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Common health care data analysis methods

Data gleaned from business intelligence systems is useless if it's not easy to read. This tip describes four common methods of data analysis for clinical and financial data.

We have discussed the different areas where business intelligence (BI) tools can help executives and staff make...

business decisions and conduct health care data analysis. However, it is just as critical to define how the information will be presented -- for any data to be usable and successful it simply needs to be easy to read and use.

Fortunately, as BI tools have evolved, they have put the end user in the driver's seat. While there is still a large amount of prep work that must be performed behind the scene -- preparing the data, integrating systems and defining the data models, to name three -- many of today's tools provide easy-to-use interfaces to support reporting and statistical data mining capability.

There are several different health care data analysis methods available for viewing and manipulating information. Four popular options are discussed below.

The pivot table, modeled after pivots in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, is a representation of summarized information in a multidimensional method. One way to use pivot tables is to define the total charges of physicians over period of time. Pivot tablets can also generate graphs that display, say, payment or charge trends over time.

Within scorecards users can find several pieces of information. One example would be a scorecard that contains some of the following meaningful use criteria in one area:

  • Median time from emergency department (ED) arrival to ED departure for admitted patients
  • Admission decision time to ED departure time for admitted patients       
  • Median time from ED arrival to ED departure for discharged ED patients

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