How a small hospital network uses BI to provide better care (and save money)

Lehigh Valley Health Network is eliminating data islands, simplifying how information is distributed, and increasing efficiency.
Written by Denise Amrich, Contributor

Image courtesy LVHN.

"Now more than ever, excellent patient care relies on staff having the tools to access the most up-to-date information to enhance the clinical decision-making process," says Lori Yackanicz, administrator of Clinical Informatics at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

What is Lehigh Valley Health Network?

Lehigh Valley Health Network, or LVHN, is a network of three hospital facilities in Pennsylvania. They also operate nine health centers, a bunch of primary and specialty care physician practices, pharmacy, imaging, and lab services.

They provide trauma care for patients of all ages, for everything from burns to organ transplants, to neurosurgery, and are nationally certified as a Primary Stroke Center.

They're constantly getting props from the US News and World Report for being one of America's Best Hospitals, and are considered a magnet hospital for nursing excellence.

Time for some new tech

With all they're doing, some new tech was in order for BI (business intelligence).

Working with Information Builders' WebFOCUS system, Lehigh Valley Health Network medical staff will be able to quickly access patient information and create customized visuals of the data, allowing users to easily measure and compare critical trends and relationships in real time.

When we as nurses talk about charting, we're usually referring to the thorough, timely documentation of our patient's status based on our nursing assessments, and the interventions we perform based on their vital signs, lab data, and more. We also chart about medication administration, and our observations of the patient's response to the therapy.

Having worked in a number of clinical environments, I can definitely see the advantage of a system which would allow customized visuals of the data we collect and record in order to get a better total picture of the individual's response to treatment, whether things are trending the way we want them to in terms of positive response to treatment, whether further timely intervention is needed. Being able to see a concrete representation of this in a timely manner would allow decisions to be made, implemented, and assessed for effectiveness with every appropriate immediacy.

Yackanicz tells us that, "With a web-based system in place, our clinicians can access this type of information in real time, making them more efficient. Information Builders' healthcare expertise, combined with the robust business intelligence capabilities of their WebFOCUS platform, will help us map out a successful data strategy to help our clinicians provide quality patient care."

As the major healthcare provider in their local Pennsylvania community averaging over 50,000 admissions, 450,000 outpatient visits, 115,000 ER visits and 3,000 births in network hospitals yearly, Lehigh Valley Health Network's Yackanicz smartly claims that optimal healthcare depends not only on providing patients with quality services, but also on the ability to access accurate information to make data-driven decisions.

This is not a small network, as user populations go. The hospital chain has 10,000 active users on its data network and is working toward a solution that will integrate information from across the organization, eliminate data redundancies and silos, as well as ensure accuracy.

Once the new reporting environment is integrated into the network, users will be able to build reports by selecting the criteria, measures, and output formats that are specific to the patient's needs.

Users will also be able to obtain information from the entire network, eliminating the need to manually locate, collate, and analyze the data. With these reporting tools in the hands of clinicians, the business will be able to ensure that information is standardized across the network.

According to Gerald Cohen, CEO and president of Information Builders, "With WebFOCUS, Lehigh Valley Health Network will be able to eliminate the data islands across the organization, simplify how information is distributed among users, and increase employee efficiency."

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