Help­ing tell a story through data

Modern Healthcare - - INNOVATIONS - By Beth Kutscher

A typ­i­cal health sys­tem com­piles troves of data from more than a dozen sources, in­clud­ing elec­tronic health records, in­sur­ance claims and Press Ganey re­ports. There’s no short­age of Ex­cel files and pivot ta­bles to be cre­ated and an­a­lyzed.

Ef­fec­tively an­a­lyz­ing all that data has be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant to the suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tions of health­care providers, whether it’s to de­ter­mine where they have gaps in care, as­sess their pop­u­la­tion health man­age­ment ini­tia­tives, or re­duce costs for episodes of care.

En­ter Tableau, a Seat­tle-based firm that was founded in 2003. Its goal is to al­low data an­a­lysts in health­care and other in­dus­tries to build mul­ti­di­men­sional data sets that vis­ually rep­re­sent all the salient in­for­ma­tion so or­ga­ni­za­tions can ef­fec­tively use that data to im­prove their op­er­a­tions.

One New York City health sys­tem, for in­stance, was able to use the soft­ware to map the ra­tio of pa­tients to providers in dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the city. Tableau claims that its soft­ware can build a data dash­board in eight min­utes or less, and can com­bine data from dis­parate data sources with a quick drag and drop.

“It ac­tu­ally (has) turned the busi­ness an­a­lyst into a hero,” said Andy De, Tableau’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for health­care and life sciences.

Tableau was born at Stan­ford Univer­sity, where a Ph.D can­di­date named Chris Stolte was re­search­ing how vi­su­al­iza­tion tech­niques can help with data anal­y­sis. His fac­ulty ad­viser was Pat Han­ra­han, a pro­fes­sor at Stan­ford’s Com­puter Graph­ics Lab­o­ra­tory and a found­ing mem­ber of Pixar, the famed com­puter an­i­ma­tion stu­dio work­ing with the movie industry. “Tableau lit­er­ally has sto­ry­telling built in,” De said.

That tech­nol­ogy is now be­ing used by health­care providers to un­der­stand the story lines go­ing on in their fa­cil­i­ties. The dash­boards also are easy to share among a range of stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing physi­cians, ad­min­is­tra­tors and qual­ity-im­prove­ment staff.

A 2014 sur­vey from the Health­care In­for­ma­tion and Man­age­ment Sys­tems So­ci­ety found that Tableau was the most com­monly used data vi­su­al­iza­tion soft­ware among the 1,800 re­spon­dents. It was trailed by In­for­ma­tion Builders, QlikTech and Tibco Spot­fire. About 20% of re­spon­dents said they cur­rently use Tableau’s soft­ware and an­other 20% plan to in the fu­ture.

Tableau, which went pub­lic on the New York Stock Ex­change in 2013, has clients across 24 in­dus­tries, but health­care is its fastest-grow­ing mar­ket, De said. Tableau’s rev­enue at the end of last year reached $412.6 mil­lion, a 78% in­crease over the pre­vi­ous year.

Tableau’s dash­boards have en­abled Com­mu­nity Health Cen­ter Net­work, a safety net provider in the San Fran­cisco Bay Area, to get a bet­ter sense of cost, qual­ity and uti­liza­tion pat­terns. In Alameda County, Com­mu­nity’s health clin­ics take on full risk through man­aged-care con­tracts. The or­ga­ni­za­tion cur­rently serves about 200,000 pa­tients and man­ages care for about 127,000.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion’s eight com­mu­nity health cen­ters started work­ing with Tableau two years ago to paint a clearer pic­ture of how pa­tients in­ter­act with the health­care sys­tem once they leave the health cen­ters. For in­stance, Com­mu­nity can cre­ate re­ports about pa­tients who skipped their pri­mary-care vis­its and add fil­ters such as risk scores, whether they’ve vis­ited an emer­gency depart­ment, and whether they’ve been ad­mit­ted as an in­pa­tient. The care team then can fol­low up with those pa­tients and con­nect them to a med­i­cal home.

“We can start seg­ment­ing our pa­tients,” said Molly Hart, Com­mu­nity’s health­care an­a­lyt­ics strate­gist. “Which pa­tients can we take care of with an e-visit? Who needs be­hav­ioral health?” The or­ga­ni­za­tion also can sin­gle out a con­di­tion such as hy­per­ten­sion and cre­ate dash­boards for view­ing data sorted by clinic, provider and pa­tient. It can track blood-pres­sure read­ings over time and against other data points such as when pa­tients have their next ap­point­ment.

Her or­ga­ni­za­tion says use of Tableau’s tools con­trib­uted to a 37% in­crease in the num­ber of pa­tients see­ing a pri­mary-care physi­cian af­ter a hospi­tal ad­mis­sion, a 12% re­duc­tion in emer­gency depart­ment vis­its, and a 14% drop in hospi­tal read­mis­sions.

“It’s about the holis­tic pic­ture,” said Ra­jib Ghosh, Com­mu­nity’s chief data and trans­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer. “In the next two to three years, every­thing will be in­formed by data. That will drive ev­ery de­ci­sion we make.”

In Au­gust, Tableau made its first ac­qui­si­tion. It bought In­foac­tive, a Mon­tre­al­based startup, which de­vel­oped a Web ap­pli­ca­tion that turns data into in­ter­ac­tive in­fo­graph­ics. The deal will al­low Tableau to add ca­pa­bil­i­ties in build­ing mobile and cloud-based prod­ucts.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.