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by Dr. Gary Evan Day | Basel Shabani | Santosh Nair
Published on November 16, 2021

Previously, most of the data analysis performed at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City Ajman (SKMCA) occurred in spreadsheets, documents and similar forms of manually generated content. As a result, the analysis was not only time-consuming, surface-level and generic, but was unable to scale with the demands of increasing data. So, what was done to improve this process?

In this blog, Dr Gary Evan Day, Basel Shabani and Santosh Nair share their experiences of using the right tools, creating dashboards and providing training to drive informed decision making. 

Background of the project

The amount of data produced by the Cerner electronic health record (EHR) has exponentially increased with the rise in the amount of patient data. This has led to the need for a robust analytics solution. The performance team at SKMCA had been using standard tools like Excel data analytics and reporting; however, these tools eventually proved inefficient, causing confusion and obscurity in data due to replication. Traditional solutions like BusinessObjects Web Intelligence have often provided departmental managers with relatively static views of data, with limited ability for manipulation and analysis. Unfortunately, this has frequently led to the organization being inundated with requests for more insightful views.

How we made it work

The concept 

What SKMCA needed was an efficient business intelligence tool to manage business aspects like data access and data analysis. With Tableau, our teams have been able to deliver reports much faster, sometimes even reporting on a daily or hourly basis. The time saved has been used to carry out analysis and draw insights from the information.

Tableau is helpful for transforming data into actionable insights, providing an appealing visual layer for data analysis by a simple click and drag process. In addition, the tool provides various data presentation options that SKMCA stakeholders use to make informed decisions. Creating and sharing real-time dashboards proves to be an effective enabler for business decisions. The Cerner data analytics team has created a few essential Tableau dashboards as proof of concepts and upskilled the SKMCA IT team to pave a path towards building a solid data analytics team. For their part, SKMCA leadership has introduced Tableau to analyze and govern data on a selected set of business use cases and scenarios to help in decision making.

Cerner’s Data Analytics team built a customized mini-DataMart to store healthcare data ingested through SQL Server integration services. These are ingested through BusinessObjects via a secured layer (SFTP) to the SKMCA domain. The SSIS engine (SQL Server Integration engine) – which is an ETL tool – extracts, transforms and loads data into SQL Server Database. The Cerner data analytics team also volunteered to provide basic Tableau orientation to the IT team, so they can be self-sufficient in managing the enhancement and development of new visualizations. 

The benefits

  • The Cerner data analytics and visualization team created an interactive and flexible Tableau operational dashboard for departments to use for ad hoc analysis and reporting.
  • SKMCA’s team is now able to analyze the outpatient patient volume trends, surgical case volumes, and patterns to improve patient waiting times and revenue.
  • Tableau dashboards provide users and analysts with a new perspective on solving business problems.
  • The team is easily able to connect to data sources like MS SQl Server and Excel sheets. Along with this, a wholesome analysis is possible through a dashboard where data is integrated from many sources.
  • It supports self-service analytics where every user can conduct an individual analysis on the set of data concerning their domain of activity and suiting their site roles. Every Tableau user has identification credentials stored in Tableau’s local identity store, which they can access and work on Tableau dashboards using a single sign-on process.
The journey ahead

We aspire to create an approach where IT and business create a lighter process, enabling users to make the most of a self-service analytics strategy by having highly usable and easy to access healthcare data. In this endeavor, the IT team will upskill data analysts from each of the business units to create and manage their own dashboards, whilst the IT team focuses on developing platforms and empowering the business owners towards governed self-serviced analytics.


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