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
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
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".
Other reports Epworth generates from Cyberquery include those relating to
"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",
"Amongst other benefits, this data is
crucial in helping us review patient classifications in consultation with health
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",
"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
"The greatest strength of Cyberquery is its ability to help us make fully
informed decisions about many mission-critical aspects of the Hospital",
"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,