updated: 1/24/2013 8:16:26 AM

Association to Offer Data Service to Rural Hospitals

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

An initiative is being launched to improve data resources for rural health care providers. The Indiana Rural Health Association has announced a plan to offer a customized software and data management suite to hospitals throughout the state.

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January 23, 2013

News Release

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Rising healthcare costs, changes in federal reimbursement, and increasing complexity of federal and state regulations can impact the operational health and well-being of Indiana hospitals and healthcare practices in rural Indiana. To combat this and help provide a level competitive healthcare playing field, the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) will begin offering SuiteSTATS, a comprehensive enterprise-level data and management strategic resource, according to Don Kelso, IRHA executive director.

"While serving close to one million Hoosiers, Indiana hospitals and practices in rural settings and small towns must daily cope with complex changes, changing business drivers, and market shifts that challenge all segments of the healthcare service industry," Kelso said. "One of the toughest challenges is having ready access to critical data and the systematic capacity to effectively analyze and apply that data against best practices for continuous improvement of healthcare delivery."

This comprehensive need led IRHA to identify and provide new critical services for its associated hospitals and practice groups. After intensive research, IRHA contracted with iVantage Health Analytics, a Maine-based healthcare analytics firm, to develop and offer SuiteSTATS, a customized software and data management suite, to small city-focused and rural Indiana hospitals.

"Smaller hospitals often have limited IT budgets and can face a tough challenge in collecting hospital-wide performance data and making it available to administrators, physicians and healthcare professionals," said Cindy Large, SuiteSTATS advisor and IRHA project director. "Using an easy-to-use executive 'dashboard' format, healthcare professionals can quickly analyze performance data through SuiteSTATS and use the results to help maximize high-quality healthcare delivery, strategic physician alignment and improved levels of patient satisfaction."

Kelso noted that Indiana rural hospitals generally already receive high marks for performance and healthcare delivery. "The fact of the matter is that, generally speaking, a patient is going to receive more personal attention and healthcare focus at a rural hospital than at one of the very large multi-campus hospitals in sizable urban areas," explained Kelso. "The rural hospitals all have collaborative agreements with larger hospitals with more elaborate and equipped specialty facilities, so patients who need specialized care or emergency high-level service can quickly be referred or speedily transferred." Maintaining that high performance and personal touch is critical.

Day-to-day planning and operational costs of rural hospitals must be carefully controlled and managed in order for these smaller facilities to stay in business, Kelso noted. "Everyone knows that the healthcare service arena is going to get tougher, so this SuiteSTATS service will help our IRHA member hospitals and practices maintain a solid financial position, top performing healthcare facilities and strong clinical operations," he said.

According to Large, who also is a Registered Nurse with considerable healthcare experience, SuiteSTATS will help hospitals collect, sort and analyze performance and financial data quickly. "SuiteSTATS will enable administrators and healthcare professionals to spot emerging challenges and address them before they become a problem," she explained. "A hospital using SuiteSTATS can analyze whether their strategic objectives are being achieved and quickly take action to meet challenges or take advantage of improvements."

The new program also helps identify and facilitate practice and physical operational growth opportunities. "Many rural areas need hospitals with expanded services, particularly those with an aging population or who are trying to support local economic development activities in attracting companies whose workers have high healthcare needs," Kelso said. "SuiteSTATS will help administrators plan more efficiently with a high degree of strategic focus for their individual communities."

The enterprise portfolio offered through SuiteSTATS (and powered by iVantage Health Analytics) includes:

-iBenchmarks, a service that connects rural hospitals across the enterprise in a manager-to-manager setting, which helps solve problems and develop specific action plans. iBenchmarks includes an OPPE (Ongoing Professional Practice Evaluation) component, which is required by accredited hospitals to track physician, hospital and healthcare professional performance.

-The Knowledge Web, an online collaboration communication platform that helps hospital managers improve healthcare performance and delivery through best practices and peer-to-peer communication.

-Rural Performance Management (RPM), a Web-based program that uses a "balanced scorecard" concept to help hospitals link strategic objectives with actual performance.

-EnvisionHIT, a GIS application that supports healthcare business planning and market intelligence to help determine whether hospital can or should expand vertical practice groups (such as orthopedics or oncology) or new service centers.

Fees for using SuiteSTATS are either included in IRHA membership, or available at preferred rates, according to Kelso. Additional services and discounts are available to all Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network (InSRHN) members.

The SuiteSTATS program will be formally launched during the Annual IRHA "Spring into Quality" Conference at Primo West in Plainfield, Indiana in March.

About the Indiana Rural Health Association

The Indiana Rural Health Association was organized in 1997 and is a nonprofit organization working to enhance the health and well-being of rural populations in Indiana through leadership, education, advocacy, collaboration, and resource development. The strength of the organization is through the present diverse membership and the founding organizers who are committed to impacting the health of citizens through the identification of rural health issues and through advocacy roles in both the public and private sectors. IRHA membership is made up of 2,600 diverse individuals and organizations, making it the largest rural health association in the nation, and a nationally recognized leader in rural health care. For more information, visit www.indianaruralhealth.org.

About iVantage Health Analytics

iVantage Health Analytics is a privately held company providing comprehensive and objective information and analytic solutions - to help hospitals and health systems strategically manage their operations during a period of significant health reform. The company brings together more than 30 years of successful industry expertise delivering quality data and innovative delivery platforms to ensure timely, concise, and relevant strategic action.

The company provides a single source of business intelligence to help healthcare executives confidently manage under the complexities of the "new" healthcare. iVantage Health consolidates all of the different and new measurements required under health reform - Market supply conditions are integrated with measures of patient safety, quality, efficiency, affordability, patient satisfaction, and population demand which are delivered through a comprehensive dashboard platform, iVantage Health offers clients the ability to integrate disparate data from their existing platforms giving them a comprehensive view of their operations, finance, and market realties and influences.

Source: The Indiana Rural Health Association

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