2014 Data+ Editors' Choice Awards


A business intelligence platform helps hospitals reduce supply costs and improve quality of care.

2014 Data+ Editors' Choice Awards

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Hospitals constantly strive to manage their costs and improve care, and HCA's HealthTrust Purchasing Group uses analytics to help them do that. A provider of supply chain and supplier contracting services to more than 1,400 member hospitals, HealthTrust developed a business intelligence platform and a customized analytics tool that allow members to examine their spending habits and identify opportunities to save money.

HealthTrust deployed MicroStrategy's enterprise BI platform and Cloudera's Hadoop-based data management platform to handle the ever-increasing types and volumes of data it processes.

The system analyzes past procurement and contract data, automated data extracts from hundreds of member hospitals, and supply data from distributors to help hospitals get a clearer picture of their overall expenditures and the variety of supplies they use.

HealthTrust’s big data team HealthTrust

HealthTrust’s big data team: Michael Arnold and Kristin Caldwell (seated), and Don Eddleman, Syed Nasar, Jerry Robertson, Bobby Brown and Ashley Johnson.

"Hospitals tend to use different supplies for similar procedures without realizing it," explains Brian Abbate, senior business analyst at HCA. The analytics tool identifies cases where that is happening and shows their impact on cost.

For the project to succeed, HealthTrust had to persuade customers to trust the data, find or train people with the skills to manage the new platforms (which it did with the help of consulting firms), and integrate data with business partners.

One year later, "we have identified almost $13 million in savings to our members in their [pharmacy expenditures alone]," says Don Eddleman, director of architecture and integration. He adds that HealthTrust also improved its methods for ingesting, organizing and sharing data, which helped it reduce cycle times, improve quality and detect characteristics about the data more quickly.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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