Business challenge

To deliver its “vision2020” strategy and become a world-leading healthcare institution, KFSH&RC needed to improve the speed and quality of management reporting and put KPIs at executives’ fingertips.


Using an advanced IBM Analytics platform, KFSH&RC employs multidimensional analysis of big data to generate detailed and dynamic reports, KPI scorecards and executive dashboards with built-in alerts.



situational awareness, enabling smarter responses to new challenges


resource allocation, reducing waiting times and improving patient care


managers and executives in real time when their SLAs are at risk

Business challenge story

Creating a world-class institution

At KFSH&RC, the pursuit of excellence is firmly embedded in the organization’s DNA. Not content with being the first hospital outside of North America to achieve Stage 7 in the HIMSS EMR Adoption Model (held by only four percent of U.S. institutions), KFSH&RC has embarked on a strategic journey, known as “vision2020”, to further enhance its status as one of the world’s leading hospitals.

Wadood Tawfiq, Director of Data & Analytics, comments: “A key element in delivering our vision2020 strategy is enhancing decision support by improving the speed and quality of performance management and analytics. We need to make it easy for medical and administrative decision-makers at all levels to understand how their departments are performing and how they can improve. Naturally, technology plays a vital role here, and we have been building up our capabilities in the analysis of big data for more than 12 years.”


In the early 2000s, KFSH&RC realized that it needed a new approach to turn fast-growing volumes of data into useful information. The organization replaced slow, inefficient and inaccurate spreadsheet-based analysis with an integrated business intelligence landscape powered by IBM software. Since then, KFSH&RC has continued to rely on its IBM Analytics solution to transform operational data into strategic insight.

“Over time, we have expanded our use of analytics to reach every aspect of hospital and research operations, and extended analytical reporting from data analysts and operational workers to corporate decision-makers,” says Wadood Tawfiq. “A key challenge was the implementation of an electronic medical records [EMR] system, during a period when our data volumes were growing at more than 20 percent each year. The ability of IBM Cognos cubes to handle huge amounts of data was a major element in our success.

“Having overcome the EMR challenge, we saw that the detail and complexity of existing operational reports made them unsuitable for use in strategic planning, where executive decision-makers need to cut through to the heart of the problem as fast as possible. To extend decision support to this new internal audience, we needed the ability to deliver executive dashboards and scorecards directly to iPads and smartphones—and once again, Cognos had everything we needed.”


Today, our senior decision-makers feel much more connected to operations, and they can understand why a particular service is missing its targets.

Wadood Tawfiq, Director Data & Analytics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital

Transformation story

Extending the reach of analytics

KFSH&RC upgraded its existing IBM Cognos® landscape to gain the ability to push near real-time information to executives. Providing dashboards in easy-to-digest visual formats, the solution gives executives unprecedented visibility of all aspects of hospital and laboratory operations, enabling them to see at a glance how well the organization is performing against targets. What’s more, the ability to drill down and see the figures that underpin the summaries gives executives the ability to diagnose the root causes of performance problems and determine the best way to resolve them.

The executive dashboards cover all the key steps in the management cycle: planning and budgeting, measuring and monitoring performance, and reporting and analysis. KFSH&RC also built an alert mechanism to ensure that at-risk KPIs or SLAs can be identified and the underlying problems resolved in a timely manner.

Demah Al Shathri, Manager, Enterprise Reporting, comments: “As we approach the pre-defined threshold for a particular measure—for example, waiting time in the ER department—the system automatically issues an alert, and the relevant decision-maker can drill down through the numbers to see where the problem lies. If we actually hit or exceed the threshold, there are separate escalated alerts for those events.”

By not only giving executives and medical decision-makers a timely view of emerging problems, but also the ability to see why an issue is developing, the solution helps the hospital to respond more rapidly and intelligently.

“Today, our senior decision-makers feel much more connected to the day-to-day management of the hospital, which helps them understand why a particular service is missing its targets without needing to wade through huge volumes of complex reports,” says Demah Al Shathri. “If there are delays in ER, our senior leaders can see the problem instantly, and intervene directly with the departmental managers and physicians. This degree of insight certainly keeps everyone on their toes and working on concrete solutions rather than abstract initiatives!”

Other dashboards at KFSH&RC help healthcare providers and administrators to manage costs, adjust services to meet changing patterns of demand, achieve compliance with medical regulations, and reduce waiting times in lab and pharmacy. Patient dashboards help the organization to monitor patients’ experience at the point of care, providing a 360-degree view covering length of stay, number of admissions, discharge details, average waiting time, patient satisfaction ratings from surveys, and more.

