person behind numbers

To many people, looking at patients as just numbers suggests an impersonal approach to healthcare. But from a healthcare analytics perspective, those numbers give clinicians the power to touch the lives of individual patients and improve outcomes for many of them.

As part of our commitment to quality and patient care, we at Atlantic Health recently expanded our monitoring of adverse drug events (ADEs) to include event indicators. In the past we had used a report writer and SQL queries for basic data analysis, but a project this complex required a more robust tool. Using McKesson Analytics Explorer™, we could draw data from multiple sources (encounter, lab results, diagnosis and medication administration) representing several different ADE indicators. Now, instead of looking at 16 different flat graphs full of static numbers, clinicians could use live data – in context – to understand what was happening in their departments in real time.

We found that three key elements of the data analysis system we built at Atlantic Health drove our healthcare analytics success:

  1. Immediate Access: Medication safety dashboards allow users to check at a glance on how they are doing on each of the ADE measures. Quick clicks show different views, changing the timeframe or the group of patients to suit the user's needs, all without a single report request.
  2. Clear Data Visualization: Charts and tree maps are color coded or organized to highlight the most important information. Graphic representation cues action and swiftly identifies areas in need of performance improvement.
  3. Drilling Down: Digging into the data by clicking through the dashboard helps find root causes when a facility, department or individual practitioner is not meeting a performance goal. Drilling into the data also permits quick correction of any errors in reporting, so that data is transparent and trustworthy.

The success of the ADE indicator dashboards has shown the power of healthcare analytics to improve care quality, from preventing hyperglycemia to reducing length of stay. Next, we plan to roll out several new dashboards and initiatives to capitalize on the analytic and visualization abilities of McKesson Analytics Explorer™, such as a dashboard that allows users to follow the path of medication around the hospital, from the pharmacy to the floor.


For more details on how Atlantic Health implemented McKesson Analytics Explorer™ in its ADE indicator initiative, please download their case study Uncovering the Value in the Data: Analytics Helps Drive Quality Improvements at Atlantic Health.

Thomas Carlough

About the author

Thomas Carlough, PharmD, is the Pharmacy Data Coordinator at Atlantic Health, Morristown Medical Center. He is responsible for producing data driven strategies for pharmacy service lines, implementing data governance standards, and producing meaningful visualization of metrics to create dashboards and scorecards. As an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Mr. Carlough shares his passion for health-improving informatics with doctoral students of pharmacy.