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Good data the key to responsive change: Baxter Healthcare

Good data the key to responsive change: Baxter Healthcare

Data analysis helped healthcare provider improve customer interactions and marketing

Baxter Healthcare IT director, Marise Hannaford, talks business intelligence at the CIO Summit. Credit: Ian Sharpe

Baxter Healthcare IT director, Marise Hannaford, talks business intelligence at the CIO Summit. Credit: Ian Sharpe

Baxter Healthcare has used business intelligence data analysis to reduce errors and enhance customer experience, according to Baxter Healthcare IT director, Marise Hannaford.

In addition, Baxter has rolled out tablets and smartphones to staff in an effort to bolster its marketing efforts, she told the CIO Summit today in Sydney.

Baxter Healthcare is an 80-year-old provider of B2B healthcare products and services, including IV solutions, compounding solutions and bioscience. It has 1500 employees in Australia and New Zealand.

Possessing good data is critical to finding and fixing business problems, Hannaford said.

"Having the data is what clearly enables you to be reactive and responsive."

After analysing data about customer interactions, Hannaford discovered a crop of data entry errors that were resulting in returned stock.

"Once we knew where the problem was occurring, we were able to refocus our attention on that," she said.

The company made about 25 changes to customer support related to people, processes and technology, and the error rate has gone down significantly, she said.

Today, the biggest source of errors relate to mistakes made by the customers themselves, she said.

Read more: ABS develops Web service for users to create own population clock

Baxter also relies on data analysis to improve the quality of calls with customers, she said.

After noting a high number of outbound calls shorter than 60 seconds — too short for an effective communication with customers — Baxter has decided to overhaul the model. Rather than cold-calling customers, Baxter now sends a reminder to customers asking them to call back at their own convenience, she said.

On the marketing side, Baxter has been collecting data about how customers navigate its new Web portal, launched in February. Baxter salespeople can use that data to make more informed pitches to customers, Hannaford said.

Baxter also recently rolled out 500 Apple iPad and iPhone devices to sales staff. The rollout was funded in part by a decision to stop printing brochures, Hannaford said.

The staff use the iPad to show video demonstrations of Baxter products to customers, she said. The use of video provides a much more compelling pitch than showing customers pictures in a book, she said.

None of Baxter's recent initiatives could have happened without a global consolidation of the healthcare company's ERP system, Hannaford said.

It was no easy process, she said, comparing the ERP overhaul to child birth or running a first marathon. And customers did not directly see the benefits, she said.

"But it was the essential first step that we had to go through to get us on the platform that enabled us to do more..."

Adam Bender covers business tech issues for CIO and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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