While collecting healthcare data in Excel spreadsheets may never go out of style, implementing business intelligence, or BI, in healthcare can be a breath of fresh air for your business and lead to more time- and cost-efficient data analysis. With business intelligence, you can reduce reporting times, generate business-critical insights at lightning speed, save on operating costs, and spare more time for core business functions like patient care and clinical trials. Plus, business intelligence solutions help you ensure business visibility by tracking relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) such as hospital profit by region or city, patient visits by practice, or total visits by hospital.
In this blog post, you’ll find out how your medical practice can benefit from business intelligence and which BI data platform you can integrate to satisfy all of your needs.
Business intelligence in healthcare: a market overview
Business intelligence tools have gradually grown in popularity in the healthcare industry. One company’s success convinces others to adopt the same solution. According to Statista, in 2016, the global market for clinical big data analytics was only worth $1.65 billion, while by 2025, it is forecasted to reach $11.35 billion, proving that the value of big data analytics is being increasingly recognized by healthcare practices worldwide. And there are no signs of this trend slowing in the near future.
Unlike complex medical software solutions such as electronic health record (EHR) systems, BI software often can be used by all company employees, even without specialized training.
The biggest value of business intelligence for healthcare is the ability to visualize data on interactive dashboards that can come in different forms such as pie charts, bar charts, line charts, histograms, tables, and maps. Data visualization is primarily the process of transforming raw clinical or patient data into insights showing how a particular metric (e.g. company revenue) has changed over a certain time period. Now that you know the main concept behind BI, let’s discuss what value BI solutions can offer your business.
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Advantages of business intelligence for healthcare practices
Business intelligence for healthcare organizations can be beneficial in multiple ways. Below, we discuss some of them in detail.
Increase the visibility of the healthcare workflow
With the possibility to collect and analyze large amounts of cross-functional healthcare data, you can make data-driven decisions based on the latest status of your key operations. For instance, you may find that you underestimated your most revenue-generating services and have not invested enough in their marketing. Advanced analytics can also allow you to forecast how your business performance can change with time by drawing on historical data. Thus, you can form the big picture of your healthcare organization’s operations from current and future perspectives.
BI in healthcare practices can also help define the most crucial and not-so-obvious bottlenecks. This gives you a chance to optimize your daily operations and answer the following questions:
- How can we improve efficiency and decrease patient treatment times?
- How much revenue do we generate and how can we generate more?
- What’s the average cost of providing care to patients and how can we reduce costs without compromising quality?
These and many more questions you can easily answer with the help of healthcare data analytics.
Improve the quality of healthcare services
Healthcare business intelligence also allows you to analyze global healthcare trends or apply global healthcare statistics on patient care or medication use to keep your clinical practices up to date.
You can also analyze feedback to meet patients’ or customers’ needs and be proactive when it matters most. For instance, you can track patient wait times at your hospitals and immediately investigate if this metric exceeds a certain threshold.
Healthcare business intelligence can also help you provide more personalized and coordinated patient care, as you’ll be able to track your patients’ treatment progress, treatment time, satisfaction rate, and many other practice-specific metrics. With these valuable insights, you can see how each of your patient groups is feeling and what you can do to improve their experience.
Connect disparate data across departments and facilities
Modern healthcare business intelligence tools can collect lots of data siloed in different healthcare departments into a single platform to give you a helicopter view of your business. A single healthcare practice can have more than 100 digital healthcare systems, each generating unique data used mostly for meeting the needs of a certain department. Imagine what could happen if you stopped this data from being trapped within a single clinical facility and used it for generating valuable healthcare insights.
For starters, you could immediately get deeper insights into your workflow and determine practical data-driven actions to increase your overall business productivity and efficiency. Plus, you would be able to use your digital systems to their maximum potential by turning the raw data they produce into insights.
To achieve all of these results, you need to integrate a robust data analytics solution that meets your industry standards. Let’s move on to a detailed investigation of the top healthcare BI tools, starting with Tableau.
