ARRA on the Job / e-HIM Best Practices / Data Standards / Quality Care
Using Data to Improve Healthcare
Translating Publicly Available Data into Quality Improvement Initiatives
By Kristin Jenkins, JD, MBA, FACHE
DATA ARE OF no value unless they drive action. Action in healthcare has limited positive impact when it is uninformed or uncoordinated. Publicly available data can help organizations improve healthcare quality. However, getting the most out of these data requires the right tools. A data warehouse is one tool organiza- tions can use to leverage publicly available data to improve the quality of healthcare. A data warehouse is a database used for eporting and analysis. The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council (DFWHC) Founda- tion is a nonprofit corporation that works under the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council to promote safe, high-quality, cost-effective, accessible, and equitable healthcare. Here it shares how
using a data warehouse collaborative brings insights to its work.
DFWHC’s Data Warehouse
Since 1999 the DFWHC Foundation has used a proprietary all-payer, all-claims data warehouse collaborative called the Information and Quality Services Center. IQSC serves as a forum
where north Texas hospitals and health systems can share patient encounter information.
The warehouse contains claims information from 95 percent
of north Texas acute care hospitals, representing 7. 5 million patients and more than 25 million claims for in- and outpatient
Furthermore, a regional enterprise master patient index allows tracking of readmissions and repeat ER visits for patients
across the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Robust and easy-to-use
business intelligence tools allow hospitals to mine the warehouse for unique information to address healthcare issues.
Data use and quality assurance are overseen by a group of
hospitals working through IQSC. The provider community has
made a significant investment in obtaining this information.
Experts review the information to provide insight and wisdom
As a result, healthcare improvement efforts in north Texas are
now in full swing.
Healthcare Improvement Efforts
The north Texas healthcare community uses IQSC information
to meet the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Healthcare objectives.
The data set has also enabled the DF WHC Foundation to create
four new initiatives to improve the quality of healthcare in the
Community Health Collaborative
The DF WHC Foundation has created a Community Health Collaborative and a sister Web site, www.healthyntexas.org. The
collaborative combines information from the regional data
warehouse with national health, economic, and safety information to provide a comprehensive view of a six-county area encompassing Dallas-Fort Worth.
The information can be searched by disease state, health
condition, or community health issue. The collaborative is also
capable of separating information by geographic area. This information is used to find best practice information, prioritize
community health initiatives, and serve as a resource for researchers and grant writers hoping to bring health resources to
Participants include hospitals, physicians, community organizations, chambers of commerce, public health departments,