Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
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How do you support ad hoc data imports?
Response: To allow for the combination of ad hoc data with warehoused data, we provide Instant Data Entry Application (IDEA) as part of our Core Catalyst platform. IDEA is a very simple and intuitive tool for designing web-based data collection forms. This tool is used to supplement data collection when data required for improvement initiatives or research are not collected by existing source systems.
IDEA allows users to create simple forms and publish those forms to a set of users to collect valuable data without needing to purchase another product or request a custom application from the IT department. IDEA applications can be used as a temporary, stopgap measure to collect data while a permanent solution is being implemented. IDEA can also be leveraged to create data collection forms for research needs. Forms can be created and deployed in minutes, so research or improvement projects can be initiated independent of your busy IT staff.
IDEA data is collected and stored in the EDW. It is then made available for use in Subject Area Marts or other applications. IDEA is intended to fill gaps in the current data collection process but in some cases has become a long-term solution as necessary. In many cases, efforts should be made to correct the data gap in the source system at the proper point in the provider workflow rather than relying on IDEA applications for the long term.
IDEA allows for bulk data import through CSV files in addition to web-based entry. As a part of the EDW, IDEA forms can include fields where the user selects from a list of data that is pulled from other EDW sources (like Patient ID) to allow for correlation of IDEA entered data with the rest of the data in the EDW.
How do your tools expedite implementation and speed to use?
Response: Health Catalyst helps clinicians and technicians in about 100 hospitals across the nation improve care and cut costs. One of the main ways we are able to discover areas of improvement, specifically as it relates to hospital costs, is the Key Process Analysis (KPA) application. The (KPA) application (also known as the Pareto Tool) uses the “80/20 rule” to identify cost-driving clinical areas in your data and analyze variation in your clinical processes. That analysis allows you to identify the biggest opportunities for cost reduction. KPA combines clinical and financial data to highlight the best opportunities for improvement and guide the development of applications to support improvement initiatives.
How do you support PQRS measures?
Response: Regulatory Explorer provides a framework for incorporating definitions of various regulatory metrics as well as a dashboard for viewing compliance with the metrics and exception reporting. This framework can support the measurement of current and historic results of regulatory and externally defined metrics such as CMS, PQRS, and other Professional Societies. This application allows drill-down into non-compliant cases.
Regulatory Explorer helps chart abstraction staff achieve higher levels of efficiency, accelerating external reporting processes and improving job satisfaction by automating as much repetitive data collection as possible. Regulatory Explorer allows busy clinical abstractors to focus on exceptions in patient care.
How do you address CAHPS and CGCAHPS?
Response: Patient Satisfaction Explorer allows users to drill into patient satisfaction scores as well as stratify scores by location to understand major drivers behind patient satisfaction trends. This Foundational Application helps deliver standardized, organization-wide reports and analytics using HCAHPS and/or CGCAHPS data within the Health Catalyst platform. Implemented broadly within your organization, Patient Satisfaction Explorer can help quickly identify patient friendly processes and give valuable insight into potential opportunities for improvement.
How do you address patient volume trending?
Response: Population Explorer provides an easy-to use interface that lets users explore a wide variety of metrics across 1,000 registries and a starter set of 50 common metrics. Users can view metrics about individual patient populations, including case counts, readmission rates, charges, revenue, and length of stay, among many other metrics. Each of these metrics can be stratified by demographic information and other clinical and financial information. The tool makes it very easy to switch between different populations as well as providing comparative views between multiple populations.
How do you address real-time patient counts by acute care department?
Response: The Executive Dashboard Integration Tool (EDIT) delivers an executive dashboard that can be tailored for each individual executive to display the key operational, financial, quality, and patient satisfaction metrics that they are most interested in and that are actively being worked on by their organizations.
What types of revenue breakouts can you handle?
Response: Financial Health Explorer enables exploration of financial data, allowing users to view financial metrics stratified by specialties, clinical areas, and payer mix. This application can be configured to present a unified view of key financial performance indicators from across your organization, including cost, revenue, charges, supplies, budget, volumes, etc. Financial Health Explorer can be one of the first applications to be installed with the Health Catalyst platform, allowing baseline measurements of financial indicators to be captured and compared against future performance using the same application.
