There’s a whole world of big data out there, but all of that information requires analysis to truly understand how it can shape change.
So that’s just what Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation did, shared Peter Valenzuela, chief medical officer for Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, and Teri Oelrich, principal at NBBJ, in the session “Big Data Visualization: Mapping Your Future” at the ASHE PDC Summit in San Antonio.
Sutter is a 24-hospital system in California with five distinct regions. But when its leadership team decided to dig into how it should think about growth, particularly its ambulatory strategy, it became apparent that it needed more to go on.
“If you’ve seen one Sutter clinic, you’ve seen one Sutter clinic,” Valenzuela said of the system’s lack of any obvious branding between sites. But beyond establishing what new locations might look like, the provider recognized that it needed to know where they should be built and how to meet today’s patients’ demands for one-stop-shop medical care, too.
So NBBJ was brought on board to help in the master facility planning process.
Oelrich shared what pieces of information were identified as necessary to help shape that plan and how they were synthesized via technology, starting with how many clients Sutter wanted to serve, how many physicians it would have to hire, and what facilities it needed and what already exist.
Then it was time to measure big data to help answer some of those questions. A number of programs were used to analyze everything from competition and market share to demographics and population projections to travel times and available transit—all shaping decisions made for three of Sutter’s five districts.
In the end, for example, seven sites were identified for its San Francisco district, including one that the system hadn’t anticipated using before undergoing the process but that analysis proved to be a budding locale.
The data is now part of a comprehensive facility database and spawned a 10-year schedule for the capital outlay of building new spaces, renovating existing sites, and recruiting physicians.
“What always makes me happy is when plans turn into actions,” Oelrich said.