The definition of BI varies drastically depending on whom you ask or what you Google. In “Healthcare Business Intelligence” I define BI as:
“BI is the integration of data from disparate source systems to optimize business usage and understanding through a user-friendly interface.”
But, if healthcare is different does that impact the definition of BI? I believe it does, and here’s why. If you look at the key elements of the definition, source systems, business usage and user-friendly interface all of those elements are fundamentally different in healthcare versus other industries.
To start with, our source systems are not for the faint of heart. Electronic health records are complicated systems that have often been significantly customized. Business usage in the case of healthcare not only includes ‘business’ people, such as administrators, but also includes physician leaders who consume data in a completely different way than an executive. User-friendly just scratches the surface when you have end-users that log on only monthly or quarterly to meet the hundreds of regulatory requirements that are the reality of healthcare today.
I propose an updated definition of BI for healthcare:
“The integration of data from clinical systems, financial systems, and other disparate data sources into a data warehouse that requires a set of validated data to address the concepts of clinical quality, effectiveness of care, and value for business usage.”
This definition not only addresses disparate data but also the quality aspect of data, which is key in a successful healthcare BI deployment. The definition also addressed the clinical perspective of data and usage.
It’s true that healthcare is a business, but it’s more than that. It’s a specialty, it’s a service provided regardless to margins, it’s an art and a science and as such healthcare BI is equally unique.
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