Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC) is the primary healthcare provider for a three county area and spans an eclectic mix of seventeen physician practice groups. CVMC's hospital, located in Berlin, Vermont, employs nearly 1,400 people in its 122 bed facility. The facility's Emergency Department treats more than 25,000 patients annually and CVMC staffers perform 164,000 outpatient treatments including over 3,000 outpatient surgeries each year. The Medical Center staff includes 135 physicians and 35 nurse practitioners, physician assistants and midwife.
The Right Business Intelligence Platform Michelle Heezen, CVMC's Interim V.P. of Physician Services, recalls the rigorous year-long vetting process that CVMC's cross-functional team undertook to find an analytics and reporting platform that would meet CVMC's needs. The team was comprised of Finance, Nursing, Outpatient Services, and IS staff. Team members began not by evaluating software vendors, but by understanding CVMC's internal reporting needs.
They attempted to answer questions such as:
What is the best source system for a particular piece of information ?
What information do managers need to make decisions?
Who is reporting what data, and how do we make these data sources consistent?
How do we educate end-users about the information that is available to them?
Heezen recalls, “Once we had gotten to that point, I created a very rudimentary MS Word document that had links to all of the different reports, which we called our reporting portal. That saved people from logging in and out of three or four systems, but the reports were static. I made most of them PDF files or copy-protected Excel files. People were thankful to have the data in one spot but the lack of interactivity meant they couldn't switch months or drill down on a particular provider. That's when we felt we were ready for a real reporting and analytics tool.”
The team evaluated over a dozen BI and Decision Support tools, while not constraining themselves exclusively to vendors in Healthcare BI. “We looked at a variety of vendors and a variety of price ranges, including some big vendors. It came down to Dimensional Insight and a competitor. The competing product was much bigger. It had a lot of bells and whistles as we characterized it, but it wasn't as end-user friendly,” according to Heezen. Some of the criteria that Heezen's team used to evaluate the candidate BI platforms were ease of future scalability, determining whether functionality was adequate without being overwhelming, and that the selected application would actually be accepted by end users. Heezen elaborates on the latter criteria. “We had gone through several different systems in the accounting and finance area that we bought and never used at all, or bought and only used a piece of.
“We also had two separate benchmarking tools running. I kind of felt we were system happy. I wanted to make sure that we bought something that we actually utilized, and got all of our money back on.”
As for the final vendor selection, Heezen notes, “There was one thing that put Dimensional Insight over the top and that was the proof-of-concept demo. The fact that DI actually took an extract of our data and showed us what it looked like in Diver a few days later was really the selling point for us. DI was able to get us going immediately. Some of the vendors we evaluated were huge, and we knew we weren't going to get that personal attention.”
Healthcare Informatics 2011 March;28(3):S20