Creating the digital hospital

Nantes University Hospital Center uses SAS® Visual Analytics to deliver high-quality, cost-effective care

Nantes University Hospital Center wants medical personnel, administrators and financial executives to be able to explore key data to help patients get better quickly at the most reasonable cost. The hospital is using SAS Visual Analytics for data visualization as part of a larger project to integrate financial affairs, human resources and medical information.

SAS Visual Analytics provides access and a personalized view of key information. It’s a real accelerator of our analytical transformation.
Pierrick Martin

Pierrick Martin
DSIT Technical Director

The data-driven approach is 15 years in the making. It gained momentum in 2007 when France introduced its T2A regulations to encourage hospitals to provide effective care at lower costs. These regulations require hospitals to bill by case, instead of for each individual cost incurred during a stay.

Before T2A, the hospital worked with SAS to get all its data into a data warehouse, then added analytics to better understand costs. With the arrival of the cost accounting measures mandated by T2A, the hospital chose SAS® Cost and Profitability Management for activity-based cost assistance. “This allowed us to produce an in-house analysis of the costs per hospitalization,” says Catherine Michel, head of the DSIT (Directorate for Information and Telecommunications Systems) project. The set of solutions also helps the hospital participate in the National Cost Scale, a program that compares costs between private and public hospitals.

The era of data visualization: moving toward the customization and sharing of data

While the data warehouse, analytics and performance management programs helped tremendously, the hospital wanted to go one step further: enrich its data warehouse and open the data to managers, clinics and medical staff so they could explore data directly. The hospital tied the visual analytics to its PRISM (Portal for Medical and Economic Return and Monitoring) project, which integrates financial affairs, human resources, the medical information service and DSIT around the clinics.

The hospital staff can now look at cost and verify against revenue, add in information about drug costs, and segment the information by clinic. The data warehouse makes certain the data is consistent, and the visualization allows nontechnical users to understand what they are seeing. The hospital can also compare data for each patient against French health care treatment standards (PMSI) that are designed to reduce treatment inequality between hospitals.

With data available to everyone, it should be easier to improve care. In each clinic, the doctors, administrators and financial executives can work hand in hand with the same indicators, to better monitor activities and outcomes.

Democratizing access to data

“SAS Visual Analytics provides access and a personalized view of key information,” says Pierrick Martin, the hospital’s DSIT Technical Director. “We’ve chosen to empower practitioners by asking them to enter their own medical activity.” This is a welcome change because individuals can look at their own metrics. “It’s a real accelerator of our analytical transformation,” Martin says. Administrators, for instance, can see how their metrics on cost compare against costs at similar institutions in France.

Martin says the hospital is working on creating a data-driven culture, one that will soon embrace data access via mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. “We must remain vigilant to guarantee the proper management of access permissions to potentially very sensitive information, including from the personal mobile devices of employees,” says Martin. “Eventually, each user will be able to access his or her own information library.”

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nantes


Comply with government regulations that encourage high-quality, cost-effective care.


SAS® Visual Analytics


Visualization allows medical personnel, administrators and the financial staff to explore data from different perspectives and work to improve metrics.

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