Taking the Next Step in Healthcare Analytics
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Situation: The Data Imperative
With 300 beds, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (“CHWI”) is the only independent, freestanding pediatric hospital in the Milwaukee region. It is ranked among the best in the nation by a host of respected publications, as are its physicians. However, to maintain its position in the forefront of American medicine and to be able to better identify opportunities for improving quality of care and efficiency of operations in a rapidly evolving healthcare environment, CHWI made a strategic decision to build out its analytics capabilities. That would mean turning into actionable information the data stored in the hospital’s core clinical, operational and financial systems. CHWI had the data; what it didn’t have was a way to access and display the data in an easy-to-understand and interactive format for the betterment of the hospital and its patients. In the fall of 2014, to help it enhance its Business Intelligence portal to transform CHWI into a truly datadriven, analytically sophisticated healthcare organization, CHWI connected with FTI Consulting.
FTI Consulting’s Role: Turning Data into Information
Consultants from FTI Consulting partnered with CHWI on a number of fronts. They looked at the 544 standard reports coming out of CHWI’s core systems and streamlined the reporting process, reducing overhead and, in key instances, replacing one-way reporting with interactive dashboards that hospital executives and clinicians could use to identify opportunities to improve care and lower costs.
FTI Consulting’s professionals helped CHWI review its cost accounting system and methodology to identify the true cost of the services provided while identifying areas of profitability. FTI Consulting developed a revenue cycle dashboard that displayed key metrics (previously buried in piles of reports) such as average length of stay, reimbursements, collections at point of service and more — all broken down by department. Once CHWI could see the trends in each department, it could begin focusing on cost reduction and quality.
“The team from FTI Consulting has been an excellent partner for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Experts from FTI Consulting collaborated with our existing staff to develop advanced analytics solutions. They brought subject matter expertise to our team in areas of Epic electronic health records (“EHR”), cost accounting, revenue cycle, patient flow and patient safety. In addition, the FTI Consulting team had resources with technical skills in Qlik, SQL and Reporting Services that matched our needs. Our partnership with FTI Consulting has helped us meet our strategic and operational goals in analytics.”
Abby Dexter, Performance Intelligence Manager, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
For example, it became clear that a significant driver of cost was patient length of stay. The longer a patient stays in a hospital, the greater the risk of experiencing a hospital-acquired condition that, in turn, could prolong length of stay, require more treatment and increase the risk of getting sicker while slowing recovery time. All these effects add to the total cost. A hospital is not reimbursed for hospital-acquired conditions. Therefore, shortening the length of stay not only improves patient outcomes, it avoids unnecessary costs.
FTI Consulting also leveraged its healthcare experience to work with CHWI’s analytics staff to help staff members identify what data are valuable to their end users — the clinical staff — and learn how to extract and display the data to stakeholders in an easily accessible and comprehensible manner through a password-protected portal. In this way, CHWI was able to build out its QlikView visualizations, populating them with data from its EHR system
Outcome: A Portal for Improvement
Since the beginning of its engagement and continuing today, FTI Consulting has been able to provide analytics expertise and applications to CHWI end users that enables them to improve CHWI’s clinical and financial performance. The number of users accessing data through the new portal has grown throughout the organization.
FTI Consulting also worked with CHWI’s analytics staff in training sessions to help staff members better understand the information needs of the hospital’s clinicians and allow them to take more on themselves. In this manner, CHWI has taken another step toward becoming a truly efficient data-driven organization.