SOURCE: MIT Sloan Management Review

MIT Sloan Management Review

June 25, 2015 16:00 ET

A New Case Study From MIT Sloan Management Review Indicates That a Health Care Data Culture Can Drive Improved Outcomes Across Specialties

Intermountain Healthcare Uses Data to Cut Surgical Infection Rates by Half

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwired - June 25, 2015) - A new case study released today by MIT Sloan Management Review examines the data and analytics culture at Intermountain Healthcare and finds that data-driven decision making improves outcomes in cardiovascular medicine, endocrinology, surgery, obstetrics and care processes. Analytics has also saved Intermountain millions of dollars in procurement and in its supply chain.

The case reveals that, among other improvements, the use of data and analytics: lowered health risks by reducing pre-term inductive deliveries from 28% of cases to 2%; contributed to a 50% drop in deaths after heart surgery (through better management of blood sugar); reduced surgical infection rates by half; and reduced the "door to balloon time" (the time between a patient reaching the hospital and having a balloon inflated to open a blocked artery) from the standard 90 minutes to 57 minutes.

This new case, "When Health Care Gets a Healthy Dose of Data," is based on interviews with caregivers, executives and IT specialists at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, UT. Intermountain Healthcare runs 22 hospitals and185 clinics in Utah and Idaho, employs more than 800 physicians, and performed 150,000 surgeries and had 488,000 emergency room visits in 2014. It has revenues of more than $5 billion.

"These health care outcome improvements don't happen overnight, they require a level of commitment from the top of the organization all the way down to those who deliver the care," said David Kiron, executive editor for MIT Sloan Management Review. "The amazing thing is that Intermountain was able to influence the behaviors of physicians, a group often resistant to change."

Helping physicians become comfortable with data has been an important part of Intermountain's approach to developing a data-oriented culture. Accuracy is crucial -- doctors won't participate in programs if they believe the data is bad. As Mark Ott, chief of surgery at Intermountain, says, "I never want to give data (to surgeons) that I can't defend. Because once you've got bad data, it takes months to recover that level of trust from the doctors. The single most important thing is the integrity of the data." But once doctors start participating in collecting the data themselves, a virtuous loop is created that supports many of Intermountain's goals for data-driven health outcomes.

Intermountain also applies its data-driven approach to managing supply costs, a rising challenge for hospitals. By providing price transparency and a system for sharing cost information Intermountain cut $25 million from operating costs in its Surgical Services Clinical Program alone.

"Many companies have not generated expected ROI on their analytics investments because they have disproportionately focused on the technical aspects of big data and analytics," said Chris Mazzei, Global analytics leader for EY, the exclusive global insights case study sponsor of MIT SMR. "What is often missing, and what Intermountain Health Care has achieved, is the behavioral alignment required to move from insights to action to value."

In 2016, Intermountain will launch a new insurance product that will make physicians and Intermountain jointly responsible for health care costs. Doctors who reduce costs while maintaining health levels will earn more income. As a result, providers will be even more focused on data. Intermountain will rely on the analytics culture it's built and the systems it's developed to further improve care and manage costs.

Please visit MIT Sloan Management Review to read the case, or to see more on MIT SMR's content initiative on data and analytics.

MIT SMR is grateful for the investment of time by the professionals at Intermountain Healthcare. EY is the exclusive global insights case study sponsor of MIT SMR.

About MIT Sloan Management Review
MIT Sloan Management Review's mission is to lead the conversation among research scholars, business executives and other thought leaders about advances in management practice that are transforming how people lead and innovate. MIT Sloan Management Review captures for thoughtful managers the creativity, excitement and opportunity generated by rapid organizational, technological and societal change.

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