Healthcare organizations have become more aware of the need to leverage all of their data in order to support new population health management initiatives. An Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) is one of the key solutions many healthcare CIOs are considering to help accomplish this goal. In recent conversations that I’ve been having with CIOs, I often hear them say that they need more than what a horizontal EDW provides. The “Aha!” moment comes when CIOs realize that they need an EDW specifically designed for healthcare that has the vertical functionality needed to drive a scalable healthcare data and analytics strategy.
The first step in building an EDW for healthcare starts with choosing an enterprise EDW foundation. Caradigm has developed a deep integration with Microsoft SQL, a Leader in the 2014 Gartner BI Magic Quadrant that provides a strong horizontal EDW foundation including SSIS, SSAS, SSRS and Power BI tools. Caradigm has added an array of vertical functionality to that foundation to deliver an EDW for healthcare. Let’s explore further what distinguishes it from horizontal solutions.
A single-source of aggregated data in near real-time
Aggregating different types of data (e.g. clinical, claims, financial) from potentially dozens of systems across a health network is a core requirement for population health that horizontal EDWs are not equipped to handle efficiently. An EDW for healthcare is different because it provides the following functionality that enables a single-source of data to be possible:
- A healthcare data model that can automate the process of combining different data sources and data structures to create a single, longitudinal patient record.
- Complex healthcare data aggregation parsers that automate the ingestion of data from all healthcare information technology systems and normalize disparate data to semantic healthcare terminology tailored to your enterprise.
- The ability to use Hadoop and NLP (Natural Language Processing) to leverage and derive insights from non-structured data.
- The ability to update and make the data available in near real-time as opposed traditional EDWs that require delayed monthly or quarterly batch processing.
Actionable and Extensible Data
An EDW for healthcare also must deliver the following functionality that enables the data to drive action:
- The ability to write data back into source systems to surface actionable information at the point-of-care. This is a key requirement that allows you take action from insights.
- Healthcare specific tool sets for non-technical clinical analysts that allow them to perform analysis and reporting with strong visualizations. You want to decrease the barriers for information access by bringing end users closer to data. The traditional route of requiring end users to work through IT for coding reports is slow and expensive.
- Data exploration tools should enable insight discovery i.e. exploring data to discover hidden insights versus the traditional route of asking the questions and building rigid data marts around them.
- Native support for predictive analytics like estimations of risk and predicted outcomes. Examples include cohort stratification, patient identification, risk modeling, readmissions management, and total cost of care.
- Integrated out of the box analytics applications like Quality Improvement, Risk Management, and Condition Management that can leverage the EDW to perform and share analytics.
- An open platform that can share data via web services APIs (Application Programming. Interfaces) or access via other 3rd party popular BI tools like Tableau, QlikView, and Spotfire
- An application development platform that gives the ability to create new applications utilizing the EDW.
Security and Compliance
Lastly, but as important as any of the functionality mentioned above is the ability to provide a security model that is role-based, row based, field level redaction with auditability. This can be an important tool for HIPAA best practices.
My advice to providers is that they need to think about which tools can help them today and scale with their future needs. The overall strategy has to be extensible and simple from the customer’s point of view. Providers shouldn’t have to acquire multiple new systems, develop custom solutions, or build an internal team of developers. Providers need a partner with a defined path forward that includes infrastructure, domain expertise, out-of-the-box functionality and tool sets that can simplify processes today while being able to adapt in the future. If you’re struggling to get out of the gate beginning with data aggregation, then that’s an indicator that there are missing fundamental capabilities. It’s unlikely that population health data capabilities can be patchworked together without delaying the timeframe for success and increasing costs.
Caradigm is unique because we deliver a mature and comprehensive EDW designed specifically for healthcare. We have already helped customers aggregate their data and are surfacing that information in clinician workflows to improve care. Once these core requirements are in place, providers are positioned well to succeed with their population health initiatives. I look forward to having more discussions with providers about how we can partner to help you realize the full potential of your data to support your population health efforts.