Beyond the new dashboards, analytical reports of all kinds continue to play a major role in the smooth running of the hospital and research laboratories. The IT department manages and continuously refines a huge array of different reports tailored to a variety of business use cases, covering different data sources, different periods and frequencies, and different kinds of visualization. For example, detailed handover reports ensure that a patient’s treatment is uninterrupted as they move from the care of one physician to that of another, and reports on potential drug interactions ensure that patient safety is never compromised.

“With each upgrade to our analytics environment, the software becomes easier to use, both for us in IT and for users across the organization,” says Wadood Tawfiq. “Our role within vision2020 is to be a strategic partner to the hospital for innovation, and the IBM solution helps us to achieve that in a proactive rather than a reactive way. Before, we were saying, ‘give us your requirements’. Now, we are going out to the business users, helping them understand their data and determine their future needs.”

Our IBM Analytics solution enables us to produce reports and dashboards that are information-rich rather than data-rich, helping our decision-makers quickly home in on the best decision in any scenario.

Wadood Tawfiq, Director Data & Analytics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital

Results story

Data-driven intelligence

The mature analytics environment at KFSH&RC has driven continuous improvement for more than a decade, and is now helping the hospital to achieve its vision2020 strategic plan. Providing everything from in-depth reports on patients’ medical histories to at-a-glance summaries of operational performance, the IBM Analytics solution helps staff at all levels of the organization to take decisions based on reality rather than gut-feel. Critically, the solution provides the ability to drill down from top-level summaries to see why an issue is emerging and to understand how best to react.

“We know that just having accurate data is not enough,” says Demah Al Shathri. “Our IBM Analytics solution enables us to take that data and produce reports and dashboards that are information-rich rather than data-rich. Making reports easy to consume helps ensure that our decision-makers can quickly home in on the best decision in any scenario.”

Data-driven intelligence is helping KFSH&RC to optimize its operations across the board, ultimately improving patient outcomes while boosting organizational efficiency. Better visibility of patient medical history and diagnoses contributes to improved patient safety, and a clear overview of scheduled activities enables the optimal allocation of resources, cutting waiting times, eliminating waste and reducing costs.

As an example, one report highlights situations in which a patient is due for an appointment but their records have not yet been transferred to the relevant clinic. The report ranks the missing records by appointment time, so that staff can prioritize their efforts to retrieve the records. Before the report was introduced, there were typically around 300 incidents of missing or delayed records each day. By raising awareness and providing a prioritized list for resolution, the report has helped KFSH&RC cut the number of incidents to 15 a day—a 95 percent reduction. In another example, a report showing the turnaround time for retrieving Emergency Room patients’ records from the file room highlighted inefficiencies and delays, prompting the supervisor to change the standard process and involve more staff members. Thanks to these changes, the delay in accessing records has fallen by 90 percent, from 240 minutes to just 24 minutes, well inside the target of 30 minutes.

In general terms, enabling senior executives to access near real-time performance data—online or offline, on practically any device—enhances strategic planning. To help achieve its goal of becoming a world-leading medical institution, KFSH&RC also uses the analytics solution to continuously benchmark its own performance against that of other leading global hospitals.

“The IBM solution not only provides accurate and timely reports, it also offers a great user experience, which is critical to getting people to actually make use of analytics to improve their work,” says Demah Al Shathri. “With easy, high-speed access to relevant, personalized information, each department can see their current performance and how it is trending over time—enabling faster and smarter course corrections.”

Wadood Tawfiq concludes: “IBM Cognos Analytics is an extremely powerful tool for working with large data sets. As our data grows in both volume and variety, we are confident that the IBM technology will continue to help us transform data into insight, and raise standards of care in the hospital even further. This will play a key role in the achievement of our vision2020 strategy.”

King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre

Founded in 1970 by King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre (KFSH&RC) is the leading hospital in Saudi Arabia. As a tertiary healthcare institution, KFSH&RC provides highly specialized treatment across all major healthcare services and is one of only six hospitals outside of the U.S. to hold the prestigious Magnet Hospital status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The hospital has three major campuses and employs more than 11,000 people.

Solution Components

  • Cognos Analytics
  • Cognos Business Intelligence
  • HC: Health and Healthcare Innovation
  • HC: Intelligent Platforms

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