Health authority gets fast, visual insight to improve compliance

13 February 2014 | Michael Hopmere, Principal Program Manager, IS Ecosystem – Health

In my work with customers on proof-of-concept (POC) projects for Power BI for Office 365, I start by asking them: What’s the question you have about your data? What intelligence do you need to better manage your practice? What they’re always amazed by is that often within a day, using Power BI, they can start to answer those questions. And they can start to answer them in a way that provides actionable insight.

That was the case at Helse Vest, a state-owned regional health authority that manages nine hospitals in western Norway.

Recently, as part of a government-driven national patient safety program, Helse Vest hospitals were asked to collect, visualize, and share medical data to identify quality measures and reporting requirements across all care teams and hospitals. To do that, each of the nine hospitals in the region needed to combine data from all facilities in its region for analysis by the program’s board and hospital managers.

I worked with a Helse Vest Power BI POC team to gather and analyze data around one of the region’s 14 medical-quality measures, the Safe Surgery indicator. This indicator shows how well surgery teams are complying with a prescribed safety checklist. For example, if there were 10 surgeries in a day, and the team followed the entire checklist for 8 of them, they’d receive a score, or indicator, of 80 percent.

The data to calculate this indicator was there, but bringing it together from various entities and formats in a meaningful way was a manual, time-consuming process. What Helse Vest was missing was day by day data and the ability to quickly visualize that data so that the surgery teams could know sooner rather than later how they were doing on checklist compliance. 

In order to improve this quality measure, the teams needed feedback closer to the time they completed their surgeries. That way, if compliance wasn’t where it needed to be, the surgery teams could act quickly to change their process. Or, if compliance was exceptionally high one week, they could make sure they kept doing whatever they were doing that week.

Using Power BI for Office 365, Helse Vest employees can now easily combine data from different sources right from within Microsoft Excel and build analytical reports within a day. With familiar, intuitive tools, staff can get up to date metrics that they can act on much sooner than in the past.

The Helse Vest team told me that they loved how easy Power Query—a new online search capability—made bringing together the safety checklist data from different sources. And they were thrilled with the central collaboration experience provided by the BI sites, where board members and employees can easily see and understand visual reports in Power View.

They were a fun and incredibly smart group of folks to work with. And it was exciting to see how Power BI is helping them further their safety and quality initiatives. To learn more about what Helse Vest is doing, check out the case study.

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Michael Hopmere
Principal Program Manager, IS Ecosystem – Health