BroadReach Healthcare Remedies Medical Data in Africa
Improves data understanding, access, and decision-making with Spotfire
BroadReach believes that one of the biggest barriers to improving healthcare is getting the right information to the right people at the right time.
We’re in a situation we call public health 1.0 where there are lots of great clinics,hospitals, NGOs, and people doing great things, but none are linked,” says John Sargent, founding partner of BroadReach. “We are dealing with late stage HIV and TB patients, and if it takes three weeks to get a report showing where things are working or not working, people die, they get sicker.
“You can’t get the complete picture unless you get the information from all these sources in a way that you can understand what’s happening in a clinic, province, or country in one or two clicks. That’s the real challenge: understanding all the data that’s available and figuring out how to bring it together so it’s meaningful.”
In 2014, BroadReach unveiled its Health Command Centre for Africa, an innovative online platform that supports decision-making using TIBCO Spotfire® strategic analytics and advanced data visualization. “We looked at a number of BI systems, and Spotfire came out on top because the visualization was phenomenal. The statistical package and power was phenomenal. A lot of BI systems are standalone, but Spotfire is part of a whole suite of products that support each other. We have ambitions to scale and having that capability was very important in our selection.
“Where we’re going with the Health Command Centre we call public health 2.0 where we bring together all the data and try to understand what’s happening. Why is hospital A not doing as well as hospital B, why is country A not doing as well as country B, and can we start advancing and improving the health system.”
Faster Answers, Easy-to-Understand Visual Information
Accessing data in real time is critical for BroadReach. “In the old days, as we were working to improve the healthcare system with the government in South Africa, we would prepare data in Excel after doing weeks of analysis. When we presented the data, people started asking more questions, so we then had to go back and redo the analysis. With Spotfire, people can ask questions, and we can give an answer almost immediately,” says Sargent.
Another critical requirement for BroadReach was visual and intuitive data presentations. “We deal with highly educated doctors, nurses, administrators who don’t necessarily have a background in data. We’ve been able to make data normally presented in tables and complex diagrams really, really simple. Now, if I want to go to a South African health administrator and say, ‘This is how you are doing as a country on measles immunization rates. This is how it breaks down by clinic,’ we can look at it with one very easy to understand graph, and with a click of a button, drill down to more information about specific clinics and dimensions.
“Our staff and our customers—who are usually donors like USAID or the South African government—now have information at their fingertips to make decisions they could never make before. That’s the biggest business benefit: we empower people to make the best decisions possible.”
Increased Efficiency, Proof of Results
Initial results for the Health Command Centre have been phenomenal, says Sargent. “We’ve reduced the time by over 50% that it takes to create usable information for hospital administrators. We don’t have to crunch all this data because it’s automated. The ultimate test is, did we change the outcomes, get more kids vaccines, more people HIV and malaria treatments? We won’t know for a few years, but we’re tracking it very carefully.”
BroadReach is working with major donor agencies to extend the Centre to morecountries, and with Spotfire predictive modeling, public health 3.0 is on its way. “Right now, we’re in the Ebola crisis,” says Sargent. “Imagine if we can predict when the next outbreak will be, notify the minister of health and pharmaceutical companies, get them prepared. That’s our vision and that’s where we are very excited to go.”