Top 5 healthcare business intelligence software solutions
Tableau is one of the most popular healthcare BI tools on the market. Users from the healthcare industry that have implemented it claim Tableau is a feature-rich BI solution with a clear interface that allows them to create a wide variety of healthcare dashboards and provide all stakeholders with constant access to business-critical KPIs. Below are some of the distinctive characteristics of Tableau that make this solution so popular.
- Rich product selection. You can make use of an extensive set of products that complement each other to deliver a full-service data analytics experience.
- Regulatory compliance. In December 2022, Tableau Cloud acquired HIPAA compliance. Here is a list of all security certifications and standards obtained by Tableau Cloud.
- Data preparation tool. The platform provides automated data preparation and extraction services with the help of the Tableau Prep tool.
- Customization capabilities. You can use a variety of Tableau Developer Tools to customize the platform for each organization’s specific needs.
- On-the-go analytics. Explore the benefits of dynamic business intelligence with the Tableau Mobile product.
- Data integration. You can collect data from many databases and files (e.g. PDFs, spreadsheets, and on-premises or cloud-based databases).
- Free trial. You can test the solution by signing up for a free trial version.
- Intuitive interface. Even non-technical users find it rather easy to use Tableau thanks to its clear navigation and user-friendly interface.
- Healthcare templates. You’ll find clinical and business data dashboards with detailed filters and the possibility to duplicate charts and graphs to save time on creating dashboard templates.
- Regular software updates. The company ensures quarterly software updates to troubleshoot issues and enhance platform capabilities. For instance, in Q4 2022, Tableau released a new feature called Image Role, allowing users to drag images into Tableau.
Prominent clients: Lenovo, Salesforce, Lufthansa, Providence St. Joseph Health, Duke University Health Systems
Microsoft Power BI
Power BI has the same level of popularity as Tableau and also is a serious contender in the healthcare industry. This enterprise-level BI platform with advanced analytics capabilities can handle large data sets and has versatile functionality. However, it may require additional training and can at times be overwhelming to use. However, there is no doubt that Power BI is an extremely powerful BI platform capable of truly transforming the healthcare industry.
- Regulatory compliance. The Power BI platform ensures compliance with a wide range of laws and regulations globally, both healthcare-specific and otherwise, to ensure ultimate data security.
- Data integration. Power BI connects with the majority of databases and supports the majority of file formats on the market, offering more than 500 data connectors. Yet Power BI has limited integration capabilities with third-party tools and services.
- High compatibility with Microsoft tools. You can ensure smooth integration with other Microsoft tools and technologies such as Microsoft 365 (e.g. Excel) and Microsoft Azure to generate faster and more data-intensive insights.
- Free desktop tool. The Power BI desktop tool is completely free and easy to install.
- Data preparation. Power Query ETL cleanses and processes raw data and prepares it for further analysis.
- Template visuals. You can choose from a variety of template charts, graphs, and maps to quickly create dashboards that fit your company’s needs.
- Advanced analytics. Power BI is an extremely useful solution for big data analytics and predictive modeling.
Prominent clients: Cerner, INTEGRIS Health, Humana, KPMG, Bayer, PwC
The main peculiarity of the Qlik Sense BI tool is that it’s equipped with an associative engine, allowing you to analyze all of your healthcare data and track patterns that would otherwise go unnoticed during the analysis of partial data sets. Here are a few of Qlik Sense’s typical traits that can enhance healthcare decision-making.
- Integration with healthcare software. The Qlik Sense platform provides direct integration of embedded analytics into healthcare software such as EHR systems to generate insights while working with patient data.
- Advanced analytics. You can make use of real-time integrations with machine learning algorithms and AI models for even more enhanced healthcare decision-making.
- Edited dashboards. You can visualize healthcare data using dynamic and interactive dashboards that can be easily updated.
- Alerts and notifications. Qlik Sense is also equipped with a data-driven alerting system to keep users updated on recent changes to healthcare data.
- Customization capabilities. A set of open APIs is available to customize the solution to different needs.
- Difficulty of use. Qlik Sense has a steep learning curve and may require consultations from IT staff to fully set up the system.
