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Firstlogic Helps Improve Data Health at Iowa Health – Des Moines

  • July 01 2004, 1:00am EDT
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REVIEWER: Michael Carlson, manager of strategic information for Iowa Health - Des Moines.

BACKGROUND: Created in 1993, Iowa Health System (IHS) is the state's first and largest integrated healthcare system. IHS is a community-based organization of physicians, hospitals, civic leaders and local volunteers who are open to new approaches and who share a vision of affordable, accessible healthcare. IHS operates facilities in seven large Iowa communities, supports a system of rural hospitals in 14 Iowa communities and partners with physicians and clinics in more than 80 communities in Iowa, western Illinois and eastern Nebraska. Iowa Health - Des Moines, part of Iowa Health System, is made up of three hospitals: Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Blank Children's Hospital and Iowa Lutheran Hospital.

PLATFORMS: Iowa Health - Des Moines' computing environment consists of Windows-based desktop system and multiprocessor Windows-based servers, all connected via a Novell network. There are 5,000 users on the network. A 7GB Microsoft SQL Server database contains clinical data (hospital inpatient, outpatient and clinics, and physician clinics), the company's "My Nurse" call center, patient satisfaction data, Web data as well as PR/marketing data. In addition, Iowa Health - Des Moines purchases third-party data to enrich the SQL Server database and receives third-party vendor data as well.

PROBLEM SOLVED: With the number of disparate source systems that feed our SQL Server database, Iowa Health - Des Moines was having difficulty gaining a consistent view of our data. Previously, we used a third party to perform most of our data cleansing and business intelligence functions and wanted to bring these functions in house. In addition, we wanted to better understand the data contained in our SQL Server database. Specifically, we wanted the ability to perform more focused business intelligence activities with the goal of identifying "downstream" revenue opportunities.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Iowa Health - Des Moines is using Firstlogic's Information Quality Suite to perform data cleansing, standardization, matching and consolidation of its data before it is loaded into our SQL Server database.

STRENGTHS: Firstlogic Information Quality Suite is providing Iowa Health - Des Moines superior data matching and consolidation capabilities, regardless of the type of data within our enterprise and what source system it comes from. IQ Suite's sophisticated matching software enables us to identify multiple occurrences of a patient, supplier, product code, etc., which is crucial in a multisource system environment such as ours. Once we have established what we consider a match, we are able to quickly consolidate information to create households, build/maintain relationships, and track marketing and referral programs over time.

WEAKNESSES: The match and consolidate features of IQ Suite are so powerful that it can take some time to sift through the results. Firstlogic has recently announced a Match/Consolidate Wizard that greatly eases this task by walking the user through the consolidation process step-by-step.

SELECTION CRITERIA: When we decided to bring our data cleansing and BI functions in house, we conducted an extensive due diligence. Firstlogic was selected for its ease of use as well as its powerful data match and consolidate capabilities, which provide us full control over establishing our match criteria.

DELIVERABLES: Firstlogic has enabled Iowa Health - Des Moines to bring our data cleansing and business intelligence functions in house, saving us significant time and money. Iowa Health - Des Moines is using Firstlogic's Information Quality Suite to cleanse, standardize, match and consolidate data before it is loaded into a SQL Server database. IQ Suite is helping us match and consolidate internal account records as well as external purchased customer market/segment records into a single, streamlined view; and use householding techniques to identify members of the same household; or, on the corporate level, identify employees of a single company or department. Additionally, it enables users to selectively choose data on a field-by-field basis to build a "best" consolidated record. We now have one source of information that we can access to produce reports for mid- and upper-management that is consistent and, more importantly, accurate, which is enabling us to produce better reports for senior management.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Our experiences with Firstlogic have been extremely positive. Their Web site and customer portal are easy to use and very efficient.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is clear, precise and useful.

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