Best of BI: Cancer Treatment Centers examines clinical data with BI

Cost savings and potential new revenue are nice, but this healthcare provider is using BI to improve patient outcomes.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America upgraded its BI program in March, replacing old software used to produce reports with QlikView to generate information that helps drive better business decisions.

The Schaumburg, Ill.-based healthcare provider uses QlikView to generate real-time information in dashboard form, a feature that in many cases has enabled CTCA employees to produce reports several days faster than they could with the previous BI system, says analyst Pavel Roytburd.

But the organization has seen even bigger benefits by using QlikView to gain insight into clinical trends.

"A part of this is the optimization side, so not only will we be driving that clinical excellence side, but we'll also be using these tools to reduce direct costs and weed out ineffective practices," Roytburd says.

The organization's pharmacy department is on the forefront of using analytics to accomplish these goals, says Joseph Coyne, the department's vice president.

"I was looking for a way to look at hundreds of thousands of lines of data to know what we were doing, and to take an enterprise that spans the U.S. and understand business practices, prescribing practices [and] outcomes, and to understand if one doctor was using something and another doctor was using something different and whether we could use that information to improve patient care," Coyne says. "Then, from a financial standpoint, [CTCA needed] to look at information about vendors and cost and ways to leverage contracting or ways to increase relationships with vendors."

In the future, Coyne says he plans to use QlikView to help predict what treatments will work best on certain patients. "All CTCA does is with the patient first and foremost in mind, and all this is driving toward improving patient care and patient outcome," he says.

Coyne sees the potential to not only gain insights that could improve medical care, but to also generate revenue. He says QlikView's analysis of data on patient outcomes and clinical trials could be used in white papers or sold to the pharmaceutical industry.

In the meantime, CTCA officials say they're continuing to expand the use of the organization's new analytics tool to increase efficiencies, drive down costs and improve patient care.

Next: Celestica uses BI to open a lucrative revenue source

Pratt is a Computerworld contributing writer in Waltham, Mass. Contact her at

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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