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How a new data warehouse improved patient care

A Case Study in Best Practice Data Warehousing
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In this data and analytics case study, we explore how Analytics8 and NPS MedicineWise worked in partnership to build a new clinical data warehouse to uncover insights into health trends in Australia, ultimately helping doctors across the country to improve patient care.

The need for a new data warehouse

NPS MedicineWise is an independent, not-for-profit organisation. Its mission is to promote quality use of medicines, health technologies and medical tests, and to empower Australians to make the best possible healthcare decisions.

It collects and analyses health and medical data as an input into behaviour change services, digital health and data insights services, and knowledge transfer products.

MedicineInsight was established by NPS MedicineWise to capture data from general practitioners (GPs) and primary care providers to support quality improvement in patient care.

The data is used by GPs, practice managers, policymakers and other health professionals to improve clinical practice and health outcomes in Australia.

MedicineInsight addresses a key gap in the health data landscape by providing meaningful, standardised and accurate data relating to primary care. It is a fast-growing data repository that paints a rich picture of clinical activity, including how conditions are diagnosed, how they treated – and importantly how they can be improved.

With approximately 500 participating primary care practices across Australia, and over 2000 GPs servicing two million patients, MedicineInsight holds extensive volumes of clinical data.

The Challenge

In early 2015, NPS MedicineWise set ambitious growth targets for MedicineInsight. Their objective was to quadruple the size of its dataset over a two-year period, from 500 participating clinics to over 2000 clinics. In parallel, it identified a need to generate deeper levels of insight from its available data. However, the existing MedicineInsight platform was not equipped to support the accelerated rate of growth NPS was demanding. In addition, the organisation recognised a need to improve their operational knowledge of MedicineInsight. There were also clear opportunities to improve data quality.

The Solution

NPS MedicineWise formed a partnership with Analytics8 in mid-2015 and launched a project to host MedicineInsight in an all-new data warehouse. It was identified that a new strategic data integration platform was required which had the ability to:

  • manage complex data sets
  • transparently implement data cleansing and data interpretation rules
  • comprehensively expose data quality issues

A crucial requirement was also the ability to expand quickly and in an agile manner – both by adding new sources of data as well as by delivering new ways of interpreting the data. Analytics8 was responsible for providing internal resources, software and the methodology for the project. For this particular engagement, there was a premium on efficiency: the delivery team needed to develop a viable product that could quickly demonstrate value to executive stakeholders. As such, fast innovation and exploration were core design principles.

We needed a partner who would help us to achieve things faster and more cost-effectively than doing it on our own. We wanted someone who could augment our own resources and supplement them during high demand. Glenn Pringle

Executive Manager, Business & Commercial Services, NPS MedicineWise

Analytics8 was selected for this project because of its proven track record of successful, collaborative electronic data warehouse (EDW) implementations of Data Vault within the health industry.
We chose Analytics8 because they had experience in the underlying technologies we were using, so their subject matter expertise lined up well… They seemed like an organisation that wanted to take a collaborative approach instead of just a supplier and vendor relationship. We could see that they wanted to work and grow with us as a partner.

Analytics8 worked closely and collaboratively with the broader NPS MedicineWise data warehouse team to deliver the project. Their small, focused and highly-skilled team provided critical support for data analysis and data quality improvement by providing technical leadership and advising on best practices. In doing so, the NPS MedicineWise team was able to forge a deeper and richer understanding of their available clinical data.

Results

The project has been deemed a success by NPS MedicineWise and its executive team. As a result of Analytics8’s work, NPS MedicineWise is now better equipped to support quality improvement across Australian primary care providers.

Without the warehouse that Analytics8 helped us to set up, we wouldn’t have these insights into [a range of] disease areas or be able to use data to get better health outcomes. It’s benefitted GPs too, as the insights help doctors identify improvements in patient care, and they can be prescribed different types of drugs. – Glenn Pringle

Although the project is now complete, Analytics8 remains invested in the project, providing ongoing management, training and support with consultants remaining on-site, highlighting the value that they continue to deliver.

The key benefits of the new data warehouse:

 

Richer data insights: With improved data infrastructure, NPS MedicineWise is able to uncover new insights in relation to key topics such as neuropathic pain, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disease. Without the new data warehouse, these insights would not have been recognised.

Increased capacity: The new data warehouse has enabled NPS MedicineWise to process data and generate products that were previously impossible due to capacity restrictions. Where the MedicineInsight platform could previously support only 600 GP practices with just one product, it can now service at least 1,600 practices with at least three products.

Transfer of data capabilities: Analytics8 provided resourcing and expertise in data modelling methods, visualisations and various Microsoft solutions. Most importantly, the Analytics8 team transferred their technical knowledge to NPS MedicineWise staff, building their data capabilities and enabling them to independently take on complex data tasks.

Moving Forward

Analytics8 is continuing to support NPS MedicineWise to optimise its new data warehouse, and has since become strategic partners for NPS MedicineWIse’s data, BI and analytics needs, initiating a range of additional projects including a new extraction tool for transferring data from GP clinics to the data warehouse.
Analytics8 is a good organisation to work with. They’re responsive, they make sure they learn about your business and the tools and data you’re working with, so they can grow with you. They do high-quality work, and the measure of that for me is that detailed subject matter experts want to keep working with them. They bring value to the table. Glenn Pringle

Let’s Talk.

Analytics8 is an Australian-based analytics, business intelligence and data warehousing consultancy founded in 2002. Our vendor-agnostic team of 60+ consultants has deep expertise and implementation experience. We specialise in design, development and deployment of effective data solutions. 
enquiries@analytics8.com.au Sydney: +61 2 9299 4430 Melbourne: +61 3 8605 4880
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Sydney: Level 4, 350 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000 +61 2 9299 4430 Melbourne: Level 8, 350 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000 +61 3 8605 4880

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