Success Stories

Mackinac Straits Health System: Business Intelligence

Implementing a BI solution to gain an instant and integrated view of hospital’s information.

business intelligence for healthcare

The Mackinac Straits Health System campus in St. Ignace, Michigan, overlooks Lake Huron. The system’s 15-bed critical access hospital also includes the Sault Tribal Health Center, a rural health clinic, a 48-bed skilled nursing facility, and five satellite clinics throughout northern Michigan.

Situation

Mackinac Straits Health System struggled with its ability to easily access its financial, operational, and clinical information from various electronic health record formats, let alone have a visual of it. The challenge was not only bringing together the health records at the hospital but also integrating data from its clinics and skilled nursing facility. All of its data was housed in different systems and each piece of information had to be “pulled” separately and then tabulated, requiring hours of labor just to have a static and historical view of
performance.

Extracting and compiling information in meaningful ways was arduous and timeconsuming. It would typically take hours to pull data, reconfigure it, and create any kind of analysis about the organization’s business—information that would be outdated by the time reports and other month-end viewswere created.

Strategy

Wipfli helped Mackinac Straits Health System by providing unprecedented access to its health care information through a business intelligence solution designed for the needs of rural hospitals. All of the information from the various systems was brought together in a single view, and the user-friendly, graphical representation allowed for quick and easy manipulation of the information. The custom dashboards now allows users to quickly see how the health system is performing, identify outliers, and take action accordingly, based on the story such current information reflects. 

Wipfli’s team first streamlined the data into one database and, within a few short weeks, rolled out valuable dashboards. To facilitate the process further, the firm developed dashboards in three strategic categories: financial, operational, and quality.

  • Financial. Wipfli’s team developed dashboards that provided insights into realtime information regarding the organization’s financial performance and allowed the health care system to identify areas for action. Chief among the capabilities is a view into accounts receivable, the lifeblood for many hospitals. The solution not only delivers a quick look at “days in receivable,” but also allows the organization to identify slow or problem receivables by payor, location, or service line, for example. The financial dashboard also offers real-time insights into billing, payments, adjustments, AR days, revenue by physician, location, and service line, as well as other factors critical to performance.
  • Operational. A set of dashboards was created focusing primarily on volumes, clinic and emergency room visits, and inpatient admissions. Trends in volumes can be explored, and the organization can better understand how it’s performing operationally based on volume metrics compared to years past, by physician, by location, or even by patient.
  • Quality. Dashboards let the health system use its data to monitor key quality metrics and also quantify them. Knowing that the dollar volumes associated with Medicare readmissions are at risk for critical access hospitals in the future, Wipfli’s team created a dashboard that allows the organization to examine readmissions and identify where they are being generated, by physician or diagnostic code, for example, and to take action accordingly. The business intelligence solution created by Wipfli is web-based, provides immediate access to information, and is highly intuitive. The learning curve to utilize this application is short, and the ability to export information into PowerPoint or Excel allows the team at Mackinac Straits Health System to analyze data and share results quickly with its Board of Directors and members of the leadership
    team.

In addition, Wipfli continues to hold quarterly check-in meetings bringing together a health care expert and technology professional from the firm to meet with the user group. Together they review what’s working, what can be improved, and help uncover insights in the data that may be overlooked.

Benefits

Using sophisticated business intelligence tools brought leading-edge thinking to Mackinac Straits Health System. It can now quickly analyze information across unlimited data dimensions. It can create meaningful reports in just a few clicks, explore trends, and even dive down to the individual patient record, instantaneously.

Now that information is available in logical dashboard views and in real time, versus waiting for special or month-end reports, the organization can reap the financial benefits that come with taking timely action. More of its people have all the information in real time, resulting in targeted improvements and faster, better decisions and improved financial, operational, and quality performance.

Mackinac Straits Health System continues to work with Wipfli to build out additional beneficial dashboards not only to enable the C-Suite team to apply business intelligence in their daily decisions, but also to dive deeper into operational performance at its clinics. Altogether, it’s an accessible and affordable solution paired with an iterative approach that puts ROI within reach for the critical access hospital.

“The team at Wipfli understood my constraints and implemented a business intelligence solution that allowed me to instantly have an integrated view of our hospital’s information. They understood my level of Excel knowledge and were able to develop dashboards that leveraged this knowledge. The solution Wipfli provided was intuitive and presented in a clear and understandable way, allowing me to take affirmative action.”
- Jason Anderson, Chief Financial Officer