Healthcare and Law Enforcement: A Win-Win Partnership

Jon M. Deutsch
December 07, 2016

It’s always gratifying to hear from happy customers – especially in an intimate context such as the 2016 Healthcare and Law Enforcement Analytics Symposium that we recently hosted in Ontario. This was our third annual healthcare symposium in Canada, and this year we upgraded the event to include not just healthcare organizations, but also the law enforcement community.

Fifty-five participants from the Ontario region took part in the two-day symposium, and the feedback was overwhemlingly positive. The environment was collaborative, engaging, and open, reflecting the attendees’ desire to share and learn. They went away armed with valuable information and ideas to put into practice at their respective organizations.

Information Builders maintains an active presence in the Canadian healthcare and law enforcement sectors. It was intriguing to see how well these groups meshed in their common quest to serve the public good. There were lots of interesting discussions about how analytics can support the mutual challenges of improving patient care and ensuring citizen safety. In some cases we considered the direct overlaps among these disciplines, such as when law enforcement personnel are required to accompany suspected criminials to the hospital.

"Dealing with hospital patients brought in by law enforcement adds a whole different set of challenges," admitted Tara McGlynn, a decision support specialist at Grand River Hospital, who attended the event. "Having the opportunity to discuss similar issues with professionals from both communities, and collaborate on how our work is interrelated, was particularly helpful. I’m excited to take back to my team the information I've gathered at the symposium and leverage the experience to improve our processes."

The agenda was packed with customer presentations, roundtable conversations, thought-leadership sessions, and lots of networking opportunities. Popular topics included the economics of healthcare and law enforcement, with an emphasis on using analytics to improve staff utilization. Attendees heard from leading organizations about how to use analytics to improve patient care and citizen safety. Each session was designed for them to learn from each other and gain a better appreciation of their respective challenges. Prominent organizations in attendance included Quinte Health Care, Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Guelph General Hospital, Grand River Hospital, York Regional Police, Sierra Systems, and Conestoga College.

One particularly useful track focused on mental health synergies for both communities. We discussed how to do more with less by leveraging data and analytics for improved efficiencies. Robert Allen of the Police Services Professional Standards Unit said he welcomed the opportunity to learn how to leverage agency data to make intelligence-based decisions. “Using analytics to support risk management and being able to map out trends in crime adds sustainability to policing at very critical points,” he said. "[WebFOCUS] is a critical tool for making appropriate decisions in the deployment of resources."

As the inspector in charge of strategic service for York Region Police and a new member of the Information Builders family, Stuart Betts enjoyed the opportunity to discuss his experiences with his peers in both law enforcement and healthcare. His department recently purchased Information Builders' Law Enforcement Analytics (LEA) framework to create a predictive policing system for more than 2,100 police officers, commanders, supervisors, crime analysts, and support staff. “I’m looking forward to future partnerships and further discussions on how we both might improve practices through tighter working relationships," he said, "and sharing BI practices for the betterment of not only our organizations, but also the citizens we serve."

The take-home point was clear: By discovering patterns in the way patients and suspects are handled, healthcare and law enforcement professionals can identify best practices for their organizations. Hospitals can improve patient flow, care, and outcomes, while law enforcement can become more proactive in controlling crime and using civic resources more effectively.