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Data, BI Key to Cutting Healthcare Costs

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, November 29, 2011

Healthcare leaders say they're struggling to cut costs and waste in the emergency and surgery departments. But some say the real savings are to be found through technology and the use of business intelligence.

In a recent intelligence report from HealthLeaders Media, Cost Containment Under Healthcare Rules, healthcare leaders said eliminating excess cost and waste is a top priority, but added that progress is difficult to achieve, especially within the ED and surgical services, where 65% and 48%, respectively, said it is very or moderately difficult.

They also said information technology is part of the solution.

"Operating room information management technology is one of few areas in the hospital that stands to benefit substantially from a financial standpoint with a solid return on investment in IT," said one survey respondent, the chief of staff for a small hospital. "Unlike other areas of the hospital, the operating room is most akin to a factory production line, and has the most to gain from IT implementation."

But they survey results suggest respondents lack the tools they need to reap those benefits. We asked leaders to describe how their organizations currently use information technology to guide cost efficiency programs.

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3 comments on "Data, BI Key to Cutting Healthcare Costs"


Marco de Vries (12/13/2011 at 9:56 PM)
Healthcare has come a long way to automate and better manage basic medical-surgical consumables... but implantables remains a key barrier because of the manual, ad-hoc nature of how these products are bought, tracked, usage captured, billed for, etc. The challenges span the spectrum of people, process and technology.... But technology can play a critical role. Fundamentally, more data needs to be captured, integrated and managed in the clinical/OR setting than is widely available today. Then it must be linked back to supply chain systems and processes. Once data is captured and integrated, hospitals and manufacturers alike can expect meaningful business intelligence solutions. Developing a commonly acceptable foundation for industry is a challenge[INVALID]how to avoid supporting different technologies and processes for each manufacturer, or for each product type. Peer benchmarking is key... which cannot be attained if every hospital does things differently. Industry ought to look to lessons learned and apply technologies from existing integration and collaboration platforms as a starting point.

brucco (12/5/2011 at 4:12 PM)
Charge based data is a good reference point (think, reverse charge to cost ratios) for locating incremental costs at the granular level within a hospital stay. It's also a good way to track variances from care pathway routines. But productive use of BI requires a system user with a knowledge of both clinical and financial functions to make BI artful and show correlations not otherwise considered.

Jack Duffy (11/29/2011 at 5:22 PM)
With the rapidly expanding interest in "spend Management" low cost SaaS technology will become a persistent new tool. BI has the potential to eliminate legacy system silos and support full cycle analytical support for the C suite. When coupled with revenue management tools, real time ROI analysis is now possible