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Impact of a data warehouse model for improved decision-making process in healthcare

By Pubudika Kumari Mawilmada


The health system is one sector dealing with a deluge of complex data. Many healthcare organisations struggle to utilise these volumes of health data effectively and efficiently. Also, there are many healthcare organisations, which still have stand-alone systems, not integrated for management of information and decision-making. This shows, there is a need for an effective system to capture, collate and distribute this health data. Therefore, implementing the data warehouse concept in healthcare is potentially one of the solutions to integrate health data. Data warehousing has been used to support business intelligence and decision-making in many other sectors such as the engineering, defence and retail sectors. The research problem that is going to be addressed is, "how can data warehousing assist the decision-making process in healthcare". To address this problem the researcher has narrowed an investigation focusing on a cardiac surgery unit. This research used the cardiac surgery unit at the Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH) as the case study. The cardiac surgery unit at TPCH uses a stand-alone database of patient clinical data, which supports clinical audit, service management and research functions. However, much of the time, the interaction between the cardiac surgery unit information system with other units is minimal. There is a limited and basic two-way interaction with other clinical and administrative databases at TPCH which support decision-making processes. The aims of this research are to investigate what decision-making issues are faced by the healthcare professionals with the current information systems and how decision-making might be improved within this healthcare setting by implementing an aligned data warehouse model or models. As a part of the research the researcher will propose and develop a suitable data warehouse prototype based on the cardiac surgery unit needs and integrating the Intensive Care Unit database, Clinical Costing unit database (Transition II) and Quality and Safety unit database [electronic discharge summary (e-DS)]. The goal is to improve the current decision-making processes. The main objectives of this research are to improve access to integrated clinical and financial data, providing potentially better information for decision-making for both improved from the questionnaire and by referring to the literature, the results indicate a centralised data warehouse model for the cardiac surgery unit at this stage. A centralised data warehouse model addresses current needs and can also be upgraded to an enterprise wide warehouse model or federated data warehouse model as discussed in the many consulted publications. The data warehouse prototype was able to be developed using SAS enterprise data integration studio 4.2 and the data was analysed using SAS enterprise edition 4.3. In the final stage, the data warehouse prototype was evaluated by collecting feedback from the end users. This was achieved by using output created from the data warehouse prototype as examples of the data desired and possible in a data warehouse environment. According to the feedback collected from the end users, implementation of a data warehouse was seen to be a useful tool to inform management options, provide a more complete representation of factors related to a decision scenario and potentially reduce information product development time. However, there are many constraints exist in this research. For example the technical issues such as data incompatibilities, integration of the cardiac surgery database and e-DS database servers and also, Queensland Health information restrictions (Queensland Health information related policies, patient data confidentiality and ethics requirements), limited availability of support from IT technical staff and time restrictions. These factors have influenced the process for the warehouse model development, necessitating an incremental approach. This highlights the presence of many practical barriers to data warehousing and integration at the clinical service level. Limitations included the use of a small convenience sample of survey respondents, and a single site case report study design. As mentioned previously, the proposed data warehouse is a prototype and was developed using only four database repositories. Despite this constraint, the research demonstrates that by implementing a data warehouse at the service level, decision-making is supported and data quality issues related to access and availability can be reduced, providing many benefits. Output reports produced from the data warehouse prototype demonstrated usefulness for the improvement of decision-making in the management of clinical services, and quality and safety monitoring for better clinical care. However, in the future, the centralised model selected can be upgraded to an enterprise wide architecture by integrating with additional hospital units’ databases

Topics: cardiology, clinical decision support systems, data marts, data warehouse, decision-making, information systems, healthcare, star schema, snow flakes schema
Publisher: Queensland University of Technology
Year: 2011
OAI identifier:

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