Heavyweight GIS in Healthcare

By Directions Staff

Source: JHHS

Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services (JHHS) is a regional network providing health care services at 35 locations throughout Kentucky and southern Indiana.They own two acute care hospitals, one rehab hospital, a home health agency and a hotel; manage six hospitals; and operate 2 primary care centers, 9 outpatient rehabilitation centers and 3 Healthy Lifestyle centers.In total, JHHS services more than 300,000 patients annually.

The Corporate Planning Department at JHHS includes a grand total of three people; and they're responsible for all planning and strategy development for this entire network.The department responsibilities are enormous, and the manpower short; you'd be right to think they choose their analytical tools carefully!

"When planning a $50 million development it is not good to risk the project to save a couple thousand dollars."

For the past six months the department has been using ArcView Business Analyst from ESRI to assist in much of its work, including:
  • Ambulatory care development
  • Community need assessments
  • Optimallly placing physicians to maximize patient access and service
  • Competitor analysis (phycicians and facilities)
  • Market analysis (customer location; market share by type of service)
  • Employer analysis (where are they and how do they use JHHS?)
  • Drive time and access studies
Why Business Analyst?

Source: JHHS

The JHHS Planning Department has been using GIS for several years.Why did they decide to shift to Business Analyst last year? After all, it is certainly among the higher priced packages, weighing in at a single-user list price of $12,000.Greg Pugh, Manager of the Department, told us there were three principal reasons:

  • The data is the most comprehensive on the market
  • The product has the most versatile and sophisticated analytical tool set
  • The ease of use engendered via wizards mean new staff get up and running quickly
Although "cost was an important factor in the decision," according to Pugh, it was not the determining one.Pugh continued, "When an organization is planning a $5 million or $50 million development, it is not good business to risk the success of a project to save a couple thousand dollars on your GIS application."

Released in May of 1998, ArcView Business Analyst is a product which tries to ease the end-user's purchase process by providing "all-in-one-box" solutions for analysts.In addition to the core ArcView 3.1 software, the product includes:
  • Extensive wizards sitting on top of a variety of analytical processes
  • a national street network database
  • demographic data to neighborhood detail
  • consumer mailing list counts & attributes and business listings

In Mr.Pugh's opinion, "Our organization is the most sophisticated GIS user in our market area, and this gives us a competitive advantage."

What would be even better ...
While Pugh believes "the return on investment is outstanding for Business Analyst," he has some strong ideas about what he'd like to follow."I can envision a Business Analyst program developed specifically for healthcare, with statistics such as demand, utilization, hospital locations, and so forth."

Even Business Analyst, in Pugh's opinion, could perform better as a healthcare site selection model, more fully utilizing healthcare statistics and business data."No vendors have yet put this combination together.I would like one day to see a GIS program that can rank several sites using identified variables to determine which is most optimal, and what services each site should incorporate."

Greg Pugh
JHHS Planning
Be that as it may, Pugh summarizes his half-year with the product by saying "to do what we currently do without Business Analyst we would probably use two to four other applications." The bottom line: if your organization's use of GIS is intensive, and if big decisions rely on it, ArcView Business Analyst might be an option to consider.

Business Analyst

Published Tuesday, March 30th, 1999

Written by Directions Staff

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