SAS Institute Inc. launched SAS Data Integration for Health Care, a business intelligence system for the Canadian health-care industry based on the SAS Business Analytics Framework.
The data integration and reporting system automates information aggregation and reporting across multiple sources, tracks clinical performance indicators and consolidates data from hospitals, regions and Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).
SAS has something very sustainable and useful here because performance management in the hospital setting has been a very difficult nut to crack, said Pat Finerty, VP of Alliances and Business Development for SAS Canada.
“People know how to calculate return on investment and return on capital, but when you’re calculating mortality ratios and C. difficile infection rates and wait times and case costing, things of that nature, the calculations can sometimes run 10 to 20 pages long,” he said.
Analysts spend less time consolidating data and more time improving outcomes because SAS automates processes, according to Finerty, including 48 clinical indicators used in the Canadian healthcare system.
The centrally-managed system also helps decision support professionals meet regulatory requirements. Every time a ministry changes a requirement, hospitals have to rework all the numbers in every report that this information is used throughout their system, said Finerty.
The ability to change one calculation and have it automatically deployed throughout the system saves hours of work every time those changes occur – and they do regularly occur, he explained.
While hospitals with existing SAS systems are targeted, SAS Data Integration for Health Care is platform-independent and can work with other systems, including those from Cerner Corp.and Medical Information Technology Inc., better-known as Meditech.
Every BI vendor says its product is platform-independent and sometimes this is hard to believe, said Gareth Doherty, research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group Inc. But SAS differs from vendors like Oracle Corp., SAP AG and IBM Corp. because of the direction they are coming from, he said.
“They are what some people call pure play…SAS has always been a statistical analysis company, so in that sense, they’ve remained agnostic with respect to the platforms,” said Doherty.
SAS offers the “Cadillac of all BI suites,” according to Doherty, and recently reorganized its position in the market.
“Now they refer to their suite of applications as business analytics, as opposed to what other vendors called business intelligence. That’s a way of trying to distinguish themselves from the competition because their focus has been on the analysis,” he said.