REVIEWER: Erik-Jan Vlieger, senior consultant for Plexus Medical Group.

BACKGROUND: Plexus Medical Group has created a business intelligence (BI) solution called Pi that delivers precise information when and where it is needed, helping to keep hospitals and medical providers accountable. Pi delivers information about costs, reimbursement rates, physician profiling, treatment success rates and many other key performance indicators (KPIs). Created with Information BuildersÂ’ WebFOCUS software, it enables providers to analyze the quality and efficiency of their primary processes on the basis of the results they achieve with their patients.

PLATFORMS: Pi runs on two dual-processor HP servers. WebFOCUS accesses data from a Microsoft SQL Server. The solution is platform independent and is continually accessible as long as there is an Internet connection in the participating hospital. Hospital administrators and medical practitioners access the BI dashboard via a standard Web browser. The server can deliver content in HTML, DHTML, XML, Excel and PDF for Web browsers and wireless devices.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Hospitals in the Netherlands are required to provide detailed information to a national regulatory organization. This registration data is used to calculate health care costs and regulate the prices that hospitals can charge. The registration system benchmarks the primary processes that doctors at various facilities use and aggregates the results. We identified this new registration system as a way of improving the quality and efficiency of health care providers. We receive data from hospitals, which is used anonymously in conjunction with our BI tools to help medical facilities compare the quality of their services to industry standards. They can then use that information to help them improve the quality and value of their services.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: WebFOCUS presents performance information through role-based balanced scorecards, including stats about the delivered quality of care, experienced quality of care, financial results and market position. This gives hospital administrators and physicians a level of visibility into their facilities and processes that was formerly difficult to achieve. WebFOCUS also delivers detailed analysis of financial results and market position, making it a valuable managerial tool for hospital administrators and directors. WebFOCUS automatically generates performance indicators for health inspectors and insurance suppliers, saving time and resources.

STRENGTHS: WebFOCUS enables us to present health care data in a clear and comprehensible fashion. Our BI system provides more information than most hospitals obtain from their data warehouses and management information systems put together - for a fraction of the cost. Hospitals throughout the Netherlands use Pi to evaluate the performance of their departments and improve the quality of their health care services. The solution also provides administrative information to help them cut costs and manage resources more effectively. For example, the BI dashboard might reveal that one department in a hospital has a consistently superior treatment success rate. Further examination of the data may disclose that the leading department always staffs a higher nurse-to-patient ratio than other departments. Administrators can then adjust staff schedules to improve other divisions of the facility.

WEAKNESSES: This project was more complicated than we initially anticipated. The queries that turn registration data into useful information are very complex. We needed to learn the language of the programmers, and they needed to learn the language of our business.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We considered several leading BI tools for the job. WebFOCUS delivered the results we had hoped for. It was the right choice for us.

DELIVERABLES: The WebFOCUS-based solution enables medical professionals to analyze data about diagnoses and treatments to gain visibility into clinical and financial performance. Over time, this gives them valuable insight into illness trends and the quality of care they deliver in response to these illnesses. It also tells them where improvements can be made and reveals the types of services competing providers offer.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Information Builders Consulting helped us realize our vision and create a workable system. We hired IT specialists at Information Builders to assist with BI, reporting and analytics.

DOCUMENTATION: WebFOCUS includes a complete set of documentation, online help tools and a very responsive user forum called Focal Point.

Information Builders Inc.
Two Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10121
(212) 736-4433

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