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Datacom Builds “Dashboard” Management Tool for Queensland Regional Friendly Society Private Hospital

  • 02 March, 2007 13:59

<p>Open Source Solution Allows Hospital to Monitor Key Performance Parameters</p>
<p>Sydney, Australia – 1 March 2007-- Datacom, the largest independent, professional IT services provider in Australasia, announced details of a recent “Open Systems” solution supplied to Friendly Society Private Hospital in Bundaberg.</p>
<p>Friendly Societies have existed in Australia since 1836; originally being formed for the purpose of mutual self help. Formed by ordinary Australians who together provided some of the medical and other essential services they lacked. Members contributed to a common fund which paid benefits to those in the group who became ill, lost work, or suffered hardship. The Friendly Society Private Hospital, in Bundaberg has been operating successfully for over 60 years.</p>
<p>However, like most businesses they were continually looking at exceeding the needs and expectations of their customers in their marketplace. To this end they looked at their internal systems and quickly realised they needed to harness the disparate information sources in a holistic manner. This would enable them to react to market pressures quicker and enable the business to provide the “friendly, quality healthcare” mentioned in their mission statement.</p>
<p>The Hospital management compromised of a team from differing levels of financial and technology expertise, knowledge and skill. To enhance their financial management skills in a tightening market the support team started a review of all streams of data. The hospital has seen and continues to see a strong, continuous increase in activity and development.</p>
<p>To bring all the data sources closer together into a forecasting and eventually a control system was the idea back in 2002, of few key managers within the hospital.</p>
<p>“We wanted to set limits or budgets on a wide number of key performance indicators (KPIs) across all areas in the hospital which, was kept in a consolidated spreadsheet. This then could be reviewed monthly by management” said Friendly Society Private Hospital IS and HR Manager, Andrew Smith.</p>
<p>“Our CEO and Finance Manager at the time were encouraged by the initial results. All managers could begin to see the potential correlations and interactions between each of their individual departments’ KPI’s. The results were obvious in principle but had not been seen previously in a report format combining different information sources for management, in this timeframe.”</p>
<p>Because the initial reporting was limited to internal knowledge and monthly financial activities it meant that the first reports were sometimes four to six weeks old. Management at the hospital asked, could it be updated to shorter timeframes, so in 2003 the team undertook the next step to produce a fortnightly spreadsheet report.</p>
<p>“This we did but of course the inevitable happened when management said “why can’t we have all this in real time” .They wanted a dashboard style report that took data from a huge variety of data sources automatically, compared to preset limits and alarms raised. This sounded good in theory but in 2003 and 2004 after attempts by a contracted developer we realised it might just be wishful thinking,” said Smith. “Bringing together information from different data sources using different applications into one dashboard failed, at least initially.”</p>
<p>The hospital then made contact with NetOptions, a member company of the Datacom group located in Brisbane who offered to look at the spreadsheet reports, interfacing issues and progress to date. After several meetings and trials NetOptions took on the project.</p>
<p>“We heard good things about NetOptions and Datacom from the Brisbane market and they certainly did not let us down. They took on the project in December 2005 and we went on line with our “Dash Board” in July 2006,” said Smith. “We were impressed with their resources, their financial strength and their use of an open source solution that was well within our budget.”</p>
<p>“By using powerful open source tools and processes like AJAX, MySQL and PHP (see explanation below) we were able to design a solution that integrated with legacy and newer systems at the hospital. All up some 129 individual parameters are fed into the dashboard for real time alerting,” said Datacom’s Craig Sargent. “We have given them a very powerful reporting and monitoring tool that has potential for use right throughout the Australian hospital system.”</p>
<p>“The dashboard looks a bit like a car dashboard with lights, dials and needles, to indicate each of the 129 parameters. We set limits on each of the parameters and use a combination of colours to show warnings, and gauges to show rates” said Smith “All indicators are classified into four main areas Human Resources (HR), Quality, Finance and Clinical (Inpatients and Theatre). The display of these functions is customisable for each individual enabling them to view their significant data their way and then drill down for more detail should there be concerns. For instance our Theatre Services Manager may have theatre activity at 100% for green, 80% for Orange and 60% or below for red. The dashboard is in fact a web page build on the Ajax process which enables instant updating of individual elements on the page without a total page refresh.”</p>
<p>“Key business stakeholders can be sure that activity and resources are available and will assist them in key decision making in their areas. Executive management will know within an instant which areas need their focus depending on the alerts preset within the dashboard system. With the initial parameters being reviewed so regularly we believe we are better equipped to manage the daily processes. At last now we get to see the problem as it happens and have time on our side to look for the solutions in days rather then weeks,” said Smith.</p>
<p>Confidence in key decision making for our Hospital is enhanced through the availability of knowing our daily Clinical, Financial, Quality and HR indicators are readily accessible in one easy location. Now, the ability to reach that mission “to provide friendly quality healthcare” in our marketplace is made that little bit easy by this integrating software application.</p>
<p>“We have been very happy with NetOptions work thus far including the overall cost of the project. We feel we have one of the best management tools available” said Smith.</p>
<p>Ajax, shorthand for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, is a web development technique for creating interactive web applications. The intent is to make web pages feel more responsive by exchanging small amounts of data with the server behind the scenes, so that the entire web page does not have to be reloaded each time the user makes a change. This is meant to increase the web page's interactivity, speed, and usability.</p>
<p>MySQL AB develops and markets a family of high performance, affordable database servers and tools. Our mission is to make superior data management available and affordable for all. We contribute to building the mission-critical, high-volume systems and products worldwide.</p>
<p>MySQL AB is defining a new database standard. This is based on its dedication to providing a less complicated solution suitable for widespread application deployment at a greatly reduced TCO. MySQL's robust database solutions embody an ingenious software architecture while delivering dramatic cost savings. With superior speed, reliability, and ease of use, MySQL has become the preferred choice of corporate IT Managers because it eliminates the major problems associated with downtime, maintenance, administration and support.</p>
<p>MySQL is a key part of LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP / Perl / Python), a fast growing open source enterprise software stack. More and more companies are using LAMP as an alternative to expensive proprietary software stacks because of its lower cost and freedom from lock-in.</p>
<p>PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML.</p>
<p>– ### –</p>
<p>About Datacom</p>
<p>Datacom, with over 2000 staff in three countries, has supplied its Systems and Contact Centre solutions to a wide variety of Australasian businesses for over 40 years. Founded in New Zealand in 1965, Datacom Group is 30% owned by New Zealand Post and 70% by staff and directors. Datacom began operations in Australia in 1992 and in Asia in 1994.Datacom is a unique provider of “partial-to-full” spectrum IT support and services including LAN/WAN technical support, data centre hosting including disaster recovery design and operations, consulting and project management, service desk models and IT Procurement.
Datacom promotes a “free-form” services solution that aligns solutions with client business reality.
Datacom is also the industry specialist in; the provision of contact centre solutions to technology companies and other industry segments such as government, sales force and marketing programs, and customisable CRM and telephony delivery across Australasia. For more information visit</p>
<p>Media Contacts:</p>
<p>Rob Stirling
Markom Marketing
+61 2 9977 8922</p>
<p>Frank Mastronardo
Datacom Australia
+61 2 9023 5169</p>

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