In addition, Revenue Cycle Explorer allows users to understand basic clinical and business drivers behind revenue cycle management from scheduling to collections. This application presents an integrated view of revenue cycle data from key financial systems within your company, allowing your financial analysts to spend more time analyzing and less time pulling and combining data. Revenue Cycle Explorer provides insight in standard financial performance indicators, including days in accounts receivable (A/R), percentage of A/R greater than 120 days, net collection rate, and denial rate.
How do you handle ad hoc query reports without IT support?
Response: Health Catalyst’s reporting philosophy is that those needing data should not have to rely on data analysts but should be able to obtain the information they need through self-service applications. To that end, Catalyst’s suite of applications provides interactive solutions for clinicians, operational leaders, and staff across your entire organization.
A key characteristic of the Catalyst data warehouse platform is a consistent naming convention (from source mart to Discovery and Advanced Applications). This standard, along with Atlas, reduces the learning curve associated with using the new data warehouse.
How do you manage fast queries and data calculations?
Response: Health Catalyst’s solution is not OLAP based. The base of our solution is the EDW—a data warehouse. OLAP and data warehouses complement each other. A data warehouse stores and manages data, whereas OLAPs convert data into a strategic format. Many of our analytical applications and offerings, such as KPA, Cohort Finder, and Population Explorer, leverage tools such as QlikView, which provides this OLAP-like slice-and-dice capability.
The speed and efficiency of calculations are still maintained through the power of the database on which the EDW resides and the in-memory features and functionality of visualization tools such as QlikView, which allows the end user to quickly and efficiently analyze data
How do you set targets, track progress, and benchmark performance?
Response: All facilities that feed data into the Health Catalyst platform have the ability to compare data through our reporting tools. The Key Process Analysis and our population-based modules (discussed in question #2 above) allow for stratification by facility, which allows for benchmarking. Currently, comparison capabilities exist for data in a single instance of the Health Catalyst data warehouse product. We have architected a cloud-based solution, which will allow Health Catalyst’s customers to selectively contribute to and utilize a benchmarking database. We expect to begin our first implementation of that solution in the second half of 2013.
Our advanced modules (discussed in question #2 above) allow for setting and tracking progress on objectives and targets. Since the data warehouse includes clinical, costing, and patient satisfaction in one location, it enables teams to define goals and then measure both the quality improvements and cost savings associated with the achievement of those goals.
The following dashboard shows an example of how our advanced modules allow for setting a target length of stay for appendectomy patients. Costing data are used to determine the financial impact of reducing the length of stay to the specified target. This is one of many examples across a wide variety of clinical areas.
How do you compare physician performance?
Response: For physician comparisons across clinical protocols and other metrics, Health Catalyst has developed several clinical registries, or modules. The modules are based on an architecture that is designed to allow for registry population identification using both administrative and clinical criteria. Those criteria are then combined to form complex cohort definitions that are often required to develop clinically accurate cohorts or to account for the complex inclusion/exclusion criteria that are often required of regulatory or standards-based measures.
The architecture also allows for the definition of various metrics. These metrics are based on clinical protocols, evidence-based guidelines, and regulatory guidelines and can be combined with populations defined in the architecture.
Each module captures data at a granular level and allows stratification on many criteria, including by physician, which allows for easy comparison of physician performance.
How do you address provider attribution challenges?
Response: Provider attribution is determined in multiple ways to meet clinical and operational needs. For billing purposes, we mimic attribution as determined by the local HIM department. For clinical purposes, we rely on clinical notes (e.g., H&P, discharge summary, etc.) to assign patients to providers. Using this methodology, a patient can be assigned to more than one provider for a given patient stay. Additionally, the attribution may be applied across different types of caregivers. Nurses, physicians, and even behavioral health specialists can all share in the patient attribution. The clinical model of attribution is particularly attractive to hospital systems where collaborative teams provide care, as it highlights care coordination.
One of the virtues of the Catalyst infrastructure is that it can simultaneously hold varied attribution models. A given patient can be represented across different models. By representing multiple attribution models, Health Catalyst helps the client analyze their patient population in novel ways. This has proven quite valuable to our clients, as they are using the model to generate greater buy-in with physician groups that are frustrated with limited or inadequate attribution models.