Person reviewing spreadsheet of healthcare analytics on laptop

Improving hospital department efficiency and reducing costs

Our health care system is only as good as the sum of its parts. That means we have to ensure each of our OSF HealthCare facilities, departments and Mission Partners are performing to the top of their abilities, both clinically and economically. But how do we know who is achieving goals? How do we find opportunities for improvement?

Healthcare Analytics, a part of OSF Innovation, collaborates with leaders across the Ministry to create dashboards and explorers that pull and refine complex data. The information gathered from these tools helps executives, managers and providers make informed decisions about everything from operations to patient experience.

For many years, OSF HealthCare used external software to view charge codes and detailed department-level data for all hospitals in the organization. This information is used to measure financial performance in each hospital department.

“This analytics platform wasn’t very intuitive,” said Eliza Montgomery, a senior financial analyst for OSF HealthCare. “You couldn’t just point and click to build a report. You had to have a couple of days of training and a little bit of programming knowledge to operate that tool.”

In 2016, Healthcare Analytics built the Hospital Charge Explorer to give leaders access to this same information in an easier way.

Hospital Charge Explorer

With 161 million transactions and 8 million accounts, the Hospital Charge Explorer gives users the ability to dig deep into the departments of each hospital. Data can range from a department’s contribution margin all the way to specific services provided for patients.

“Management expert Peter Drucker said, ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,”’ Eliza said. “By giving our department leaders ready access to patient financial and clinical information, they have a better opportunity to improve efficiency and drive down the cost of care for us and our patients.”

The Hospital Charge Explorer also gives leaders insight into patient and market demographics to make informed decisions on improving or expanding services.

“For example, if OSF was interested in expanding a particular procedure, a logical first step is understanding as much information about patients as possible,” said Ross Payne, a senior business intelligence analyst with Healthcare Analytics. “This can include knowing how many individuals are receiving this service, how old they are, how far they must travel to gain access to this procedure and many other statistics.”

With this information, leaders can use this data to predict the best places to offer this service and enhance marketing efforts.

Easy to use

All information in the Hospital Charge Explorer is standardized, meaning anyone using the tool can pull the same data in the same way. Information is aggregated on a daily basis. Users can also bookmark preferred reports.

“This is our window into the charge detail in our electronic medical record and all of the coding information that goes with patients and their charges,” Eliza said. “It’s a one-stop shop that’s very easy to get to, and I don’t have to put in a data request for the information I need. That’s important to me and my job.”

Last Updated: February 11, 2022

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About Author: Denise Molina-Weiger

Denise Molina-Weiger is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since March 2015. She initially came to OSF to write about the work taking place at the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, one of the world’s largest simulation and innovation centers and went on to become the Media Relations Coordinator for OSF Innovation which was developed to help the hospital system lead the way in transforming care.

Before joining the OSF HealthCare team, Denise was a reporter for Peoria Public Radio for ten years, writing on everything from politics, housing and transportation issues to hospital care in the region. She earned her bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting from Western Illinois University in 2003 and received her master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2004.

Denise lives in West Peoria with her husband, son and two crazy dogs. In her spare time, she likes to snuggle on the couch with her family and watch cooking shows on Netflix. She loves taking road trips with her family and then complaining about it when they are over.

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Categories: Innovation