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Build vs. Buy: A Healthcare Enterprise Data Warehouse - Which is Best?

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Chances are, if you are reading this blog, you have heard some flavor of the “build vs. buy” question in the context of data warehousing. For example, here are two conflicting ways that I’ve personally heard this question posed:

“Do we need to buy [a data warehouse], or can we build it?”
“Are there any vendors we can buy this from, or will we have to build this?”

As you can imagine, both approaches resonate differently with different people, cultures, and strategies, and the same basic questions sound very different depending on who is asking it.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Build vs. Buy: A Healthcare Enterprise Data Warehouse - Which is Best?

  1. 1. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.comProprietary and Confidential Build vs. Buy a Healthcare Enterprise Data Warehouse: Which is Best for You? By Mike Doyle
  2. 2. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential The Build or Buy Question When considering a Data Warehouse solution, one of the first questions posed is: Should we build it or buy it? Both approaches resonate differently with different people. The CIO may see vendors as potential partners in success. They may see their internal resources unable to deliver. Where others see their Business Intelligence operations a core competency. 2
  3. 3. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential Why Healthcare Data Warehouses Were Built, Not Bought? Consider the evolution of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR). With few commercial vendor options early adapters had to build their own. Then a handful of companies driven by the EMR adoption model from HIMSS gave vendors and customers a vision for product development and acquisition. 3
  4. 4. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential Why Healthcare Data Warehouses Were Built, Not Bought? Health systems without the staff, budget, or experience to build a centralized EDW themselves were left with two main options: • “Data analyst heroism” – where a few savvy analysts used whatever reporting or analysis tools available. Their value was often unrealized because they spent too much time extracting instead of analyzing data. • Implemented best-of-breed analytics solutions to help address specific, siloed, reporting and analytic needs 4
  5. 5. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential The Case for Building a Healthcare Data Warehouse For some organizations, the “Build vs. Buy” question can become a heated, political battle. When internal staff are asked to compare versus external offerings, it can become unhealthy for the entire process. 5
  6. 6. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential Pros of Building Your Own EDW • The possibility of “Perfect Fit.” Custom software tailored to the organization • Potentially lower initial cost • Pride of Ownership – Viewed by other systems nationwide as now possessing a vital knowledge asset, they are justifiably proud of their accomplishments, vision, and forethought. 6
  7. 7. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential Cons of Building Your Own EDW • Staffing to meet project scope • Shortage of EDW experience • Learning curve • IT agility insufficient to meet the needs of analytics and reporting • IT teams accustomed to autonomy may struggle to adapt to new vocabularies, standards and cost containment 7
  8. 8. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential The Case for Buying a Healthcare Data Warehouse For many organizations without a deep bench of software developers, the possibility of rapidly implementing a robust analytic resource is now a reality. 8
  9. 9. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential Pros of Buying an EDW • Experienced EDW vendor can deliver quickly – as little as 90 days. • Top vendors bring real-world experience • Extensive IT resources • Validated industry successes • Lower total cost of ownership 9
  10. 10. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential Cons of Buying an EDW • Knowledge transfer – handing off the EDW to the organization • Always tradeoffs between the perfect solution and what the EDW vendor delivers • Vendor may fail to engage in- house IT resources when they will ultimately be responsible for the future success. • Knowing what questions to ask new vendor to minimize risk. 10
  11. 11. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential The 3rd Option: The Case for Buying AND Building a Healthcare Data Warehouse To climb the rungs of the Healthcare Analytics Adoption Model, IT resources are looking for help from experienced commercial partners: 1. Mature Healthcare Analytics market with viable partners have emerged 2. Several commercial options for Healthcare analytic vendors 3. Organizations with effective IT talent can partner with an experienced supplier for an accelerated outcome. 11
  12. 12. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential Pros of Buying AND Building an EDW 12 • Rapid implementation time • A tailored fit • Lower overall project risk • Engaging your IT employees early • Vendor contractually obligated to deliver agreed statement of work • Opportunity to innovate with a vendor that empowers your internal team
  13. 13. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential Cons of Buying AND Building an EDW 13 • Some of the same “cons” as both building and buying, but these tend to cancel each other out • This approach is best suited to a data-driven culture that values analytics as a business differentiator • Slightly higher total cost of ownership than the purely “buy” option, usually offset by higher ROI
  14. 14. © 2014 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Proprietary and Confidential Selecting Your EDW Approach • Develop strong criteria for evaluating a clinical analytics vendor • Consider internal resources when evaluating cost impacts • A hybrid strategy – build and buy – brings the best of both worlds. Partnering with world- class suppliers coupled with internal engagement will help minimize long term risk. 14
  15. 15. © 2013 Health Catalyst www.healthcatalyst.com Other Clinical Quality Improvement Resources Click to read additional information at www.healthcatalyst.com More by Mike Doyle Data Warehousing in Healthcare: Is It Necessary? Do I really need a healthcare enterprise data warehouse? Mike Doyle joined Health Catalyst in May of 2013 as a Vice President. He has been connected with the Health Catalyst senior leadership team since 2006. Prior to Health Catalyst, Mike led the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) program at Allina Health as Director of Healthcare Intelligence. He helped Allina grow its EDW program from a nascent clinical improvement initiative to an enterprise-wide strategic asset, in heavy demand by thousands of users across all of Allina’s 11 hospitals and 100+ clinics. Prior to his work with Allina, Mike was employed on the Northwestern Medicine campus in Chicago, beginning as a Systems Administrator at the Medical School and eventually leading the Analytics and Systems Integration team at Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation. In addition to his experience building strong technology teams, Mike has experience in technical roles such as database administrator, web programmer, data architect, and business intelligence developer. Mike holds a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University.

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