Over the last few years, a booming business has developed around promoting the belief in big data and analytics as the path to accelerating improvement in the performance of hospitals and the delivery of care. IBM Watson Health and Apple are two of the most notable names recently entering the market with claims of providing the right information to the right people to motivate change.

Steve Meurer, senior principal, Vizient Data Science and Member Insights, monitors these market developments and is often asked how Vizient’s Clinical Data Base (CDB) stacks up to these new tools and the promises that come with them. “It’s great to see the strides that health care is making in how it uses data. The ability these tools have to measure one hospital’s performance to others is essential for identifying not just where to improve but how to improve. And that’s where the CDB raises the bar. It makes performance improvement a team sport.”

According to Meurer, Vizient’s CDB is the only database available in which users who are contributing data have the ability to drill down to every other contributing hospital’s data by name. All other data tools only allow users to compare blindly by number of beds and/or geography.

“We have 130 teaching hospitals and 160 community health systems contributing clean data to a secure environment on all inpatient and hospital-based outpatient services on a monthly basis. More than 40,000 reports are generated each month by users and the result of this transparency of data is an environment that fosters networking and best practice sharing. When members reach out to each other, they problem solve as a team which accelerates learning and improvement,” said Meurer.

The CDB is useful for all patient types. As an example of the niche type of information in the CDB, a simple volume report for calendar year 2015 on pediatric, rehabilitation and psychiatric patients provides the following information:

  • 627,000 non-newborn pediatric patients, with eight hospitals having greater than 10,000 pediatric patients including New York Presbyterian (Columbia and Cornell), Vanderbilt, Montefiore, UH Case Western, Yale, Lucille Packard Hopkins and Michigan
  • 31,000 rehabilitation patients, with NYU, LA County Los Amigos and MedStar Good Samaritan hospitals leading in volumes with more than 1,000 patients each
  • 265,000 psychiatric patients, with Minnesota, Yale, Ohio State and Utah seeing more than 5,000 patients each

CDB users have the ability to drill into strengths and opportunities to the same level in these patients as they do in all other patients in the database. Each patient in the database has their own risk-adjusted expected values for mortality, LOS and costs specific to their clinical condition.  

Users are also able to transparently develop custom benchmarks and can view these patients by hundreds of variables, including:

• Procedure and discharge physician
• Comorbid conditions
• Lab values
• Utilization of drugs, lab tests, ancillary services, blood and diagnostics

“One other aspect that makes the CDB experience unique is the vibrant member community on our listserv. For example, we recently had someone post a question about logging expected day of discharge in electronic health records on the day of admission. There were 30-40 responses sharing experiences and process suggestions,” said Meurer. “It’s pretty cool to see what happens when people come together and problem solve.”

For more information about CDB, contact Steve Meurer.

Published: June 14, 2016