Finding Wheelchairs in 1s and 0s: The Power of Location in Data

March 22, 2012

RTLS (real time location systems) have long been embraced by retailers to monitor store foot traffic and secure merchandise. Today, hospitals are also making use of the technology. RTLS systems are used to track and identify the location and status of objects in real time, using sensors that monitor physical or environmental conditions, such as temperature, sound, vibration, pressure, or motion.

For healthcare providers RTLS means hard-dollar savings! With thousands of assets in constant motion each and every day, it becomes very difficult know what is used where, when, and why. These assets are core to providing care; therefore, dirty, in-use, or broken equipment can completely break the processes that take place in healthcare facilities. Simple activities like finding a piece of equipment can consume most of a caregiver’s time, slowing down patient flow, adding costs, and even impacting patient care.

How can a healthcare organization overcome this issue and put their location data into real use? —>By using powerful analytics. Let’s explore. There are two types of analytics:

1. Historical analysis. By understanding the actual utilization rates of equipment, hospitals can better estimate the inventory levels they need to have on hand, tailoring future purchases to maintain optimum inventory levels.

2. Real-time analysis. Monitoring the usage of equipment in real time and providing alerts when rental equipment is sitting idle, or when a piece of recalled piece of medical equipment enters a patient room,  or when par levels of clean and available equipment are not maintained, boosts the performance of the organization, improves staff efficiency, increases patient satisfaction, and improves patient safety and quality of care.

A great example of applied analytics in healthcare is what Intelligent InSites has implemented within their enterprise RTLS Asset Management software solution. Using this tool, some of their customers save up to $30,000 a month by monitoring real-time information on rental equipment and eliminating unnecessary expenses, such as paying for unused equipment. Intelligent InSites embeds Pentaho Business Analytics as part of their RTLS software solution. Their RTLS healthcare platform enables hospitals and healthcare facilities to analyze data from RTLS and RFID tags on medical equipment, such as wheelchairs or IV infusion pumps, gaining visibility into the location or status of these assets, identifying operational bottlenecks, and ultimately improving their patients’ safety and satisfaction.

Great use case, great story! But what are some things to look for when you are searching for business analytics software?

1. Big Data Support. Sensor and wireless data are considered new and emerging sources of information. Data feeds from RFID/RTLS tags are typically stored in a NoSQL database, such as Hadoop HBase, MongoDB, CouchDB and XML data stores. While transactional sources, such as point-of-sales data, will continue to use relational data formats, the value of an analytics platform lies in the visibility that it provides across all sources of data, comparing and contrasting one data set to the other.  Be sure to look for a business analytics solution that has a broad spectrum of data source connectivity, including both un-structured and structured data sets.

2. Embedded Analytics. Aberdeen research shows that the greatest benefit of business intelligence lies in the value of embedded analytics within an enterprise app. Rather than asking your end users—namely doctors, nurses, administrative staff, and knowledge workers—to switch back and forth between their business processes and the analytical application to drive insight, you can cut the latency and deliver analytics in real time.

A great example of this is Intelligent InSites’ embedded analytics from Pentaho that provides data on asset locations, status, usage, utilization and availability, directly from the end user’s RTLS Asset Management application. At a glance, hospital staff can locate the nearest available wheelchair or stretcher, saving valuable time.

3. Power to the User. Given that most users in healthcare are doctors, nurses, and administrative staff, ease of use and an intuitive user interface is one of the most crucial selection criteria. These users should not only be able to easily read and understand packaged reports, but also have interactive design tools to build their own analysis and dashboards.

Selecting the right Business Analytics software for your location data requires some level of due diligence. Know that you are not alone: location-based intelligence and analysis is applied across all types of industries. Whether you are a retailer looking to understand your customer preferences, a hospital tracking your equipment and resources, or even a horse race sponsor connecting your race track data to betting shops and TV screens, analyzing real-time location data unlocks immediate value.

What location data are you analyzing? Drop me a comment.

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing
Pentaho


What do OEMs and Healthcare have in common?

November 28, 2011

What do OEMs and Healthcare have in common? This week, Pentaho is hosting exciting webinars featuring both topics. Attend both events from the convenience of your desk.

