When a major healthcare organization in the UAE wanted to create a performance-measurement dashboard, TechKnowledge GT LLC sought a reliable technology partner to help it implement the solution.
> 80 program key performance indicators (KPIs)analyzed by the quality performance-measurement solution
Establishes systemwide quality measuresacross providers and facilities, allowing evaluation by ranking
Brings insight to distributed, disparate databy aggregating, normalizing and analyzing the data
Business challenge story
From digital libraries to healthcare informatics
In 2004, two brothers set up a company based in Dubai, UAE, envisioning an opportunity to fire up digital education serving the Middle East. Founded in January 2005 as an e-library consulting firm, TechKnowledge first launched a higher education division. It quickly expanded into the medical sector, servicing public and private hospitals; medical, nursing and pharmacy faculties; and medical research centers.
The company’s medical division began by offering the Micromedex® database, which TechKnowledge President and Co-founder Rany Al Baghdadi calls “the Rolls Royce solution for drug information and drug interaction,” to a handful of hospitals in the UAE. By 2012, when Micromedex changed hands from Thomson Reuters to Truven Health Analytics®, now part of Watson Health, TechKnowledge had installed Micromedex in more than 200 hospitals. Today, TechKnowledge remains a dominant reseller of Micromedex and other Watson Health solutions in the Middle East, outside of Saudi Arabia.
As time passed, the TechKnowledge medical division worked in close consultation with its Watson Health counterparts to develop new innovations for the UAE healthcare market. For example, TechKnowledge moved beyond simply supplying Micromedex and other medical databases to hospitals to integrating those databases into their electronic medical records (EMRs). It also added a new business called Next-Gen Medical to focus on integrating clinical informatics and measurement into platforms for hospitals.
As part of its work with the Watson Health team, TechKnowledge helped hospital systems address the problem of operational variability by implementing measurement and tracking tools to gauge performance against established standards. Variability in the care provided by doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers can be costly, both in terms of dollars and even lives. The wrong medications, inadequate hygiene practices and even a lack of systematic discharge procedures cost the global healthcare system billions of dollars annually.
One of the longest-standing Micromedex customers announced that as part of its efforts to eliminate this problem systematically, it wanted to build a centralized dashboard to measure, report and rank KPIs across its healthcare system. The customer envisions Dubai becoming a world-leading medical tourism city, and so it needed to offer the highest standard of care across all its facilities.
TechKnowledge, which became an IBM Business Partner after the acquisition of Truven Health Analytics, then identified the key stakeholders and decision-makers within the potential customer’s organization and prepared its proposal for this large opportunity. Competing against large consulting companies, the joint Watson Health-TechKnowledge KPI tracking and ranking solution won the business — the first major health informatics deal for TechKnowledge.
First-of-its-kind measurement and dashboards
Together with Watson Health, TechKnowledge created a first-of-its-kind healthcare facility performance framework. The solution uses real-time clinical dashboards to provide cutting-edge, cloud-based clinical benchmarking to help this customer and similar clients improve performance and service.
At the project’s start, the combined TechKnowledge and Watson Health team spent extensive hours with the customer to fully capture its business requirements for the project. The IBM US project management team staffed the project in Dubai with key support, which resulted in a comprehensive 200-page document outlining the detailed implementation of the solution.
The team soon embarked on the first phase, a USD 1.5 million project with an 18-month implementation timeline. The custom solution from Watson Health and TechKnowledge helps the customer measure the performance of hospitals and clinics using more than 80 different program criteria.
The Watson Health and TechKnowledge solution deploys dashboards that are designed to help:
- Provide strategic and high-level insights to executives
- Identify and mitigate safety risks for patient safety
- Measure quality of clinical services rendered
- Help enhance patient experiences to improve patient satisfaction
- Help contain costs while improving financial performance and operation efficiency
- Provide reports with performance scores to and about individual facilities
The solution provides a report card that facilities can use to measure themselves against other facilities, which patients can use to make informed decisions about their healthcare. “So now patients in Dubai can say, ‘I need cataract surgery,’ and the dashboard immediately gives them the rankings in that specialty so they can decide which hospital they want to do the operation,” says Al Baghdadi. The customer can use the system to spot anomalies, such as when the cost of a procedure is higher than the norm at a particular hospital, and facilities can compare their own performance against others in the system.
Thanks to its partnership with Watson Health, TechKnowledge developed the solution on an architecture that uses a number of standard IBM components, including IBM Db2® software, the IBM Integrated Analytics System data appliance, IBM InfoSphere® Information Server and the IBM Cognos® Analytics platform, overlaid with analytics capabilities from Watson Health.
Phase Two of the project will include a number of enhancements, further automation, new publications and the addition of automated bots.
Healthcare rankings lead to informed decisions
Together, Watson Health and TechKnowledge are working to help transform healthcare in the UAE through insights derived from the clinical performance data that providers already collect. The healthcare facility performance framework, which is currently in production at the customer’s location and is the first of its kind in the Middle East, helps bring transparency to providers’ distributed health data by aggregating, normalizing and finding meaning in that data.
As a result, hospitals and other healthcare facilities can manage performance by understanding and measuring their population and practices and monitoring patterns and trends in care data. Providers can use the insights to develop further plans for growth and to use the best practices derived from the insights to continually improve quality and enhance performance. Healthcare consumers can compare facilities when deciding where to have medical procedures performed, providing incentives to hospitals to score well. TechKnowledge expects the tool to become the gold-standard quality improvement tool in the region.
The partnership between Watson Health and TechKnowledge has been pivotal to the development of this first-of-its-kind benchmarking solution for a government-run healthcare organization. Watson Health benefited from the local expertise and the relationship that TechKnowledge had with the customer, their first for this solution. And TechKnowledge benefits from the breadth and depth of the IBM technology portfolio and local IBM planning and implementation resources.
“With healthcare changing so rapidly, and with IBM being such a massive organization, every day we learn about new solutions that are available to us to take to market,” says Al Baghdadi.
The complementary relationship between Watson Health and TechKnowledge helped build this benchmarking solution from the ground up in only 18 months. According to Al Baghdadi: “Our client had no legacy systems for a project of this kind and we weren't trying to take over someone else's work, so we really had an empty whiteboard to begin with. And that's why we were able to build it so quickly.”
As the teams embark on Phase Two, they also plan to replicate this project at other health ministries in countries across the Middle East. Al Baghdadi looks forward to the continued relationship with Watson Health for these and other future projects. “The technology available to us through Watson Health allows us to build more complex solutions for customers and to address much larger problems,” he says. “In some cases, I believe that with Watson, IBM is even inventing the future.”
TechKnowledge GT LLC
TechKnowledge is a leading provider of specialized electronic information solutions for the education, medical, engineering, corporate and government sectors. Based in Dubai, UAE, the company employs approximately 140 people in the Middle East, Philippines, Canada and the Netherlands, with plans to expand globally to other markets. Founded in 2004, TechKnowledge continues to take pride in its comprehensive, tailored service as it works as a trusted advisor and consultant to its customers.
About Watson Health
For more than a century, IBM has been creating innovations that matter. And with Watson Health, we are committed to help build smarter health ecosystems. This means working with you to help you achieve simpler processes, better care insights, faster breakthroughs, and improved experiences for people around the world. Our core strengths combined — deep industry expertise in health, data and analytics, actionable insights, and our reputation for trust and security — can enable us to deliver support for our clients. Together with our clients and partners, IBM is putting smart to work. For more information, visit https://www.ibm.com/watson-health
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