6 ways to use business intelligence software

By Michelle McNickle
01:34 PM
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With the onslaught of health IT initiatives such as meaningful use, ICD-10, and ACOs, healthcare organizations can have a hard time keeping up. But one type of software can make a positive impact in a number of different ways, said Fred Pennic, founder of HIT Consultant and senior advisor at Aspen Advisors. 

“Business intelligence software can provide organizations with the consolidated data tools necessary to standardize data, reduce data redundancy and costs, comply with industry standards and identify new opportunities to improve efficiency,” he said. 

Pennic suggests six ways to use business intelligence software.  

1. Analytics and reporting. Business intelligence analytics and reporting tools can assist providers with the data needed to implement effective ways to identify, measure, and monitor quality of care, said Pennic. “The reporting capabilities assist with complying with industry standards as well as meaningful use, ICD-10, and ACOs,” he said.

2. Clinical data analysis. “Healthcare BI software can track and monitor all clinical activities to help providers identify trends and their most efficient areas,” said Pennic. He added physicians can diagnose and prescribe more efficiently, which leads to improved medical outcomes. “BI software can help healthcare organizations meet and monitor their quality measures such as meaningful use, ACOs and health information exchanges,” he said.

3. Claims analysis. The software can also come in handy when identifying an organization’s biggest risk areas, said Pennic. Providers and payers can also look to the software to improve claims response times, optimize pricing, and avoid fraudulent claims. 

4. Financial analysis. Look to BI software for a range of financial capabilities, said Pennic. They include, “income and cash flow, debt to asset ratios, denial management, and actual income versus projected income analysis,” he said. Additionally, BI software has a history of cutting costs, particularly in a hospital setting. According to an article published in 2009, facilities that implemented the software reduced days not final billed from six two and a half. The software also accelerated reimbursement and generated cash flow benefit of more than $4 million. 

5. Patient care. According to Pennic, the software can provide a single platform for healthcare providers to share information with their patients and “improve medical decision outcomes and evidence-based clinical decision-making, and foster seamless patient care across all medical departments,” he said. He added electing to utilize the software allows providers to forecast patient diagnoses and administer efficient treatments, while reducing the average wait times. 

6. Dashboards and scorecards. “Web-based dashboards and scorecards provide healthcare organizations with a visual interface of critical clinical, financial, quality, and performance metrics for data-driven decisions,” said Pennic. He added other areas to note when considering business intelligence software include marketing, operational, and quality/safety analysis capabilities. “There are a lot of narrowly focused BI tools without an enterprise data warehouse." Pennic's last bit of advice? “Utilize robust BI tools.”

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