Using Analytics to Improve Efficiency, Part 3

The IT Director perspective

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(Editor's Note: This is the second part of a three-part series. Part 1 can be found here. Part 2 can be found here.)

Gary Gill is the director of IT services at Pacific Diagnostic Labs and Cottage Health Systems. Gill confessed that he wasn't particularly interested in a business intelligence system when it was originally proposed. One of his primary concerns, undoubtedly felt by the majority of IT directors, was that it was just going to involve more work for him and his IT department.

"Viewics came to our attention and I was asked to look at it," said Gill. "We looked at them, liked their product and it was very reasonably priced for what they were providing, so we gave it a shot. We've been using it ever since."

The primary advantage he's seen in the use of VHI is that it frees up the IT staff to focus on other priorities instead of requests for data and reports from staff. He pointed out that one of his employees used to spend approximately 30 percent to 50 percent of their time just pulling data from Crystal Reports for various managers. Thanks to implementation of VHI, that has dropped to about 5 percent to 10 percent, and most of those report requests come from him. He noted that three years later, VHI is still trouble-free and has continued to free up his IT staff to focus on other work priorities.

In addition, Gill said, "VHI is providing better data and graphic representations of the data than what we were pulling using our previous solution. We were pulling information into Excel spreadsheets, just raw data, and the users who requested the data were doing their own number crunching. VHI allows them to pull their own data and do their own number crunching very easily. VHI actually creates the graphs, updates the data itself and it's actually on the screen before you display it."

Gill said that the process of installing the VHI system was minimal. "We purchased a normal PC for it to run on. It's not on a server. We installed the Viewics drivers and we were done. There were a couple of meetings between the Viewics people and my users, and probably a two-hour meeting with one of my employees and myself, with some questions about data, how we stored the data, and we were done. That was about all we had to do in the IT Department. There were about four steps from purchase to implementation. It was absolutely a breeze to install."

Staffers from Viewics were at the lab for about two days reviewing the data, had a few meetings with users and then it was ready to go. Viewics handles the upgrades itself. Gill said, "I think a big selling point for Viewics, from an IT perspective, is that it doesn't get any more turnkey than what they gave us-both on the IT end and on the user end."

Gill completely understands how IT managers would be skeptical of buying into a BI platform, because he was skeptical himself: "I would tell IT directors that if they're skeptical, I wasn't in favor of BI or even of looking at Viewics, but they turned it all around. They showed I was wrong and they could do what they said they could do. And they do a really good job. Viewics is a great company to work with, with good people."

Clinical laboratories are surviving and thriving in an incredibly tough business environment by using business intelligence solutions that enable them to operate more effectively. These solutions lead to more streamlined processes, better customer service, higher-quality patient care and ultimately a more profitable laboratory. It is critical to select a solution that scales across all the systems in your laboratory, puts information in the hands of those that need it and caters to your limited budget and IT resources.

For the last three years, Pacific Diagnostic Laboratory (PDL) has used Viewics Health Insighter as their BI platform. In addition to the examples described earlier, PDL has moved forward with Viewics' Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) solution, which aggregates data from clinical and billing data sets to provide meaningful information back to payers. In addition, PDL is currently evaluating VHI for their anatomic pathology solution. As demonstrated by Pacific Diagnostic Laboratory's implementation of Viewics Health Insighter, there are unlimited ways that different laboratory personnel can access, analyze and share lab-specific data to improve processes, respond to client/payer needs and improve patient care.

Justin M. Clark is senior marketing manager, Viewics Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif.


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