Published on 19-Oct-2010
"By quickly and accurately analyzing large volumes of data, IBM SPSS Statistics is helping to enhance quality of care and improve patient outcomes. It is making an enormous contribution, not only to Wesley Research Institute, but also to the larger healthcare community." - Deborah Lennon, Data Management Officer, WRI
Wesley Research Institute (WRI)
Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Smart Work, Smarter Planet, Information On Demand
The Wesley Research Institute (WRI) is an independent, not-for-profit organization located on the grounds of The Wesley Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. The Institute conducts research aimed at discovering, testing and refining new techniques for better diagnosis and treatment of illness and disease, with the ultimate goal of improving patient care and quality of life. WRI seeks to turn basic scientific findings into better healthcare outcomes.
The Wesley Research Institute (WRI) needed to collect and analyze large volumes of data from multiple sources and in various formats, including patient demographics, discrete procedures, surgical complications, risk factors and post-operative tracking.
WRI implemented IBM SPSS Statistics as part of its ambitious Clinical Outcome Improvement Project (COIP), which collects and analyzes patient data to establish clinical benchmarks, identify risk factors and improve treatment results.
- Quickly and accurately analyzes large volumes of data - Supports WRI goal of improving patient outcomes - Delivers independent, unbiased information in a fully transparent process - Enables data management group to adjust research design as needed - Provides a valuable resource to clinical staff for ad hoc queries
The Wesley Research Institute (WRI) is an independent, not-for-profit organization located on the grounds of The Wesley Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. The Institute conducts research aimed at discovering, testing and refining new techniques for better diagnosis and treatment of illness and disease, with the ultimate goal of improving patient care and quality of life. Using a collaborative approach that brings together doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, scientists and patients, WRI seeks to turn basic scientific findings into better healthcare outcomes as quickly as possible. Faster, more accurate diagnoses; fewer, less severe side effects; new treatments for faster, improved recovery – these are just some of the ways in which Institute researchers help improve patient care and quality of life, and IBM SPSS Statistics helps them do it.
A foundational element of all WRI research programs is the collection and analysis of data from multiple sources and in various formats. Data on patient demographics, discrete procedures, surgical complications, risk factors, post-operative tracking and more must be carefully and accurately managed and interconnected in order to create an accurate picture of patient outcomes.
WRI initially tried to use FileMaker Pro, but the data management group quickly found the file size limitations of the product to be a serious drawback. “We needed a tool for which file size would not be an issue,” recalls Data Management Officer Deborah Lennon. “We also needed more flexibility, the ability to customize the tool as required and greater sophistication on the data analysis side. IBM SPSS Statistics satisfied all these criteria very well.”
A deluge of data
The amount of data WRI analyzes using IBM SPSS Statistics is enormous. Says Lennon: “When the data management office was advertised internally as being broadly available to all users, we had quite a deluge of data and information from cardiologists and the cardiac surgery section. It was about four years worth of data – and just for cardiac surgery, that’s something like 500 patients a year with an average of 350 variables for each patient. On the cardiology side, there were preoperative angiograms, stent procedures and a great deal of additional technical detail. Some of the data was in FileMaker Pro, along with boxes of paper that had to be collated and put into databases. That’s when we decided we had to find a flexible tool that could handle everything.”
WRI leverages the power of IBM SPSS Statistics in its ambitious Clinical Outcome Improvement Project (COIP), a key focus of which is Cardiac Catheter Theater (CCT) and Cardiac Surgery. Their analyses deliver an immediate impact. For example, a doctor who is about to perform triple bypass surgery can request statistics on the risk of mortality, based on the demographics of the patient.
COIP data comes from patients who are admitted to the Wesley Hospital for a cardiac procedure, which may include catheterization, valve replacement and/or bypass surgery. The data management group collects information on the patients – demographics, risk factors,
radiation doses from X-rays, surgical procedures, type of valve, postsurgical ventilation requirements, infections, length of hospital stay, 30-day and 12-month follow-up – from the moment they are admitted. The data is all fed into IBM SPSS Statistics for processing and analysis.
Independent and unbiased
WRI’s data management group consults with the clinical staff to decide on the datasets and the best methodology for collecting the data. Much of the data is now collected via a web interface but it is still necessary to scan paper forms before analyzing the data using crosstabulation and other statistical techniques. As much as possible, the data management group benchmarks the information against national and international data.
So far, 16 separate projects – each including as many as 178,000 cells of information – have been undertaken for different stakeholders; the data management group also fields ad hoc requests from clinicians and prepares an annual audit presentation. The group enjoys strong support from hospital and executive staff, who value the independent, unbiased data and information the group provides in support of enhanced patient outcomes.
The stakeholders themselves do not interface directly with IBM SPSS Statistics, but rather query the data management group for the information they require. “We give them the facts that are collated in IBM SPSS Statistics, and they decide what action to take,” says Lennon.
“For example, if the data were to show increased morbidity, or a higher infection rate, this would be critical information to communicate to the clinicians and executives. One specific area we’ve tracked is bruising, bleeding and hematomas that occur as the result of inserting a catheter. That was an area that did stand out, and the hospital addressed it quickly.”
Data inputs are taken from a variety of sources at the Wesley Hospital, including doctors, surgeons, cardiologists, nursing staff, technicians and hospital executives. Says Lennon: “Thanks to the inherent flexibility of IBM SPSS Statistics, we can easily change the research design and dataset as needed. The software is also intuitive and easy to use, which helps to minimize data entry errors, and the training we received was invaluable. In addition, the ability to produce reports quickly and with a high degree of accuracy is essential in the area of research outcomes. All of these IBM SPSS Statistics capabilities help WRI improve patient care.” Lennon adds that the ability to provide transparency throughout the data collection and analysis process makes IBM SPSS Statistics critical to the success of WRI’s ongoing research.
An enormous contribution
Moving forward, Lennon is excited at the prospect of implementing more IBM SPSS technology. “The next thing I want to use is IBM SPSS Text Analytics for Surveys, because in healthcare we ask so many questions that don’t have a simple A, B or C answer. The patient just has to talk, and then you need a tool to help derive the salient points from the free-form answer. This capability would provide a new level of intelligence, greatly enhancing the value of our surveys.”
Since the initial deployment of IBM SPSS Statistics and the corresponding success of COIP, WRI has expanded the technology into other areas, including oncology, urology and pediatrics. COIP’s success also led to the creation of a unique educational pilot program with visiting Vietnamese medical staff. With the aim of enabling participants to set up similar programs in their home countries, a significant component of the pilot focused on understanding the central role played by IBM SPSS Statistics.
Concludes Lennon: “By quickly and accurately analyzing large volumes of data, IBM SPSS Statistics is helping to enhance quality of care and improve patient outcomes. It is making an enormous contribution, not only to Wesley Research Institute, but also to the larger healthcare community.”
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Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
SPSS Statistics Server
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