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Dome - Innovation at your fingertips

December 2011

Innovation at your fingertips

Date: December 16, 2011

With a bevy of interactive tools, marketing analysts can readily mine databases to plot the potential for growth of all JHM clinical service lines.

For years Johns Hopkins Medicine marketing analysts have been wrestling with massive databases of statistics, pulling together thick reports tracking how the institution’s hospitals are stacking up against competitors.

Now the marketing analysis team has taken a software program and created an innovative tool that will help users, such as clinical departments, get the information they need to make better-informed and strategic decisions. Analysts no longer have to mine fathomless databases for relevant statistical nuggets to identify market changes and growth opportunities.

The tool is based on the Tableau program, and it has been used largely to interpret data from Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission, says Todd Kirby, director of market analysis and business planning for Johns Hopkins Medicine. The state’s mammoth electronic archive is rich in raw health care data, but without Tableau, it would be impossible to take full advantage of the resource, Kirby says. Rather than spending hours searching for data, “We can concentrate on proactive and detailed data analysis.”

 The program can easily pinpoint JHM’s share of the region’s cardiology market, manipulate the data to project growth according to different scenarios, and present the results to leadership in an electronic report illustrated with animated pie charts, bar displays, line graphs and other graphics.

Here’s how it works. The program has built-in parameters, such as names of competitive hospitals and clinical service lines. For example, users looking to compare The Johns Hopkins Hospital with a competing institution for cardiology discharges need only to click the names of the two hospitals and the service line. A graph will appear showing the statewide averages for those discharges along with statistics comparing the two hospitals.

“Two years ago, we started looking at acquiring and implementing innovative ways to find and display data, look at trends and make meaningful information available at the finger tips,” says Dalal Haldeman, Johns Hopkins vice president of marketing and communications.

The software is only one of several tools that the marketing and communications department can use to find competitive marketing data. Another tool that uses Google Maps can geographically locate key patients by targeted clinical categories and helps users make smarter decisions, such as where to open outpatient locations.

Plans in the works to expand Tableau’s role in forecasting trends include an iPad application, SharePoint access and further outreach efforts. 

—Stephanie Shapiro