When Adrienne Edens became chief information officer at St. Luke's Health System, a four-hospital organization based in Boise, Idaho, one of her first tasks was the creation of a business intelligence strategy. "We had none," she recalls. "We had a decision support system with patient accounting that produced reactive, retrospective reports." Not only that, the very nature of the organization was changing, as St. Luke's began acquiring physician practices. "It was a whole new business area, and we had very little information about it."

Like many hospitals, St. Luke's has a multitude of EHRs in place, 11 according to Edens' count. These encompass four ambulatory EHRs, two systems for the acute care hospitals, plus a variety of systems used in niche areas, such as the ED or perinatal departments. And with a growing number of employed physicians (300 as of mid-summer), the health system is looking to understand what services the physicians use in such areas as heart and vascular, oncology, and pediatric services.

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