SAS(R) to sharpen performance at Duke University Hospital
ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 13, 2004 -- Accelerating the delivery of lab results to emergency room physicians. Increasing the number of intensive care patients transferred to the hospital from nearby community healthcare centers. Sending patients home sooner once they're healthy enough to leave. These are goals of the performance services team at Duke University Hospital of Durham, N.C., whose members are responsible for integrating performance metrics and Six Sigma performance improvement initiatives to improve patient care and satisfaction.
SAS, the leader in business intelligence, announced today that Duke University Hospital is using SAS(R) software to link performance targets and measurements with overall goals, communicate these targets to its five thousand employees throughout the organization, scrutinize the results with advanced statistical analysis, and launch Six Sigma projects to promote further improvements.
"We want to take our performance management program beyond reports of metrics and simple calculations of averages and percentages," said Bill Burton, the hospital's director of performance services. "When you are dealing with clinical quality and other issues facing healthcare providers, it is critically important to understand why certain key performance indicators have changed since the previous quarter. That is why we turned to SAS."
Duke University Hospital joins several leading U.S. healthcare facilities using SAS Performance Management for Healthcare software to change their processes and approach problems in fundamentally different ways. SAS helps hospitals improve the quality of the care they provide; strengthen their relationships with patients, employees, physicians and the communities they serve; and provide financial stability. These hospitals include Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston; Virginia's Centra Health; Maine Medical Center; and Yale New Haven Health System of southern Connecticut.
SAS(R) revs up performance improvement with powerful analytics, user- friendly access
In 2001, administrators at Duke University Hospital launched a performance improvement program by adopting a balanced scorecard approach that focuses on four key areas: quality of care, patient satisfaction, employee training and satisfaction, and financial performance. These scorecards helped link hospital strategies and goals to key performance indicators (KPIs) that demonstrate the hospital teams' progress toward meeting their goals.
Earlier this year, Duke University Hospital launched a Six Sigma program. This rigorous statistical analysis and systematic problem-solving approach breaks issues down into smaller components so that specific problems can be defined, results measured, and improvements delivered in a matter of months. The Six Sigma effort at Duke University Hospital already has made significant improvements in a number of areas.
For instance, sometimes personnel in the hospital's transfer center reluctantly have to deny transfers from other community hospitals because all of the beds in the intensive care units (ICUs) are already full. A Six Sigma team examined the reasons for these denials and worked side by side with individual clinical service unit teams to identify ways to reduce the number of denials. By increasing the availability of "step-down" beds for patients no longer requiring the full services of an ICU, expanding medical director oversight of the transfer process and implementing an electronic measurement tool that allows more accurate collection of data in real time, Duke University Hospital was able to reduce the number of denials due to lack of beds by 65 percent.
"We place a great deal of emphasis on living up to our reputation as a leading healthcare provider by doing everything we can to accept patients from referring hospitals whenever possible," Burton said. "It has been very gratifying to see how the work we have done to improve performance produces a positive, direct effect on patient care."
Traditionally, Duke University Hospital has relied on spreadsheets to create scorecards that measured and analyzed key metrics such as the number of denials due to the lack of available beds. While these scorecards have improved hospital performance in a number of areas, progress had slowed due to the limitations inherent in using spreadsheets. Scorecards don't allow users to drill down and see the numbers feeding into the KPIs. Data feeding into the spreadsheets resides on disparate systems that are not linked. Scorecards report what happened without ascertaining why it happened. Also, scorecards must be updated by hand, a time-consuming process that can introduce errors.
By employing SAS(R) Performance Management for Healthcare software as part of the hospital's performance improvement efforts, the performance services team has advanced to a higher level of sophistication. Using Web-based scorecards at the hospital, clinical service unit and department levels, hospital personnel automatically update and analyze key measurements of performance, quickly alert users to measures falling short of pre-defined targets, and link performance initiatives to actual results.
"The scorecards provided by SAS show us what is working well and what requires improvement," Burton explained. "Six Sigma provides a framework for evaluating pertinent issues and making improvements, and then the scorecards come into play again with reports and analysis of the results of our Six Sigma efforts."
An overall hospital-level scorecard was first offered at the beginning of November, while scorecards for 10 different clinical service units are scheduled for implementation in January 2005. Individual patient care units will start seeing their own customized scorecards next summer.
Today's announcement was made at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's 16th Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care, which attracts nearly 4,000 attendees in person and an additional 6,000 participants via satellite. Attendees can meet with representatives from SAS at Booth #618.
About Duke University Hospital
A tertiary and quaternary-care hospital, Duke University Hospital is consistently rated one of the top hospitals in the United States. It houses comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic facilities including a regional emergency/trauma center; a major surgery suite with dedicated open-heart operating rooms; an endosurgery center; and an extensive diagnostic radiology area. The facility also functions as a research hospital where medical advances are achieved and applied, and as a teaching hospital for students of medicine, nursing, and the allied health sciences.
SAS is the market leader in providing a new generation of business intelligence software and services that create true enterprise intelligence. SAS solutions are used at more than 40,000 sites - including 96 of the top 100 companies on the FORTUNE Global 500(R) - to develop more profitable relationships with customers and suppliers; to enable better, more accurate and informed decisions; and to drive organizations forward. SAS is the only vendor that completely integrates leading data warehousing, analytics and traditional BI applications to create intelligence from massive amounts of data. For nearly three decades, SAS has been giving customers around the world The Power to Know(R). Visit us at http://www.sas.com .
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