Seattle Children's Improves Patient Care with Better Insight, Faster

When you’re an organization committed to saving lives, the more you remove waste from systems and processes the more resources become available to put towards patient care. Seattle Children’s—the 6th highest ranked children’s hospital in 2013 according to U.S. News & World Report—discovered ways to “virtually increase beds” and treat more patients.

More People Turning Data into Insight, More Quickly
”We are continuously looking for new ways to improve our quality, safety, and processes from the time a patient is admitted to the time they’re discharged,” says Drexel DeFord, Senior Vice-President and Chief Information Officer at Seattle Children’s. “So we spend a lot of time analyzing data associated with those visits.”

To more quickly turn patient and hospital data into insight, Seattle Children’s implemented Tableau Software’s business intelligence application. Tableau fundamentally changed what Seattle Children’s could do with data by providing browser-based, easy-to-use analytics to stakeholders throughout the organization, making it intuitive for individuals to create visualizations to understand what the data means.

“We’re seeing Data Analysts, Business Managers, and Financial Analysts as well as Clinicians, Doctors, and Researchers all using Tableau in different ways to solve different problems in ways that we couldn’t do on our own before, largely because we didn’t have enough time or enough people,” explains Ted Corbett, Director of Knowledge Management at Seattle Children’s.

“With Tableau, more of our staff are able to develop visual systems on their own resulting in dashboards and scorecards which really help us define what the standard is, how are we achieving against it, and how are we growing into the future.”

Jason Jio, Seattle Children’s Administrative Director of Surgical Services explains, “In the past, we spent days, sometimes weeks developing something as simple as a patient volume-based dashboard. With Tableau, we’ve converted that to monthly dashboards and are looking at daily dashboards to improve day-to-day decision making.”

Shorter Wait Times Means Higher Through-put
The Surgical Services team at Seattle Children’s started using Tableau to see if they could measure patient wait times. What they discovered were steps they could take to reduce wait times and increase the number of patients served at the hospital.

“We were able to set up a fantastic visualization that showed some of the root causes and contributing factors for patient waiting,” explains Jio. “For example, we looked at some of our rooming practices and saw that delays early in the day cascaded to the rest of the day. It became very effective for us to really focus on on-time starts, and we’ve already seen significant improvement in patient waiting overall.”

“We have to continue to be able to treat as many kids as possible,” explains DeFord. “By making those processes more efficient, for all intents and purposes we created more beds, even though we didn’t physically build them.”

Read more about how Seattle Children’s is getting the most out its data to make an impact.