When the leadership at Hennepin Healthcare asked their data team for a new executive dashboard, they didn’t just need data at their fingertips.
They needed to be able to look up a metric, like hospital admissions for the week, and understand 1) how the “hospital admission” metric is being defined, 2) what that metric includes, and 3) where to get answers if there are follow-up questions.
With a network of clinics, a 473-bed hospital, and thousands of patients served each year, this dashboard would be pulling together data from dozens of different sources, and the team knew they’d have one big challenge in particular: aligning the metrics.
No one was reading from the same script.
It had been clear for a while there was a problem with the way different departments were defining their metrics. For example, when the financial team talked about “length of stay”, they were measuring the number of “full days” a patient was in the hospital, whereas the clinical staff was measuring length of stay in hours, from the time a patient was admitted until they were discharged. Having two different definitions was understandable, but, in the new dashboard, it would have to be crystal clear what both of those definitions were and which version you were looking at.
So Hennepin Healthcare called Compendium, a team of healthcare data experts that solves this challenge for healthcare organizations. The Compendium team brings a robust understanding of healthcare data, and they’ve developed a tool called the Healthcare Metric Hub that ensures every person throughout the entire organization is seeing consistent, accurate data.
What’s a Healthcare Metric Hub?
Compendium has developed a powerful, behind-the-scenes repository that enables healthcare organizations to easily define and manage their metrics. Becky Kohler, who, at the time, was Director of Informatics and Analytics at Hennepin Healthcare, knew they’d need this kind of support.
“It was really critical to be able to implement a solution that is one stop—where we understand the source of the data, we understand the definitions, there’s transparency to it,” she says. “So having the Metric Hub makes a huge difference for us.”
“Setting up the Metric Hub kind of forces us to have conversations like, ‘When you say X, are you talking about this? Or this? How do you actually define that thing?’”
— Becky Kohler, Director of Informatics and Analytics, Hennepin Healthcare
Compendium made it easy.
The startup time with the Healthcare Metric Hub is typically only a few weeks, so almost immediately the Compendium team was helping Hennepin Healthcare get their metrics in order—both inside the Metric Hub and throughout the organization.
Metric by metric, the Compendium team walked Hennepin Healthcare through the process:
- First, the metric developer would identify a data steward for each metric—a person who manages the definition of that metric. (For example, what does “patient stay” mean?)
- They facilitated conversations across departments so everyone could align on a single, agreed-upon definition.
- They entered that definition (and the data steward)—into the Metric Hub, so that anyone viewing data can quickly drill down to see how that metric is being defined and who has ownership of it.
To Becky and her team, this support was invaluable.
“It’s part of the work that goes unseen,” she says. “You see the dashboard, you see the metrics, you see the beautiful graphics. Agreeing upon one definition to put in there is the unseen work that has to go into it.”
The improvement is noticeable.
At Hennepin Healthcare, the dashboard is now a regular part of the executive leadership team meetings. Leaders will even pull it up in their hallway discussions.
Compendium’s Healthcare Metric Hub pulls data from every corner of Hennepin Healthcare’s organization, feeds it into their Power BI dashboard, and keeps it automatically updated without any extra effort from their data team.
“Leadership is very happy,” says Kim O’Brien, Information Architect at Hennepin Healthcare. “They’ll be talking about something and somebody will say, ‘Well, we can look at that in the dashboard,’ and they’ll log in and take a look and get some insights right there.”
Deb Balabon, who manages analytics at Hennepin Healthcare, agrees. “It’s allowed people to drill into the data and have good conversations. It’s giving them more transparency to identify gaps.”
Need help harnessing your healthcare metrics? Compendium provides smart strategy, hands-on support, and self-serve tools for today’s healthcare organizations. Learn more.