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Sutter Health Uses SAP HANA for Simplifed Personalized Healthcare

May 28, 2015 by Susan Galer 42

In most healthcare agencies, conversations about Big Data revolve around on creating a single version of the truth or standardizing on a common reporting platform. Northern California health network Sutter Health is taking its Big Data strategy one step further by turning data into valuable outcomes to improve the health of patients and the organization.

Sutter Health is one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit networks of community-based healthcare providers serving more than 100 communities. SAP HANA is helping these providers deliver the most personalized, affordable, high-value healthcare experience.

Vijay Venkatesan, Vice President of Enterprise Data Management at Sutter Health, brought an entrepreneurial mentality to build a platform for 21st century patient care.

“We decided to talk about two things only: is data a strategic asset, and how do we articulate the value to the people using it,” he said. “Our entire strategy is based on not what’s available today, but what can be possible tomorrow.”

At SAP’s recent SAPPHIRE NOW event, Venkatesan shared how Sutter Health is improving patient care, reducing readmissions, speeding up reporting and decreasing costs.

“We wanted to create a data vision, strategy and road map with the patient at the heart of it all,” he said. “We’ve renewed focus on using data for not only operations, but to drive the right care in the right setting for the right patient at the right time. We want to ensure privacy and security while building an ecosystem of platforms to make patient personalization real. SAP HANA has been a key ingredient in that.”

Consumer-driven approach to Big Data strategy

With multiple users across the company, easy accessibility was extremely important for us. “From operations trying to close the books at month-end or clinicians trying to deliver the right care, we needed a consumer-like consumption model,” said Venkatesan. “Users access the information they need by clicking on applications at a storefront while SAP HANA and Hadoop are behind the scenes managing all those catalogs of data. It’s truly a consumer-driven strategy.”

Even so, governance is crucial to ensure data integrity. “We don’t have a YouTube mindset when it comes to adding content,” said Venkatesan. “If someone adds content, we want to ensure it’s the right content and not a duplicate version.”

SAP HANA transforms with real-time insights

Quickly analyzing structured and unstructured data from many sources in real-time helps doctors at Sutter Health make more informed decisions faster. The positive impact on operations and patients has been profound.

“We want to see what’s happening now and what actions we can take to impact the care we provide to patients,” said Venkatesan. “SAP HANA with Hadoop as our open source platform has been a key enabling building block. By integrating hundreds of variables from our electronic health record with data such as social sentiment and FICO credit scores we can understand the socio-economic state of the patient. Maybe they’re living in a single car household or a neighborhood that doesn’t have easy access to care. We can respond immediately with transportation solutions, and factor information into our decisions about facility locations.”

Turning insights into action

Data collection, integration and analysis seamlessly takes place behind-the-scenes, simplifying and speeding up the right decisions at the point of care.  This changes analytics from outcome to action driver.

“When a physician is looking at patient’s chart, they should be able to say the ten actions the healthcare team should take because the analysis is complete,” said Venkatesan.

Shared platform ushers in next generation of healthcare

Challenging the status quo has worked at Sutter Health because clinicians are seeing the value of cost-effective, real-time analytics. Employees have been part of the change process with in-depth training and hands-on experience. They’ve understood that the goal is not consolidation, but powerful convergence.

“Executives, patients, clinicians and operations understand what’s in it for them,” said Venkatesan. “The portal, which we call “We Connect You,” simplifies the help we provide and the partnership we achieve by connecting people with the data to enhance our care.”

In changing the conversation about Big Data, Sutter Health has discovered what’s possible when analytics are pervasive across an integrated network of care and patients come first: brilliant innovations in personalized care.

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