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Healthy ramifications

This article appears in the issue June 2003 [Volume 12, Issue 6]

A leading cancer research and care center in Boston is using business intelligence software to improve safety, efficiency and staff satisfaction at its 20 cancer clinics. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, has turned to the software to enhance patient care flow and research data collection.

Dana-Farber's 2,000 employees can view reports that include the latest information about patient flow, staff schedules, service volumes and clinical trials, thanks to the BI solution from Business Objects . The reports are compiled using the query, reporting and analysis solution, and then distributed to staff using Business Objects Broadcast Agent, a reporting and broadcasting server.

"We like to think that our employees have a 'dashboard on their desktop' so they can individually gather the necessary information to run our clinics," says Joe Elliott, project specialist for the institute. "Crowded clinics not only lead to increased patient wait times and stressed staff, but also make it harder to provide safe care. The software gives us the ability to ensure that patient volumes are manageable, and thereby allows us to provide better and more efficient care."

According to a recent news release, Dana-Farber monitors the number of patients scheduled at each clinic daily, and reports alert workers when the volume is at capacity, so schedulers can move appointments to different days and times. The institute also uses the reports to track and analyze the type of services provided to patients, and whether those services have increased over time. That information helps management predict future staff, equipment and space needs.

Furthermore, the software helps support a wide variety of clinical research activities. John Orechia, reporting team leader for Dana-Farber, says, "Patient volume reports by cancer type, sex and other demographics are essential for obtaining millions of dollars in grants from government agencies, private foundations and corporations." The BI software helps researchers recruit participants, manage study operations, monitor data quality and generate research papers


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