OEM Webinar – Wednesday, November 30th

Companies interested in embedding powerful analytics into their solution should make sure to register for a webinar exclusively for OEMs: Pentaho BI Server Content Integration. On Wednesday, November 30th, Anthony de Shazor, Enterprise Architect and VP of OEM Development Services, will explore the various strategies of exposing existing Pentaho reports and Analyzer reports in partner applications through lightweight integration technologies including HTTP and AJAX.

This is part of the exclusive OEM Tech Series. You can watch past OEM focused webinars here:

Healthcare Webinar – Thursday, December 1st

Rather than tell you the benefits of Pentaho Business Analytics for healthcare companies, we invited one of our customers to share their experience. St. Antonius Hospital is a leading clinical training hospital in the Netherlands with six outpatient locations servicing over 547,200 inpatients and 50,000 outpatients a year. Like many healthcare organizations, St. Antonius Hospital was faced with the challenge of improving patient care while reducing operating costs and complying with new government reporting standards, all the while lacking sufficient data analysis capabilities and a central data warehouse.

Attend the webinar on Thursday, December 1st to learn how St. Antonius used Pentaho to put business intelligence into the hands of doctors and administrators, enabling them to make better decisions that helped reduced emergency room turnaround times, streamlined operating room processes and improved preventive care.

Register now for these helpful webinars.


The Rise of Analytics in Healthcare – Part 1

November 15, 2011

Recently SearchHealthIT.com published a study revealing that today only 50 percent of healthcare organizations make extensive use of analytics. Yet, the rest are getting started (40 percent) or are planning to implement (10 percent) – see figure 1. This is no surprise. Like many industries, healthcare seeks to improve efficiency and reduce costs using analytics. But unlike many other industries, healthcare is a heavily regulated sector, shifting from a pay for service culture to a pay for performance approach. This requires healthcare providers to measure their quality of care performance metrics. In addition, the rise of evidence-based medicine is creating demand for analytics. Advanced analytics help providers gain scientific evidence for clinical treatments, instead of only using their conventional wisdom.

Figure 1

Among many interesting points, one interesting angle that the survey revealed is the predominant types of analytic functions that healthcare providers are looking to use in the near future. Based on this data in Figure 2, the two top analytics functions that the CIOs plan to use in the next two years include:

1. Health Information Exchange (42%)

2. Predictive Analysis of Diseases (43.6%)

Figure 2

Let’s explore the reasons behind each one:

Health Information Exchange

Historically, healthcare information systems have been built around special departmental needs. For example, a radiology department uses its own information system to log patient data, while laboratory services, patient admissions and urgent care each use their own systems to store information. This creates information silos, trapping patient data across multiple sources.

With the increasing populations of patients and higher demands for quality of care, having a single view of patients information has become much more important than what it used to be. However, because each of the information systems stores data in a particular shape, size, and format, creating a holistic view of a patient becomes increasingly harder.

To cope with this issue, HL7, a non-profit organization, has developed a set of standards for exchanging healthcare information. By using common standards, different information systems can communicate, exchange, and share information much easier.

Today HL7 is an international framework for information exchange among different healthcare organizations. More and more hospitals, health centers and medical services are adopting HL7 every day. With the growing adoption of these standards, the demand for data integration tools that can retrieve information from different repositories, parse, consolidate and transform it into these standards has become extremely high.

A vivid example of how better integration and exchange of health information has helped a healthcare organization accelerate its quality of care is St. Antonius Hospital. Based in The Netherlands and with six locations around Utrecht, St. Antonius Hospital uses Pentaho Business Analytics to build a holistic view of both hospital activities and patients. By using Pentaho as the central business analytics platform, St. Antonius was able to break down departmental silos, making data analysis available to the entire hospital staff, providing highest quality of care over a half-million patients a year.

Interested to find out how St. Antonius was able to overcome its health information challenges? Register for the webinar on December 1st: St. Antonius Hospital Improves Patient Services with Better Data Access and Analysis.

Stay tuned – in Part 2 of this blog, we will explore the reasons behind the high growth of Predictive Analysis of Diseases.

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing, Pentaho


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