Better Data Helps Christus Health Become Patient-Centric

Better Data Helps Christus Health Become Patient-Centric

With fifteen years of experience working with healthcare data, Alex Zimmerman, director of data management and business intelligence at Christus Health, was welcomed as a bit of a rock star at the recently concluded Informatica World 2016. Business and technology leaders from across industries had assembled specifically to hear him share his insights about data governance within the heavily-regulated healthcare industry. And Zimmerman didn’t disappoint.

Christus Health is an international, not-for-profit Catholic health system with more than 60 hospitals and long-term care facilities. Taking the stage for a panel on using agile techniques with MDM to garner business-led data governance in healthcare, Alex shared very useful nuggets on how Christus Health uses Informatica’s data management solutions to make the shift from being provider-centric to patient-centric.

In his long career in this field, recounted Zimmerman, he’d come to understand the fundamental, relationship-building power of patient trust. How do you build that trust? By knowing your patients and what they need, so you can be there for them with specific informed solutions. “Once our patients are out of our hospital, we don’t know what they are going to do,” said Zimmerman. “What we know is that we put some effort into establishing a relationship they perceive as having value. They know we are trustworthy because we have enough information about them and their clinical history to create a safe environment for them.”

The healthcare industry is experiencing a number of significant, transformative changes. Gone are the days when the focus was on the provider. Today, healthcare is all about the patient. Patients have a plethora of choices in doctors and hospitals, making it more important than ever to understand each patient’s health history in an effort to provide the most effective treatment and care. Hospitals must now look toward chronic disease management instead of acute episodic care. These changes are causing companies like Christus Health to rethink their data management strategy and do business differently. Zimmerman refers to this strategy as a “burning platform” which supports the major shift in focus from a provider-centric to patient-centric view. It was a daunting challenge in four specific ways Zimmerman cited: redundancy, consistency, accuracy, and completeness.

Christus established a Data Governance committee, encompassing both IT and business stakeholders, guided by an overarching principle to maximize the value of their information assets. To accomplish this, Christus recognized that they needed data quality, data governance and master data management. Christus partnered with Informatica to help solve their data challenges utilizing a host of Informatica tools, including Power Center, Data Quality & Informatica MDM. They were able to strategically manage patient data in a central MDM hub and connect it to the data warehouse and visualization tools for trusted analytics. Zimmerman collected their learnings into five Master Data Management steps he shared with the crowd:

  • acquire source data
  • run auto match and merge
  • manage exceptions
  • create a Golden Record
  • deliver Master Data to your constituents.

The Christus system today allows patients to stay informed in reliable ways, and arms doctors with access to a level of detail that lets them take care of those patients appropriately. “We were able to design this platform with strong involvement from our data stewards, by engaging the data governance team with regular meetings and maintaining a consistent agenda,” said Zimmerman, “and by persuasive use of the data available.” By being able to show value more quickly, they were able to get secure additional support from the business. For example, Zimmerman shared, “From the first minute we went live with the Procure to Pay dashboard, leveraging MDM to synchronize our systems, with one click, we discovered a discrepancy with a vendor that allowed us to save $250,000”. This significant savings bolstered support, accentuating the partnership between business and technology, a key component to success.

Missed Informatica World? Connect with me and join us in London on October 20th for the MDM 360 Summit. To learn more about Informatica and Christus Health, please visit our website to view the full Christus Health success story.