Guest Post: Two Myths about Enterprise Data Warehouses and Community Hospitals

Pat Bickley is responsible for leading the collaborative technology teams that develop Health Care DataWorks (HCD) product offerings. Her extensive experience in multiple healthcare markets spans more than two decades. Bickley has led the development of Health Care DataWork’s Value-Based Purchasing application. The VBP application can assist hospital systems that stand to lose millions of dollars in Medicare reimbursements if they don’t perform well on certain quality measures.

Business intelligence is ever more critical within the healthcare industry given the requirements of healthcare reform, the emphasis on meaningful use, and the focus on reducing costs and improving the quality of care for patients. That said, hospitals need to efficiently and effectively access relevant data for more informed and timely decision making. That’s where an Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) brings value.

An EDW empowers hospitals to extract, aggregate, organize and analyze a wider range of information that historically has resided in organizational silos. Many community hospitals, however, are missing out on these opportunities because of two myths about EDWs:

1)      “They will create stress and strain for the organization to implement and maintain.”
2)      “They are too expensive for community hospitals and are better suited to larger systems.”

The fact is community hospitals want a comprehensive view of their operations, and an EDW can be tailored to their needs from a resource and cost standpoint.

Rather than look for departmental data solutions, community hospitals should focus on an EDW that allows a ‘top down’ comprehensive view of operations as well as a departmental view such that financial can access revenue cycle information and evaluate Value-based Purchasing; administrative can view ACO, patient experience and information systems; clinical can analyze quality, operating room, emergency department, meaningful use, nursing and clinic throughput; and research can access and analyze patient population analysis and patient recruitment.

Here is how community hospitals can make EDWs work:

  • Speed up implementation and minimize the time investment of internal teams by deploying a web-based, packaged EDW solution. This enables hospital staffs to focus on what they do best – analyzing data to make better business decisions.
  • Choose an EDW option that enables community hospitals to realize a much-needed and rapid return on investment. An EDW can be up and running within weeks at many community hospitals with pre-built content that relies on existing standard data sources. Quick ROI is achievable because there is less effort required to input data.
  • Look for an EDW that fits with the operational budget and removes potential barriers to making the purchase. With the web-based EDW, the financial, administrative, clinical and research departments are part of a unified data model that forms the underlying foundation. Individual departments can be brought online in a budget-conscious manner, spreading the costs over a longer period, but they will all be able to communicate with another because of the unified data model.

Converging the multiple data silos into an EDW will:

  • Provide self-help dashboards/scorecards to empower employees to manage by information
  • Create a “single version of the truth” – a single trusted source for information and data
  • Provide both standard and ad-hoc reporting capability
  • Reduce privacy risks via enterprise de-identified data
  • Create the foundation to move from retrospective analytics to predictive analytics

Don’t buy into the myths. Community hospitals can realize benefits regardless of size, and they have affordable and effective options to get an EDW that provides the business intelligence to meet the demands facing healthcare organizations nationwide.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.