IBM Partner Puts Big Data To Work At Seattle Children's Hospital

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IBM partner Brightlight Consulting is developing an advanced analytics system for a Seattle hospital, with IBM's PureData System for Analytics converged infrastructure system a critical component of the project.

Brightlight, Redmond, Wash., has completed a key phase of the project at Seattle Children's Hospital, moving the facility's older analytics processes to the new platform. Brightlight CTO and co-founder David Overcash said the hospital already is seeing significant performance improvements.

"Now we're ready to take it to the next level," Overcash said in an interview, noting that the next phase involves pulling more research data from outside sources into the hospital's system.


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The hospital's business intelligence system is used to collect clinical, financial and operational data from 10 different IT systems, including its electronic medical record system and billing and general ledger systems, and combine it for analysis. In some cases, the IT systems produce thousands of data points for every child patient.

The analysis results are used to provide managers with a broad view of the hospital's patient care processes and help them spot trends and evaluate treatment protocols -- all with an eye toward improving patient care while reducing costs. Health-care organizations industrywide are trying to reduce widely differing costs for the same procedures by ensuring that resources are properly allocated, Overcash said.

The Seattle Children's Hospital system, for example, pulls together information about children brought into the neonatal intensive care unit, including their treatments and how long they stayed, and the financial implications of the newborns' treatment.

"Relating the clinical data to the financial and the operational -- that's where the complexity comes in," Overcash said.

The hospital had been performing the analysis with a data warehouse based on Microsoft's SQL Server database. But the system was limited in how much data it could handle. And it was limiting the number of projects the analytical team could take on, according to Overcash.

NEXT: Windows Servers Replaced With A Single PureData For Analytics System

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