Faster insight into clinical placement at Mater Health Services

Mater Health Services uses its student placement online tool (SPOT) to oversee the doctors and nurses of tomorrow. In this video, SPOT manager Troy Forster discusses how Tableau helps him sort through data faster, in some cases reducing the time from “two weeks to five minutes.”

Tableau: What is SPOT?
Troy Forster, SPOT Manager: It’s the student placement online tool. And we look after a whole bunch of students that come on campus and do clinical placements for medical students, nursing students, allied health students, and help them become nurses and doctors.

Tableau: What are some of the challenges of managing SPOT?
Troy: So in the health sector, the IT services is very focused on the clinical systems, as they should be, because that's the patient-facing systems such as the patient information, the booking systems, the X-ray systems. And if they go down, that's a danger to life. It was basically how do we get information quickly without having to rely on our IT services.

Tableau: What are the consequences of that?
Troy: So the support people like me, in education, we come second, as we should. So our reports, if we sent them off to IT, would take a long time to get back. So using Tableau has kind of let us go to a self-service sort of model so we can build our own, look at our own data sets without bothering their important work, I guess.

Tableau: What’s a particular task that was challenging for you?
Troy: When the government asked us how many placements we had across the campus for their data—because they're looking at future growth trends and demographics and how many health professionals we're going to need in the future—we had no clear answer for them. It was done individually across the hospital.

So we had a clinical placement coordinator that was trying to find all that data across the hospital, put it into an Excel spreadsheet themselves, and then work out any sort of semblance of reporting from that very sketchy data collection process.

Tableau: And how is your job easier now?
Troy: And that's where Tableau came in because before that, we had to send off the Excel spreadsheet to someone that could do Excel spreadsheet manipulations and get the reports in a readable format.

Tableau: What’s another task Tableau has helped you with?

If you want something easy to use and you want the ability to have instantaneous visualizations, then definitely—look at Tableau.

Troy: We had a certain set of growth targets that we had to hit, and we had to figure out if we had them, how to hit them. SPOT had all the data in it, and Tableau just let us pull that out straight away. Two years ago when we didn't have SPOT and Tableau, it took about two weeks in order to get that information and get it back to HWA. So, a reduction from two weeks to five minutes.

If you want something easy to use and you want the ability to have instantaneous visualizations, then definitely—look at Tableau.

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