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Epworth Hospital
Medical case study: Epworth Hospital
Stronger competition and reduced margins are commonplace in business today. In this environment it is very important for all commercial organizations to closely analyze every source of revenue and expenditure. Only by doing this can sound business decisions be made. No longer is it acceptable to be only 75% sure that a particular initiative will deliver a return on investment - these days there is no room for error.

And so it is with the health care industry, where every private hospital faces an ongoing challenge. That challenge is to provide high quality health care at a cost that is acceptable to health funds and the community but which also enables the hospital to function profitably. Private hospitals like the Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, Australia are investing in innovative technology that takes the guesswork out of forecasting and analyzing revenue and expenditure.

A great strength of Cyberquery is its ability to help us make fully informed decisions about many mission-critical aspects of the hospital.

With more than 500 beds and a staff of over 1,000, Epworth is the largest private hospital in the southern hemisphere. In response to a need for better reporting capabilities, Epworth purchased Cyberquery from Cyberscience Corporation. A powerful database query tool and report writer that turns raw data into valuable information, Cyberquery is designed to meet the information needs of everybody in an organization regardless of the technical skills of the person requiring the information.

To help optimize managerial decision-making at Epworth the characteristics of each 'bed day' are analyzed in detail with help from Cyberquery. "Like any other hospital, Epworth needs to be able to generate and analyze all factors that can influence our revenue generation processes", said Jeanette Reicha, IT Manager and Associate Director of Services at Epworth Hospital. "The regular production of comprehensive bed day data is an essential part of this process. To be of maximum value to us, this data must be broken up into different elements, for example bed day by health fund, by operational procedure, by length of stay and so on. If the Hospital experiences a sudden fluctuation in the typical length of stay of our patients, I am able to use Cyberquery to drill down into the database and find out why. The reason may, for example, be something that can have a real impact on our revenues and on the way we deliver our services."

"Using Cyberquery, we are able to produce this information instantaneously whenever it is required. The value of this data comes from the fact that it is completely up-to-date and provided in sufficient detail as to allow managers to pinpoint areas where action needs to be taken. Previously, the Hospital was unable to produce such a diverse range of reporting at such a detailed level".

If the Hospital experiences a sudden fluctuation in the typical length of stay of our patients, I am able to use Cyberquery to drill down into the database and find out why.

Other reports Epworth generates from Cyberquery include those relating to 'step-down'. "Cyberquery enables us to interrogate our database to find out how many patients have become step-down patients as well as other factors relating to the step-down period", said Jeanette. "Amongst other benefits, this data is crucial in helping us review patient classifications in consultation with health funds".

Prior to the implementation of Cyberquery, the Hospital occasionally had to outsource its report generation tasks. According to Jeanette, this process was slow and not very cost effective.

"In the past, when reports were outsourced our report production turnaround time would be several weeks or months", she said. "But now using Cyberquery we can have the reports done in an instant, and at far less expense. Cyberquery also enables us to tailor the reports to our specific needs - something we couldn't do when we were outsourcing that task".

"We are also now able to produce reports based on information that we were previously unable to source. This high level of data interrogation is serving as a powerful management tool."

Although Epworth has only had Cyberquery for a short time, it has already brought enormous benefits to the Hospital. By identifying which procedures can produce a return on investment and which cannot it has enabled more powerful and informed decision making; by obviating the need to rely on external report providers it has reduced expenditures of time and money; and by enabling the Hospital to access very important information that has not been accessible before it has boosted productivity.

"The greatest strength of Cyberquery is its ability to help us make fully informed decisions about many mission-critical aspects of the Hospital", says Jeanette. "Epworth has gained a diverse range of benefits from the product of which one of the most important is enhanced decision making".

As the Epworth Hospital continues to apply leading edge technology to help it meet its business goals, Cyberquery is set to continue to play an important, ongoing role.

 
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