Forefront Technologies is a consulting firm serving the healthcare community with extensive experience in reporting, databases, data warehousing, and EDI. We are currently working to help organizations with their transition to Epic Community Connect with services including report planning and alternatives, standard reporting portal, legacy 835 processing, and more.
Epic Community Connect Reporting
There are many posts on the Internet about the benefits that come from the Epic Community Connect model and now that you’ve implemented it, you’re eager to get data out. Below are several options that may be offered by your host organization including: Reporting Workbench, Clarity, OLAP Cube, Extracts, and Custom Reports.
Reporting Workbench is accessed through hyperspace and accesses data directly from Epic’s underlying database, Chronicles. It provides template type reports that can be modified to some degree for specific filters (e.g., reporting periods, billing providers, transaction types, etc.) and display columns. One thing you may find is that there are a limited number of reports available for the Community Connect user, however that can differ from host organization to host organization. In some situations you may be able to have your host organization create custom reporting workbench reports for you. Using Reporting Workbench you can also export data from the reports into files that can be accessed as a spreadsheet for additional manipulation and formatting.
Clarity is a data warehouse built in either Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server where data is refreshed from Chronicles on a daily basis. Being hosted in a modern relational database allows the data to be accessed by a wide range of reporting tools, and being hosted in a database outside of Chronicles protects the production database from rogue queries and resource hogs. While Clarity is a great option for reporting, you may find you have limited or no access as a Community Connect site. That is because it is not necessarily an easy task to partition your data from other Community Connect sites' data nor you host organization’s data.
OLAP (online analytical processing) Cube is a great way to access data. Epic has standard cubes they’ve released and using a tool such as Microsoft Excel (and many others), you can connect to the data cube and run all sorts of reports and pivot tables, by all sorts of dimensions. You may have to ask for it, but the cube is something Community Connect sites are likely to get access to because it seems to be easier for host organizations to partition your data from other site’s data.
Just like Clarity, data in the cube needs to be refreshed. You should check with your host organization to find out what the interval is. Some may perform refreshes on a daily basis, some on a weekly basis, and some on demand as requested. One thing to remember, the cube is not a silver bullet - you will need to know Excel fairly well and you will need a good understanding of your data. As with all “self-service” type tools, if you don’t know what you’re dragging-and-dropping and how it relates to the other data you’re accessing, you could end up with the wrong results. Additionally, the cube only has limited data available, so in many cases you will find it doesn’t have the data you’re looking for.
Custom reports are a great way to get what you need - the only problem is, “how do you get them created”. Custom reports may require access to any one of the options discussed above some of which can be difficult to get access to (if at all). Your host organization can also create custom reports for you, however you need to remember, they have their own organization to run and may also be supporting hundreds of Community Connect sites.
Extracts are an important part of reporting. With extracts you can manipulate and display the data any way you want to. Using the data extracts you can also build a data warehouse and run any number of reporting tools against it to get the reports you want.
Any one of the reporting options discussed above can be used for data extracts, however the following issue still exists, can you get access to the data you need. You can ask your host organization to build extracts for you and provide the data files on a regular basis, but could run into availability issues as with custom reporting.
In any event, extracts are a great way to go because of their data warehousing capability and because they can easily be setup to only include data for your service area, so there should be no concern about accessing another site’s data.
As a Community Connect site, you will probably find yourself using a combination options described above. Some important points to remember about your host organization are:
There are concerns about
who sees whose data. They probably don’t want you looking at their
financial data and you probably don’t what them or other Community Connect
sites looking at yours.
There are concerns about
taxing resources. Rogue queries can easily hinder system responsiveness
for your host organization and all Community Connect sites.
· There are maintenance concerns. They probably don’t want to maintain a large number of custom reports or extracts specific to each Community Connect site.
A great plan for a host organization would be to design a standard set of data extracts and then loop through them on a nightly basis for each service area creating a complete set for each Community Connect site. The extracts can be created in separate folders for each site and then transferred via SFTP to the sites. Any enhancements that are needed should be done across the board (i.e., all Community Connect Sites have the same extract files and layouts). New columns can be added to the end of an extract and can be ignored by sites if they don’t need them. New files for new types of data can be created, but again should be created across the board. Individual sites can ignore those files if they don’t need them.
Forefront Technologies offers
a multi-dimensional reporting tool with standard reports and data warehouse
capabilities geared towards Community Connect.
Contact us today at http://forefronttechnologiesonline.com/contactus.asp to discuss how we can help your practice.