This is how a typical reporting scramble occurs to pull together healthcare reporting and analytics. Hospital executives get together and determine they need certain types of healthcare data to track strategic goals. You may already have a process in place for getting financial data. But now, with new value-based purchasing pressures requiring clinical and financial data, you’re suddenly tasked with getting more data than ever before. Questions begin racing through your mind:

  • Where do I start?
  • Who do I approach for the data?
  • Where is the data stored?
  • How do I get at the data after I’ve found it?
  • How do I compile and make sense of it?

Locating the right people with the right data—whether it’s a single person who updates an Excel document or a team overseeing a database—is a time-consuming manual process. You’ll spend a lot of time setting up this process to gather and compile data to keep the executives’ dashboard up to date on a regular basis.

A hospital data warehouse streamlines and scales this process. It integrates disparate data from a wide variety of sources —including billing, financial, patient satisfaction, and clinical sources. You can access it in the same place every month. And with the tools the hospital EDW delivers, you can spend your time analyzing and interpreting the data, running visualizations and reports, and gaining an understanding of the best ways to achieve quality and cost goals.

I’m sure you’ll agree that this hospital EDW-enabled process is much better than having to chase down data and sources month after month, and you’ll be providing the healthcare analytics leadership needs.

2. Ensuring Consistent Healthcare Data That Everyone Can Trust

Here is an experience I’ve had too many times. Perhaps you’ll relate. You attend a monthly meeting to discuss where the organization is financially. Someone begins presenting, and you suddenly realize that your data contradicts the data being shown on their PowerPoint slides. You start to sweat a little and ask yourself, “Why does my data show a different trend on net income? Why does their data show that length of stay (LOS) is going down when mine shows the opposite?”

When people throughout the organization are accessing information in many different ways and from many sources, this sort of variability is common. The problem is: What data can you trust?

A hospital data warehouse establishes a single source of truth and enables healthcare analytics. When data definitions and tools are consistent—as in a hospital EDW—everyone can rely on the accuracy of the information used to drive critical decisions. The hospital EDW also serves as a foundation for helping you develop and maintain a data governance program. Your data owners and experts can identify data issues within the organization, resolve them, determine who needs to use the data and define the best access path for using the data.

The Bad News and The Good News of a Hospital Data Warehouse

First, the bad news. Establishing a hospital EDW won’t take away end-of-month deadlines. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find a product that can manage that!

But the good news is that a hospital EDW makes management reporting and healthcare analytics so much easier and effective. It delivers consistent data that everyone in the organization can use and trust. And instead of scrambling to gather data, you can focus on interpreting data and developing data-driven improvement plans.

What have your experiences been with compiling clinical and financial data for management reports? What approaches do you recommend?