CATEGORY: Data Mining & Visualization

REVIEWER: Craig Johnson, CIO for Neighborhood Health Plan.

BACKGROUND: An affiliate of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Massachusetts-based Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP) is a not-for-profit health maintenance organization (HMO) serving 129,000 members through more than 1,600 doctors at 251 primary care sites, 7,500 specialists and 60 hospitals. NHP, in partnership with the state, community health centers and other community-responsive providers, develops and operates cooperative managed care systems which are member-focused, quality- driven, community-based, culturally responsive and financially viable in contemporary and future healthcare environments.

PLATFORMS: Dimensional Insight DI-Atlantis runs on a Windows NT server while end users access reports from DI-Diver on Windows 95 and 98 clients.

PROBLEM SOLVED: With DI-Diver, we are better able to visualize our data. For example, we were able to look at claims data and referral data, but there was no way for us to integrate that data. In the past, someone in the finance department would pull data from the managed care system on a monthly basis. The rest of the organization was not using this database. As a result, the data didn't coincide with the rest of the reporting from our data warehouse. Putting it all into DI-Diver gave us one standardized set, enabling our end users and analysts to access and see the same data in one toolset. DI-Diver allows us to produce reports that are reliable and consistent. We are able to evaluate trends over time. Employees were coming up with different numbers all the time, causing reports to be scrutinized. Now, the data is tested in the data warehouse, validated and pushed out to the reporting environment. With DI- Diver, the validation and presentation vehicles are in place. DI-Diver allowed us to integrate and visualize these data sets and, for the first time, have quick access to important information.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: DI- Diver offers NHP the ability to start with a summary and then drill down into the data. This is an extremely valuable resource that we did not have prior to implementing DI-Diver. Looking ahead, we have considered several options for Web deployment of reports and are evaluating DI-WebDiver. NHP is planning to use DI-WebDiver to support a broader set of users, including primary care providers, physician groups and community health centers.

STRENGTHS: All our data is now centralized, and our end users are able to see everything with DI-Diver. We are able to trust the numbers in the reports, and we can dive into detailed levels to answer our own questions. In the managed care business, having our data centralized gives us the opportunity to visualize where we need to target. If clinical medical expenses are up for a particular fund or admission type, we can easily dive down to see if that's the result of a particular member or if it's caused by 10 members. When I had a paper report and saw that my inpatient medical expenses were up by 30 percent, I had to request another report from the IT department. With DI-Diver, I just dive to find out if it's costing me more because my patients are sicker or if the price per unit is going up. With DI- Diver, we are able to standardize basic measures and data definitions, allowing us to provide the end user with a reporting system that presents a consistent picture across all reports.

WEAKNESSES: NHP has to do some maneuvering to get the data from the transactional systems to our data warehouse where we copy data into text files and move it into DI-Diver. As a result, additional overhead is incurred.

SELECTION CRITERIA: NHP's criterion for selection was three tiered. Ease and cost of implementation were key, but we also wanted to ensure that the application was simple to use. DI-Diver gained a major advantage by meeting all standards.

DELIVERABLES: The fact that we no longer have to write reports to present the data is invaluable. With DI-Diver our users can view the data, extract trends from the reports and, if they want, go back to DI- Diver to examine the details. We are able to create one report that pulls from multiple DI-Diver models where the information is viewed with ease.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Dimensional Insight provided good technical support and domain expertise. We found DI's on-site consultants to be very knowledgeable with regard to our specific needs in the managed care business.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation meets our needs.

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