BACKGROUND: Hannibal Regional Hospital is a 105-bed healthcare facility in Hannibal, Missouri, with a home health agency and seven primary care clinics serving patients in northeast Missouri and west central Illinois. Known as one of the area's top 10 employers, Hannibal Regional Hospital has nearly 800 employees, approximately 100 medical staff members and an active volunteer corps of nearly 300. The healthcare provider is in the process of building the Hannibal Children's Center to provide on-site childcare for employees, medical staff and the community.

PLATFORMS: DSS WorkBench, provided by Customer Potential Management (CPM) Corporation, operates on PCs with 486 Pentium running Windows 95 or above and requires 16MB of RAM, 20MB hard drive space and 100MB available on the file server. DSS WorkBench attaches to any Microsoft Access or Oracle database.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Hannibal Regional Hospital began using this product not to solve a problem, but rather to seize an opportunity to perform retrospective marketing analysis. Using combined hospital and hospital industry data institute (HIDI) market data compiled in our CRM database, DSS WorkBench has allowed us to better understand the needs of residents of the region. We can better evaluate how well we are meeting these needs and respond accordingly.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: During the hospital's recent accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), we used DSS WorkBench to demonstrate the improvement in our orthopedic service line. We were able to chart, map and graph procedure and technique utilization prior to and after the system and process improvements. We believe that this visual depiction of the improvement in our services and the easy availability of statistics had a favorable impact on our ability to communicate with our surveyors.

STRENGTHS: The geodemographic mapping capability is very useful in seeing the areas from which we draw our patients. The comparative charting, graphing and table capabilities also convert our data into usable information. We anticipate using the product to track visits at our clinics. The ability to customize filters to view our data is beneficial because we can look at the data as a whole or drill down to more specifics such as ZIP code and gender-restricted information.

WEAKNESSES: The learning curve to use DSS WorkBench is fairly steep, although CPM provides excellent training and support to learn the software. While the product has good export capabilities to Microsoft programs, it is not a good interface with Corel Suite which Hannibal uses. Although many organizations use Microsoft, it would be helpful to have a wider range of compatibility between DSS WorkBench and other office software.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose CPM on the basis of its extensive experience in customer relationship management (CRM) programs for both the financial and healthcare industries. It was also very important that the company could provide a total, integrated package of solutions from technology to marketing, Web expertise, creative strategy and direct mail.

DELIVERABLES: DSS WorkBench is a very flexible tool that enables users to design their own queries to manipulate and view the data in the most beneficial and usable format for
each problem or situation. While there are approximately 40 standard reports, Hannibal designs its own customized analyses. CPM also provides information on the dynamic patient privacy issues and is at the forefront of addressing the implications of patient privacy in HIPAA regulations for healthcare marketers.

VENDOR SUPPORT: CPM provides extensive initial training and monthly follow-up in its technology center in Madison, Wisconsin, and at our location. The one-to-one instruction is very personal and beneficial. An additional asset is the fact that training is provided by the software developer.

DOCUMENTATION: The training manuals provide excellent real-world examples to manipulate for great hands-on learning and support.

reviewed byJo Ann Diffenderfer, research and support specialist at Hannibal Regional Hospital.manufacturerCPM Corporation

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