Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
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Is there a limit to the number of users on your system?
Response: Health Catalyst does not limit access by number of users. Our most common visualization partner is QlikView, and they do license by user. Our technical team will work with the client to procure the appropriate number of licenses and to ensure that the licensing restrictions are not prohibitive. Please see the Cost section for licensing details.
From a performance standpoint, Health Catalyst has been able to scale in augmenting hardware to infrastructure as well as through methods like data compression and other performance-tuning aids. Health Catalyst’s largest user base is a large Midwestern customer. This customer has widely deployed the Health Catalyst data warehouse. The total number of users who receive data that originate from this customer’s enterprise data warehouse implementation is over 2,000. This number includes roughly 1,500–2,000 users of enterprise reports, 1,000–1,500 interactive dashboard/scorecard users, and a population of roughly 200 active users that write thousands of ad hoc queries a month to empower data-driven decision making.
What are the licensing restrictions on your software?
Response: Under the perpetual license model, Health Catalyst grants “a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use Licensed Software, Licensed Resources, Documentation, Deliverables, and Methodology, but only for Client’s internal use for itself (the ‘License’). The License includes a license to make copies as needed for such use and for reasonable archive or backup purposes. Client may not use, and is not licensed to use, any Licensed Software, Licensed Resources, Documentation, Deliverables, or Methodology for any other purpose or in any manner or application that is in violation of any law, regulation, ordinance, or government authority, or in violation or breach of any obligation Client may have to a third party. The License may only be exercised within the United States of America.”
What disaster recovery services are provided?
Response: Health Catalyst Source Marts are mildly transformed copies of data contained in the client’s source systems. The client’s source systems are the systems of record for data in the EDW. Therefore, the Health Catalyst EDW can be fully re-created from data in the source systems. Health Catalyst recommends backing up the metadata system, administration tables, and data created by Health Catalyst’s Instant Data Entry Application (IDEA) application. For faster EDW recovery, clients may optionally back up the Source Marts and Subject Area Marts and then restore them from backup copies in the event of a catastrophic failure. Once restored from backups, the Source Marts can be brought up to date by running the nightly ETL processes. In the vast majority of cases, the Catalyst EDW is not a critical system required for immediate patient care, so system availability and disaster recovery requirements are usually much less demanding than direct patient care (bedside) systems like the EMR.
Do you provide consulting services?
Response: Statements of Work (SOWs) will be customized to your need and will be bid in a fixed-cost manner. As your team needs our specific implementation or care process improvement assistance, we will build an appropriate SOW to help with each specific project. Again, at all times we will be teaching and training your team to become fully self-sufficient so that it will become possible for you to expand your EDW/analytics platform without always requiring a professional services SOW from Catalyst. As long as you need or want our assistance, we will be available to support your efforts via professional services SOWs. However, we have a strong desire to teach our clients how to use our tools, create new applications, and manage their own data-driven care process improvement teams.
How often are upgrades released?
Response: Core platform updates are delivered every six months and contain significant feature upgrades and improvements along with bug fixes. Service releases are delivered quarterly and address key bug fixes identified by customers. Hot fixes are critical fix events and are issued as soon as that type of issue is identified. Content updates happen whenever Source Mart and Subject Area Mart content updates are needed. With Source Mart content, updates occur when a new version of the source system is released or when a new portion of the source system is added to the supported Source Mart content. For Subject Area Mart content, updates occur when medical definitions or evidence change (CMS definitions, ICD-10 transition, new medical evidence) or when Catalyst clinicians, data architects, or client clinicians define new intellectual property to share with licensed clients. Catalyst will provide a Service Level Agreement for details regarding escalation, RTOs (response time objectives), and SLAs based on client needs. The details of the escalation procedures are finalized and documented in the client’s statement of work.
What skill level is needed to customize reports?
Response: Depending on the visualization tool set selected by the client for use with the Catalyst EDW Platform, end users may be able to develop new visualizations and reports. The end user’s skill level is variable based on the tool and the complexity of the visualization. Health Catalyst is happy to work closely with our clients to select the visualization tool that best meets their needs. The architecture is designed to support multiple visualization tools on the market today.
What type of BI tools do you support?
Response: We follow the principles of loosely coupled, Late-Binding™ software engineering. Therefore, our data structures are designed specifically to be abstracted from any co-dependence on a particular BI tool. We support virtually any graphical BI tool on the market today. We design with this approach to give our clients maximum flexibility to change their preferences for BI tools. The BI tool market is rapidly changing and improving. The leader in the market today will not be the leader in the market next year.
What is your approach to big data?
Response: Our solution is a combination of relational and non-relational platforms. We believe this strategy is the best approach to analytics in healthcare, given the volume, structure, and type of data that currently exists in the healthcare data ecosystem. From a product perspective, we use Microsoft SQL Server 2012, PolyBase, HDInsight, and Microsoft’s Parallel Data Warehouse. Microsoft SQL Server alone, without the Big Data extensions, scales easily to the petabyte level. We utilize PolyBase to serve as the Big Data/RDBMS translation interface engine.
Do you provide distance learning capabilities?
Response: Recognizing the shortage of analytics professionals within healthcare and the usefulness of having access to those professionals and their expertise, Health Catalyst has created Health Catalyst University. We have developed more than 42 subject areas that are offered to our user community and company employees. We would welcome an opportunity to discuss methods for advancing our mutual interests in elevating information technology and data analytics among the healthcare workforce.
What data import and export capabilities do you have?
Response: Data can be imported into the EDW using traditional methods from flat-files (such as Excel) or other databases using import wizards, which are typically part of the relational database system. The Catalyst EDW includes a flat-file ETL interface for importing formatted files on a daily or on-demand basis. Data can also be exported to Excel files or other databases via secure, standard ODBC-style database drivers and connection strings.