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Healthcare vertical market: How partners can help clients master BI

Healthcare providers are awash in data in light of electronic health records. Partners, however, can help clients leverage their information with BI tools.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then -- in today's healthcare vertical -- pictures may be worth thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

Healthcare organizations never have felt more operational pressures. As mergers consolidate groups to increase efficiencies and reduce costs, insurers prod care providers to treat more and more patients faster and faster -- without sacrificing quality of care. In fact, healthcare executives not only have to manage their businesses to make patient experiences better and less expensive, they have to prove it. In an era of mandated digitized recordkeeping, regulators now require that payments such as Medicare be tied directly to patient outcomes.

Seeing the way forward clearly in this rapidly shifting landscape is no easy task for healthcare leaders. But fortunately, the very data that seemingly clutters their horizon can be the lens that clarifies their path to success. Here's how channel partners in the healthcare vertical market can help their customers leverage data.

1. Help them understand the EHR-BI connection

Tom Nolan

The implementation of electronic health records (EHR) has enabled healthcare providers to collect massive volumes of data about their patients, their care experiences and their health outcomes. And business intelligence (BI) techniques, long-practiced in the corporate world, can transform this data from a muddled image of chaos to a crisp picture of insight.

2. Work with customers to exploit visual dashboards

Easy-to-use BI tools are available that pair analytics with intuitive visual dashboards. The combination pinpoints useful bits of data and organizes them into compelling, creative visual representations such as infographics, charts and heat maps. Rows of statistics in spreadsheets become geometric shapes, images and colors that highlight negative and positive patterns and trends.

For example, heat maps can put demographics and regional patterns in perspective. Healthcare managers can assign different colors to individual care centers in bar charts that show how many patients come from particular regions, towns or neighborhoods.

3. Explore ideas for infographics and data visualizations

Easy-to-use BI tools are available that pair analytics with intuitive visual dashboards.
Tom Nolanaccount executive, NxtTeam

Now, imagine the colors of each bar can be shaded according to patient satisfaction scores -- brighter hues for high satisfaction, darker for low grades. Then, add to the data mix the ratio of doctors to patients at each care facility, and a clear picture of an operational problem may just emerge. If certain locations with low doctor-to-patient ratios have very dark bars in the chart, then perhaps there just aren't enough care providers at that office to satisfy patient needs.

This type of healthcare infographic can generate ideas for other data visualizations. For example, how could we paint payment data into the picture? At centers with dark bars, is the organization failing to qualify for Medicare payments? Are a lot of older patients visiting that facility? Would transferring a geriatric specialist address the issue? Would a leaflet mailed to a certain neighborhood alert elder patients to convenient offices with more staff specializing in their needs?

Help your customers master BI

As more and more pictures of healthcare data become sharper, healthcare providers can use that BI to make their businesses healthier.  And partners can play a role in making that happen in the healthcare vertical market.

Next Steps

Read about the five areas of focus for a healthcare BI program

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