BACKGROUND: The Population Health and Prevention Division for the City and County of San Francisco Department of Public Health coordinates and supports 300 community-based mental health programs and 150 community-based substance abuse programs.

PLATFORMS: UNIX VMS, Windows 95 and NT Servers.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The Population Health and Prevention Division maintains three separate systems for substance abuse, mental health and managed care. The systems contained islands of healthcare services data. The systems did not meet the department's needs when it came to managing the care provided across multiple systems, providing information to the managers responsible for the various community programs or verifying what services were delivered and billed. When the community managers needed information to evaluate their programs, they requested ad hoc reports. Reams of data were provided to managers who didn't always understand how to read or use the reports. Data residing in separate systems was typically provided in separate reports.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Behavioral Health Care Analyzer from Visionyze.com is an analytical application providing access to aggregated data across multiple systems and meets the important confidentiality requirements for the healthcare industry. Visionyze.com allows complex operational analysis to be viewed in interactive, easy-to-read charts and graphs in a format called a briefing board. Clicking on a specific chart or graph in the briefing board allows the user to drill-down for further levels of detail. The drill-down reporting feature allows the managers to create ad hoc reports and "what-if" scenarios for forecasting. The Population Health and Prevention Division uses the Behavioral Health Care Analyzer to provide information to the community program managers. The Behavioral Health Care Analyzer allows the community program managers to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs. They are able to use the tool to gain a broader perspective on individual and total program participation, including the number of participants enrolled in community programs and the number of people who are waiting for services. They are able to better identify where to apply resources and funds to enhance their existing programs or build new programs. They are able to evaluate the population served by the community programs for any selected period of time and the ethnicity of the program participants.

STRENGTHS: Visionyze.com has a unique ability to combine data from multiple sources (legacy mainframes, RDBMSs, operational support systems, Excel spreadsheets, etc.). The data from Population Health and Prevention Division systems are fed to Behavioral Health Care Analyzer for analysis. Its flexibility is in distributing results in an easy-to-read briefing board format. Population summaries and participant requirements are displayed in charts, tables and graphs. Individual users have the ability to create their own customized briefing boards and perform ad hoc queries and what if scenarios.

WEAKNESSES: Legacy files were loaded weekly. Some programs didn't understand the distinction between data warehouse and real time data.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Population Health and Prevention Division selected Visionyze.com Behavioral Health Care Analyzer for its rapid deployability, end-user ease of use, experience in the healthcare industry and strong consulting services provided in the installation process.

DELIVERABLES: The Behavioral Health Care Analyzer provides a customized graphical user interface to community program managers. Point-and-click access into three critical systems ­ substance abuse, mental health and managed care ­ allows easy access to the data required to evaluate commu-nity program effectiveness, understand population requirements to meet community needs and make decisions on where to apply resources.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Visionyze.com and the Population Health and Prevention Division worked together to create a customized training package for the department. Visionyze.com product support call center staff is knowledgeable and provides personalized service to our end users (no phone menu answer system). Help-desk users get their queries answered quickly. Regular product upgrades and patches are available through the support center and the Visionyze. com Web site.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation included a technical guided tour, a tutorial to introduce new users to the product and a programmer's guide for developing analytical rules for new briefing boards.

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