The Business of Healthcare Analytics

Jon M. Deutsch
November 16, 2016

As someone who keeps a close eye on the penetration of analytic technology into the healthcare marketplace, I was happy to see Information Builders recognized in the KLAS Enterprise Healthcare BI 2016 report as one of the top BI vendors based on customer reports about value, scalability, and ease of use. Information Builders is positioned as a leader in the business intelligence and data management arena, ranking favorably among pure-play healthcare analytics vendors. KLAS scored Information Builders above platform providers such as Microsoft, IBM, SAP, and Oracle due to WebFOCUS’ overall flexibility and the level of insight it provides, with special mention for value, executive involvement, delivery of new technology, and the quality of phone and web support. The report named Information Builders as one of the top three vendors providing the “long-term value and outcome delivery needed to make a large clinical impact.”

Information Builders’ ranking should be considered within the broad context of the report, which included pure-play “niche” vendors that focus exclusively on the healthcare domain, as well as general-purpose BI & analytics vendors. Niche vendors, which focus only on healthcare analytics rather than on enterprise BI, received attention for their complete clinical flows and the plethora of healthcare-specific applications offered. However, as Information Builders’ enterprise customers are quick to point out, domain-focused vendors lack the full range of intelligence, integration, and integrity capabilities embodied in the WebFOCUS and iWay platforms. And for many healthcare organizations, having a broad enterprise focus is essential.

These organizations rely on our technology not only to build clinical workflows, but also to create analytic applications for finance, administration, and many other operational domains. When it comes to guided self-service and data visualization, WebFOCUS offers a compelling value proposition to these customers. Omni-Patient adds a healthcare-specific data model that continues to get richer, with unique capabilities across the continuum of care. Use cases include physician engagement, quality metrics, re-admit analysis, and care management analytics.

Unlike most of the other vendors featured in the report, Information Builders excels at data management, data quality, data preparation, and data integration—essential capabilities for any enterprise-scale analytic initiative. The KLAS report does not address these important data management issues, yet this is where Omni-Patient brings unique and powerful value to the marketplace, including the “single view of the patient” journey, code chaos, metrics management, data quality and data governance, and the systematic enrichment of data.

Many healthcare customers work with Information Builders to create immediate value on the clinical side, then scale to accommodate other domains. Having robust tools such as Omni-Patient for preparing source data is an important differentiator. Niche vendors provide packaged data models that are costly to modify once you step outside of their circumscribed domains.

While the report anecdotally inferred that Information Builders does not put enough attention into proactive communication with its clients, the numerous industry awards we receive each year for stellar customer service indicate otherwise. Information Builders’ commitment and growing investment in healthcare remains steadfast, as evidenced by our expanding healthcare advisory council and the many positive testimonials from healthcare organizations around the country. Information Builders is proactively invested in the healthcare community and frequently singled out for its commitment to these customers. The healthcare track at our annual Summit user conference is always enthusiastically attended, and typically features up to ten healthcare organizations as presenters.

In summary, KLAS ranks Information Builders well above most healthcare analytics vendors. While a subset of the pure-play vendors currently have an edge within their targeted spheres of influence, that gap is closing fast—and these niche vendors offer only a fraction of Information Builders’ capabilities in enterprise data management and analytics. Value and ROI are important attributes of successful analytic initiatives, and KLAS criticized some of these niche vendors as “charging for every little thing.” According to the report, Information Builders is one of “the only cross-industry data warehouse vendors whose customers feel they get their money’s worth.”

One final word, from a decision support manager at a large healthcare organization quoted in the report: “WebFOCUS is very user friendly for a developer because we can build whatever we want, and from the consumer perspective, we can build anything from simple dashboards to very complex, multi-dimensional reports. We can pull data in from any data source we want and we don’t have to do any detailed data modeling work.”