There’s data, and then there’s intelligence — data that’s trusted, actionable, and empowers organizations to make better decisions derived from a deeper understanding of hospital performance and market trends.
With the recent implementation of Axiom™ Comparative Analytics, South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) stands ready to take its data reporting to the next level, leveraging the largest, most timely data set in the industry with the ease of data collection that takes minutes — not days.
“The primary thing I needed was accurate, reliable target benchmarks to better understand my labor efficiency,” says Daniel Rickman, Business Intelligence Director. “I also was looking for a much better way to report on different statistics within peer groups, letting department directors go in and look at dashboards themselves. I got both with Axiom.”
More Timely Data and Easier Data Collection
Rickman was promoted in October 2020 and charged with establishing his department as the nucleus for decision support throughout the health system by leveraging internal and external benchmarking data. At the time, SGMC used IBM (now Vizient) Action OI, but Rickman quickly discovered several weaknesses, including a cumbersome data entry process, quarterly data updates, and the ability for department heads to cherry-pick their peer groups, rather than employing common standards.
The health system already employed several software solutions from Syntellis, including Axiom™ Budgeting, Axiom™ Financial Planning, Axiom™ Performance Reporting, and Axiom™ Productivity Reporting, and Rickman engaged the company to optimize its software solutions and discover a better path forward.
“We have an extremely collaborative relationship with Syntellis. The person who led our optimization eventually became our Comparative Analytics project manager, so we already had an established relationship with her.” Implementation was easy because many of the data connections already existed, Rickman notes. The main lift was defining the functions of each department for reporting purposes.
Rickman says the difference between software is like night and day, saving his department three days every quarter, with the added benefit of monthly data rather than quarterly updates.
“With Comparative Analytics, we don’t have to submit anything because the data is taken from stats that are already there, versus with Action OI where we were still doing manual entry,” Rickman says. The prior solution also left room for error and frustration. “Sometimes, it would take several hours to figure out what it was talking about to correct it.”
Uniform, Actionable, and Truthful Intelligence
Rickman ultimately believes that Comparative Analytics will bring return on investment through cost reductions in both supply and labor costs. It will also give health system leaders uniform, actionable, and truthful intelligence to make those decisions through a common reporting framework built on peer groups more closely aligned with the applicable departments of SGMC.
After implementation, the first step was to establish new annual target benchmarks, working in conjunction with departmental leaders, followed by building plan files for budgeting. Comparative Analytics helps guide those sometimes difficult labor and expense conversations by providing comparisons to peer organizations and previous budgets.
The Business Intelligence Director said he appreciates the attention that Syntellis paid to the organization during implementation and beyond. “It’s very important to me to not have a vendor say, ‘We’ll take a look at it.’ I wanted a partner to engage us in the process of making things more efficient, using best practices, and teaching us about the system as we go along,” Rickman says.
Rickman is confident the investment South Georgia Medical Center has made into its Axiom solutions is already paying dividends for the health system.
“We rely on Axiom when making major financial decisions for the present and the future of the organization,” Rickman says. “The way I look at it is, those financial decisions impact the future of 3,000 jobs, including mine.”