- High compatibility. The system is compatible with the majority of desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
Prominent clients: NHS, Novartis, Deloitte, DocuSign, PayPal, Ford
Domo is a BI platform that’s becoming widely sought-after among healthcare practitioners. Feature-wise it may not be much different from its competitors, but it provides a centralized low-code data analytics platform that makes healthcare data analysis easy for non-technical users. Let’s have a look at the common features that make Domo stand out from other BI tools.
- Unified solution. Domo is an all-in-one BI platform with simple user onboarding that doesn’t require installing many separate tools for data integration and analytics.
- Data integration. The platform offers a built-in drag-and-drop ETL tool with over 1,000 data connectors to integrate with practically any database.
- Real-time analytics. You can use real-time data dashboards to define trends and make quick business decisions.
- Scaling capabilities. The Domo platform can automatically scale in the back end to increase the number of data records and users.
- Embedded analytics. It’s possible to embed the Domo analytics tool into any existing healthcare application or system to make analytics even easier.
Prominent clients: DHL, Zillow, eBay, Unilever, Cisco, Regional One Health, American Medical ID
This cloud-based BI solution from Amazon has a pay-per-session pricing model, which allows clients to pay only when using the platform. Like the previously discussed BI options, Amazon QuickSight can be embedded into any existing product or system and can collect data from numerous file types (CSV, Excel) and databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Amazon S3, Amazon Redshift). Below are a few other distinctive features of Amazon QuickSight.
- ML-enabled engine. Amazon QuickSight is empowered with the SPICE in-memory calculation engine that ensures super-fast generation of analytics results.
- Natural language query tool. You can use the QuickSight Q tool and type any questions about your healthcare data in the search bar to quickly get visualized answers.
- High compatibility with AWS services. QuickSight seamlessly integrates with other AWS cloud services.
- Built-in ML and AI solutions. Built-in machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms allow for quick and effortless predictive analytics.
- Template visuals and dashboards. Healthcare professionals can choose from a wide variety of ready-made dashboards to speed up data analytics.
- Community support. You can join the QuickSight community to share insights and discuss common business issues.
Prominent clients: Panasonic, Vyaire Medical, LucernaHealth, NFL
All of the business intelligence service providers we’ve mentioned have expertise in the healthcare industry. No matter which of these solutions you choose, it should be able to satisfy most of your healthcare data analysis needs. However, if none of the solutions seem suitable for you, our team of IT professionals can help you find, integrate, test, and build a unified source of truth for your specific business and transform obtained data into customized actionable insights. We can conduct thorough market research, compare pricing models, go through a few free trials with you, and eventually help you make the final decision that will bring the desired insights for your business to increase revenue, deliver coordinated and personalized patient care, and stay competitive in the market.
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Why is business intelligence in healthcare becoming widespread?
The main reason for the increasing adoption of BI technology among healthcare businesses is the need to make sense of increasing data volumes. The more digital healthcare solutions healthcare businesses adopt, the more data is generated. And it’s getting harder to structure this data, aggregate it in a single storage location, and derive valuable insights from it. Also, BI is popular among healthcare businesses that rapidly grow and expand their reach to new markets.
How can you assist with integrating BI in your healthcare practice?
To integrate the most suitable BI solution into your healthcare workflow, we determine your core business objectives and needs. We perform competitor and market analysis to define BI adoption rates in your specialization. Once we decide on the right solution and define which KPIs and metrics you need to track — and which outcomes you expect to achieve — our BI technology experts will set up an end-to-end data analytics process for your company to help you generate actionable insights and make only data-driven decisions.
How does the healthcare industry use business intelligence?
Healthcare business intelligence has a wide range of applications. For instance, healthcare practitioners can analyze patient data such as laboratory results and medication intake to define treatment patterns, discover correlations, and make changes. With BI healthcare tools, you can also define how to optimize your daily workflow, reduce costs, ensure effective use of medical equipment, and increase medical staff productivity and patient satisfaction. Advanced analytics, including predictive and prescriptive analytics, can help you forecast future trends and be better prepared for changes such as higher patient demand.
How many BI healthcare solutions have you integrated for your clients?
In the course of 10 years delivering healthcare software solutions, we’ve established a robust BI data analytics flow for more than 20 healthcare practices. We always select a unique integration approach to make sure the chosen BI solution satisfies a practice’s core needs.
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