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Dignity Health teams with SAS for analytics to address Medicare penalties


By Joseph Conn
Posted: August 19, 2014 - 1:45 pm ET
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Dignity Health is jumping into predictive analytics with a new tech partner, analytics firm SAS.

Initially, Dignity will be targeting what many other healthcare organizations have been aiming at in a recent wave of projects involving predictive analytics, namely to reduce readmissions subject to Medicare penalties.

But Dignity will focus initially not only on developing best practices for patients with congestive heart failure, one of the three core conditions subject to Medicare penalties, but also sepsis, as well as to manage its pharmacy costs and outcomes and to “create tools to improve each patient's experience,” according to a joint statement.

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Dignity and SAS, a Cary, N.C.-based global business data analytics software and services firm, announced the collaboration Tuesday.

Dignity has a central data repository for financial information but not for clinical data. It's about two thirds of the way through a migration from various inpatient electronic health-record systems to a systemwide Cerner EHR inpatient platform, CIO Deanna Wise said.

SAS will create a clinical data repository as part of the collaboration, but “it is much more a partnership for the consulting work” than it is a technology deal, Wise said. “The platform is important, but that's not the real value here. We have a strong group of medical informaticists. We feel that as a partnership, we can really do something to leapfrog the technology.”

The project also will seek to combine the analysis of clinical and financial data and also use a cloud-based platform to enhance work already underway at Dignity to build mobile healthcare applications.

San Francisco-based not-for-profit Dignity has 39 hospitals with care sites in 20 states. No dollar amount was announced for the contract with SAS.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn


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