A very hot area of interest in the healthcare IT world these days is lab analytics, a type of business intelligence (BI) software. Under ACA, labs will be under extreme pressure to operate more efficiently and this requires a constant flow of operational metrics. Lab analytic software grabs information from the LIS and tweaks it to indicate the need for change, usually to improve business performance. The results are displayed in the form of a dashboard. This reminds me of the early days of specialized lab outreach software. The incumbent LISs vendors were unable or uninterested in developing comprehensive solutions of this type, allowing smaller software companies to move into the void.
The three lab analytic vendors I have identified thus far are Visiun, hc1.com, and Viewics. Major LIS vendors such as Sunquest, Cerner, and SCC Soft generally provide their own lab analytic modules which are sometimes excellent but sometimes inadequate by today's standards. A colleague has told me that analytic software provided by Epic is "lousy" as it pertains to an EHR dashboard, which may be the reason that the company recently announced an agreement with an Dimensional Insight (see: Dimensional Insight Announces Business Intelligence Vendor Agreement with Leading Healthcare EMR Software Company). Below is an excerpt from the article:
Dimensional Insight, a leader in business intelligence (BI) solutions in healthcare, ...announced that it has entered into an agreement that enables enhanced integration and support of The Diver Solution (Diver) with Epic. For healthcare providers, reimbursements are increasingly tied to quality measures and performance monitoring and analytics. Providers use Dimensional Insight's business intelligence and analytics to derive meaning from clinical, operational and financial data and gain insight into how costs, resources, quality and outcomes are interrelated and how actions impact results.....Florida-based Lee Memorial Health System, a 1,300 bed system handling 1 million patient contacts each year across its four acute care and two specialty care hospitals, is an example of a joint customer benefiting from this partnership.
Here's a cut-and-paste from the Dimensional Insight website (see: Healthcare Business Intelligence) with examples of some of the different types of reports that the company provides:
Staffing; Strategic Planning; Utilization
Physician Scorecarding; Quality; Patient Satisfaction; Outcomes
Budget Denials Management; General Ledger Payroll Analysis; Product Line Analysis
As readers of this blog know, my attitude toward Beaker, the LIS developed by Epic, is that it's an immature system but on a fast developmental path. However, a number of pathology departments, some quite complex (see, for example, Allina Health Begins a Phased Rollout of Epic's Beaker LIS), are in the process of installing it. If and when these departments seek a lab analytic solution, I suspect that Dimensional Insight would not have the experience to provide a product that would satisfy them and certainly not at the level of the three lab analytic companies cited above. One point of possible confusion for lab professionals is that Dimensional Insight often refers to itself as DI. This should not be confused with Data Innovations (DI), a company well known in the lab world.