Charles E. Hart, MD, president and CEO of Regional Health, Inc., in Rapid City, SD, agreed it's a problem. "I just wish I knew for sure the cost to provide a service. Revenue is a little bit easier. That's dollars in the bank," he said.
"Business intelligence is defined differently by different people, but to me it's being able to put together three or four source data systems in our institutions where data from all the platforms can be seen together in a succinct format," Limbocker said. "About 10 years ago, I was very proud of creating a senior-level dashboard and departmental dashboard for all leaders across the institution, where before they were getting a stack of paper several inches thick. Well, it was still too much data for most."
The key is to determine what kind of data is really actionable, said Paul Kronenberg, MD, CEO of Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, NY. "People say information technology will give you accuracy, but it won't necessarily because something has to be entered by a person. So just because it's electronic doesn't mean it's accurate," he added.
There are some "excellent" business intelligence systems available to the healthcare industry now, said Barry Waiter, vice president of OptumInsight in Pittsburgh, PA, which sponsored the Intelligence Report. These systems enable exception reporting that allow users to start with high-level metrics and then drill down to a granular level to understand the drivers of variances. "Hopefully managers and executives will get more comfortable with business intelligence systems over time," he said.