Healthcare organizations are adopting analytics and reporting tools to drive data-driven insights and improve patient care. This approach has been called “clinical business intelligence” or “healthcare BI.” Clinical organizations have used business intelligence to store data in a centralized data warehouse, keep patient data secure, complete accurate analysis, and share reports among departments for a modern, integrated approach to healthcare.

Clinical BI is important because healthcare organizations generate a lot of data—from electronic health records (EHRs), patient feedback, operational data, to financial data. Clinical operations use multiple, disparate technologies for data storage and analysis, but a centralized solution allows access to all data, giving providers and administrators the ability to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and patient outcomes. Here are several examples of how healthcare organizations use clinical business intelligence to improve care and operations.

Examples of business intelligence in clinical settings

Organizations use clinical BI in many aspects of their operations and patient care processes, including:

  • Treatment planning based on symptoms
  • Coordinating and scheduling staff based on patient volumes
  • Facility supply chain management
  • Provider alerts that tell providers what services patients need, eliminating need for multiple visits
  • Identifying patients who need follow-up care
  • Create and track against scorecards for readmission rates

Using business intelligence to improve healthcare management

Healthcare BI analytics are used to uncover insights and see a unified view of patient care that isn’t possible with legacy systems and traditional reporting. Analyzing the records of millions of patients, medical researchers have been able to uncover drug interaction side effects and alert the FDA without a long, costly medical trial. Administrators can monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as readmission rates, hospital infection rates, and staffing shortages with dashboards that update in near real-time. This, in turn, saves time and allows administrators to share snapshot overviews with providers to align with goals and improve metrics.

Core BI features for healthcare

Your healthcare organization may already have one or multiple tools that accomplish parts of business intelligence. For example, all healthcare organizations need a data governance system to protect the privacy of patients’ health records for federal regulations compliance and to validate the quality of the data. Further, your organization may also already have a separate analytics and visualization tool to share data with colleagues. However, modern business intelligence software for healthcare settings integrates all of these tools in one, easy-to-use platform. In the past, it was common for healthcare organizations to store their data in separate locations—financial data separated from patient data, separated from operations data. The benefit of a data warehouse is to combine all of these data sources in one location so analytics tools can use all of the relevant data to find correlations and patterns between them. This compilation of data sources directly impacts patient care—patient care improves when providers have a unified view of a patient’s entire history.

How clinical BI improves patient care

Clinical BI can help providers determine appropriate treatment. For example, integrating patients’ medical history into patients’ care plan can alert providers and caregivers if a newly prescribed medication interacts with another medication. Business intelligence platforms can also empower patients to be more involved in their own care. Healthcare organizations can create patient portals and dashboards to schedule appointments, fill out paperwork online, and view billing. Patients can also be reassured of their data privacy because these platforms are designed to keep data secure and accessible. When healthcare is convenient for patients, they have positive experiences, keep their appointments, and have better outcomes.

How BI benefits healthcare providers

Clinical BI also benefits healthcare providers because it helps to automate routine care, schedule follow-ups, and standardize patient history questionnaires. BI platforms can store that information, recall it when needed, and assign tasks like medicine schedules to providers. BI software platforms can visualize patient outcomes in charts and graphs to share with departments. With shared data, care can be holistic and collaborative.

Healthcare Analytics: 4 Trends to Watch in 2019

Healthcare Analytics: 4 Trends to Watch in 2019

In 2019, healthcare analytics will continue to play a central role in driving innovation and value for providers, physicians, and patients.

Read this whitepaper to learn more about the key healthcare analytics trends we see for 2019:

  • Actionable analytics put data in context
  • Data storytelling is the new language of business
  • Enterprises get smarter about analytics adoption
  • Governed data curation bridges the gap between data and business

Read the Healthcare Trends for 2019

The future of clinical BI

The healthcare industry continues to integrate digital workflows into patient care and operations, and we have identified several trends in clinical business intelligence. First, providers will use BI to find correlations among patients to predict those at risk of readmission and schedule meetings with those patients before they leave the hospital.

Patients want a personalized care and treatment plan that involves their history, and they want providers who can understand their records. Administrators can use BI to create dashboards for portals and mobile applications so patients can feel more involved in their healthcare. Patients can also complete surveys and automatically upload that data to the data warehouse for BI analysis.

AI and machine learning are gaining more importance in clinical business intelligence. In clinical BI, features like natural language processing (NLP) cuts down on analysis time and helps uncover insights from patient data, such as surveys.

Learn more about how the healthcare industry uses business intelligence from our customers and live webinars in Healthcare Analytics for providers and payers.