Data Analytics in System Decision Making

By The SHSMD Team posted 01-29-2018 15:04

Data analytics in healthcare is becoming more of an everyday occurrence. The idea of data being a natural resource for health systems can allow for better decisions to be made in both clinical and operations based situations. Data analytics helps to focus on real life examples of success stories being forefront in system decision making. On the clinical side, data analytics helps clinical staff treat high risk patients in and out of the health system. With regards to operations, the business benefits observed showcase how data analytics help to benefit financial tracking.

Mount Nittany Health, based in State College, PA is the parent organization to Mount Nittany Medical Center, a 260-bed acute-care facility offering medical, surgical, diagnostic and community services; and Mount Nittany Physician Group, a group of more than 150 healthcare providers, across more than 30 specialties in 17 convenient locations. Mount Nittany Health employs about 2,300 skilled healthcare professionals and support staff, with more than 220 credentialed physicians in more than 40 specialties and sub-specialties. Volunteers contribute more than 68,000 hours of service each year. With so many important voices and moving parts, there sometimes needs to be a ‘true north’ guide to help the organization move forward.

Starting in 2015, Mount Nittany Health put time, money and effort into creating a data analytics department (System Decision Support) and culture where data would be the driver in all that the organization did.

Clinical Benefits
Mount Nittany Health worked with clinical staff to find out where their pain points were in helping patients. One item that came up was the need to assist high-risk patients. These individuals who utilized the health system in desperate and frequent times carried a lot of time and effort for the staff (One patient in the health system came in with 70 medications!). In compiling a dataset of patients with certain risk factors, Mount Nittany Health was able to track patients in and out of the health system to make sure they received the highest level of care.

Financial Benefits
System Decision Support also worked with Mount Nittany Health’s finance team to allow data analytics to support and make their work easier. Before data analytics was involved, it was common for staff to manually track down beds and pumps from floors and then correct the billing. The back and forth work was doing no one any favors and resulted in many hours of just pushing papers. Materials Management staff worked with System Decision Support to determine when beds and pumps were not being used by discharged patients, which allowed staff the ability to move items to storage and off the hospital floors. This then allowed Sterile Processing the ability to reconcile with Materials Management so the proper billing took place on the beds (the first time). With the current cost of a pump averaging $58 a day and a specialty bed averaging $114 a day, the work, time and money that data analytics was able to save Mount Nittany Health staff was tremendous.

Your Next Step
Deciding to take the next step in utilizing data analytics for your health system is a step in choosing that data will be the key driver in your work world. By making sure your executive leadership staff know that their departments can benefit and help make your health system a leader in data-directed decision making, your health system, staff and patients will all reap the benefits of data analytics.

By Todd Price | Posted January 29, 2018
Senior Decision Support Analyst
Mount Nittany Health
State College, PA