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CASE STUDY - Cancer Care Ontario: Creating One Stop Access to Cancer Services Information

Cancer Care Ontario

Commentary by Richard Duck, Portfolio Manager, Data Warehousing, Cancer Care Ontario

Cancer Care Ontario is the Ontario government’s principal adviser on cancer care in the province. Cancer Care Ontario’s (CCO) primary mission is to provide the Ministry of Health in Ontario with funding recommendations for the delivery of cancer services to the 14 different health regions in Ontario. To facilitate this, CCO collects data from a variety of institutions and hospitals. The data collected ranges from cancer diagnosis, pathology data, and surgical data, to hospital in- and outpatient data, as well as a variety of other program-specific information. This information enables CCO to help guide the cancer system in the province, as key health informatics resources plan and manage for the burden of cancer today and in the future.

An Accessible, Easy-to-Use, Web-Based Portal

In September 2005, Cancer Care Ontario launched its first implementation of the data warehouse and a new, Web-based, analytic tool called iPort. To date, iPort has been rolled out to over 250 cancer planners in Ontario and several other healthcare providers, public health units, administrative functional groups, and the ministry.

iPort enables its users to view prepackaged cancer reports easily and without any detailed analytics in a section of the tool called “quick facts.” Quick facts enable high-level users to log into iPort and get an easy-to-follow overview of the cancer system by subject area, such as cancer surveillance or cancer activity. In each of these areas, quick facts tell users the story of what is happening in the province, and how they can use these reports to gain a better understanding of the critical information provided.

In addition, iPort provides more frequent users with the capacity to build their own “prompted” reports in a section of the tool called “detailed analysis.” This section enables users to select the attributes, metrics, and filters they would like to see in their reports and build them to their own specifications. Both of these sections have proved highly useful for CCO users as they work to plan and manage the cancer system.

iPort and the underlying data warehouse have been built using several technologies, including MicroStrategy 8 (recently upgraded to 8.02). The capabilities of MicroStrategy and the creation of iPort have helped to change the external perception of CCO from a slow, process-heavy, silo-driven agency to a highly effective information management organization that empowers users to get the data they need quickly and easily.

Creating and implementing iPort has facilitated robust reporting and analysis capabilities via an accessible, easy-to-use, Web-based portal. The solution provides increased efficiency, improved access to information, and increased reporting and analysis on key clinical, research, financial, planning, and measurement questions. It has also improved productivity and reduced labor costs.

iPort’s Relevance to Other Healthcare Organizations

Not only has the introduction of iPort and the addition of the data warehouse had a positive impact on the way that CCO gathers, stores, manages, and disseminates information, but in addition, several other healthcare organizations are now approaching CCO for assistance with their data warehouse road maps and other similar tools. To date, iPort has been introduced and demonstrated at more than 25 internal and external executive- and ministry-hosted events, as well as data warehouse industry events.

In 2006, CCO will start using the data warehouse and iPort to create the first fully integrated cancer continuum reporting tool, by patient, in Canada. This function will support a highly advanced level of reporting and will enable cancer planners and researchers to track patients from population-based risk factors and screening, through diagnosis and treatment, to outcome.

iPort Stands Out and Delivers a One-Stop User Experience

CCO information consumers now have “one-stop shopping” for cancer services information. iPort was designed by users, for users, and delivers an appropriately organized and integrated information architecture targeted at specific users and their needs. iPort presents consistent answers to important business questions, removing subjective interpretations and providing an authoritative source on provincial cancer information. In doing so, iPort has garnered strong executive sponsorship, business sponsorship, and cancer planner/manager support; strong buy-in from the user community; high user adoption; and increased efficiency in cancer planning results.

In short, the data warehouse and iPort, powered by MicroStrategy, enables CCO to deliver information products in the most effective manner, with unlimited possibilities for improvement and growth, and establishes a strong component in CCO’s continuing effort to reduce the burden of cancer on Ontarians.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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