St. Luke’s University Health Network has completed a major data management project that hopes will achieve the quadruple aim of enhancing the patient experience, improving population health, reducing costs, and improving the work life of healthcare providers.

Working with Information Builders, St. Luke’s implemented a network-wide healthcare enterprise data warehouse (EDW) that consolidates the data from its seven hospitals and more than 270 outpatient sites in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It encompasses inpatient and ambulatory clinical data, as well as administrative, financial, human resources, patient, physician, and facility information.

St. Luke's University Health Network.
St. Luke's University Health Network.

According to Amanda Mazza, director of analytics and business intelligence for St. Luke’s, the project was an 18-month effort that came in “on time, under budget, and with expanded scope.”

For Information Builders, the project was so successful that the company will use the St. Luke’s experience as it’s Best Practices model for EDW efforts going forward.

A mission of health education

Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network is a non-profit, regional, fully integrated and nationally recognized network. The network’s service area includes Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery, Berks, and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania, and in Warren County in New Jersey.

Dedicated to advancing health education, St. Luke’s operates the nation’s oldest School of Nursing and 22 graduate medical educational programs and is considered a major teaching hospital, the only one in the region. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first medical school.

Amanda Mazza, director of analytics and business intelligence at St. Luke's.
Amanda Mazza, director of analytics and business intelligence at St. Luke's.

Information Builders and St. Luke's debuted the new Omni-HealthData Insights BI toolset last month at HIMSS 2017. This suite of BI products were codeveloped by IBI and SLUHN to address four high priority subjects: physician practice management, quality and patient safety, hospital patient experience, and hospital performance. More subjects will be addressed later in 2017, says Mazza.

The road to value-based care

Started in 2014, the goal of the project was to aid St. Luke’s in its efforts to be a true value-based care driven organization, and to better leverage the vast amounts of data the provider collects. That data was seen as key to making decisions that would improve patient care and reduce costs.

The first step in the process was to form a steering committee to interview nearly 40 provider administrators on what was needed for an overall data strategy.

The consensus was that St. Luke’s needed a platform with strong business intelligence tools. The steering committee mapped out the business requirements for the project, matched business intelligence capabilities against those, and developed a just-in-time schedule to meet project goals. Ensuring data goverance was an important part of the planning process.

A number of vendors were interviewed, and Information Builders was selected for the scope of its business model and its scalability.

The new EDW integrates what had been 26 data sources, Mazza says. Nearly 1,000 business users tap those data sources to make decisions around patient care, billing, and healthcare network operations.

Omni-HealthData provides a number of state-of-the-art processes for data quality, data mastering, and data integration.

“The EDW, and a large suite of analytical applications, were brought on-line in record time,” noted Mary Jane McKeever, vice president of finance at St. Luke’s. “The EDW contains our most important data assets and provides us with a patient-centered view of our population, with the ability to measure clinical and business performance with great precision, while also enabling targeted patient outreach.”

The result has been that St. Luke’s staff and physicians can make “new and better” decisions regarding patient care and business operations, Mazza says.

Most importantly, healthcare providers are able to better tap data on patient experiences and satisfaction, and to take actions to improve on those scores. That includes data on every individual that a patient has contact with; how much time they spend with each; what procedures are done or tests ordered; and what the results are of those.

Analytics and data governance are still fairly new for many employees but they are vital for improving the patient experience, Mazza says. St. Luke’s will invest in advanced analytics tools later in 2017 to hopefully see even greater gains.

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