Truth in numbers

Truth in numbers

When the IU School of Medicine needed to figure out how much faculty are paid, there was no easy way to do it – no button to push that would reveal all components of a faculty member’s dual employment compensation with the university and IU Health. Instead, there was a long slog down countless information alleyways, retrieving bits of data here and there from various data heaps, calling numerous people to verify its accuracy, and then moving on to retrieve some more until an entire picture of an individual's compensation could be put together. 

It was no way to live. The School of Medicine needed these hard numbers for important decisions and actions, like making sure they were comparably paying individuals in similar positions, figuring out how much to pay a new recruit, and determining how the IU School of Medicine measures up when compared to other schools of medicine. Yet the numbers took forever to get, were fraught with potential for error, and frequently had to be revised if new data came to light after the initial hunt was over.

A complicating factor is that the majority of its faculty members are also practicing clinicians or physicians at hospitals and receive pay from the hospital as well as from IU for their teaching or research faculty appointment. On top of that, some may also receive additional compensation for supplemental responsibilities, such as holding an administrative position. 

The School of Medicine's situation is representative of difficulties shared across the university, where day-in,-day-out decisions could be flat-out hard to make. These problems led the university to establish a renewed push for better decision-making at all levels – the Decision Support Initiative (DSI).

Staff at the school was able to leverage tools and infrastructure IU already had to finally access all the information they needed with the touch of a button, without having to build their own software or buy anything new.

"We identified the elements we needed to blend together and the kinds of decisions we needed to make, planned it out, and worked with the School’s Business Intelligence team, University Information Technology Services, Clinical Affairs IT, and the DSI staff to figure out the best route," said Ray Kliewer, director of human resources at the School of Medicine. "The end result is that we have the ability to type in a name and retrieve the majority of the pieces and parts of an individual faculty member's compensation."