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SLUCOR’s New Partnership Advances Health Care Quality with Data Analytics across Missouri

Saint Louis University Center for Health Outcomes Research (SLUCOR) has partnered with the Missouri Hospital Association and Hospital Industry Data Institute (HIDI) to train hospital-based quality analysts across the state.

SLUCOR partnership

Director of SLUCOR training Bob Sutter (center) poses with students and collaborators from the Missouri Hospital Association who were part of the pilot training program completed in November.

The new partnership will make available SLUCOR’s Applied Healthcare Quality Improvement Analytics (AHQIA) training program to all association member hospitals throughout Missouri.

“The Applied Healthcare Quality Improvement Analytics training course equips hospital quality analysts with necessary data analysis knowledge and skills,” said Herb Kuhn, president and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association. “Using practical quality and safety data examples, attendees learn how to apply statistical tools and methodologies to identify and understand variation. The Hospital Industry Data Institute is excited to partner with Saint Louis University's Center for Health Outcomes Research in delivering this program.”

Around the country, hospitals face increasing demands for measuring and delivering high quality health care at lower cost.  Government agencies and health insurance companies are requiring performance measurements and quality improvement processes. Today, this work requires robust capacity to manage, merge and analyze data from many sources, such as electronic health records, medical devices and financial systems. Mobile-enabled personal health devices will add more complexity over the next few years.

“SLUCOR continues to innovate, pushing forward the role of a university in health care transformation,” said Philip Alderson, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and vice president of medical affairs. “Last year the SLUCOR team launched a new Healthcare Data Science degree program, and this year they leveraged the same data-driven expertise and experience to advance quality improvement operations.”

We view partnerships like this one as a way for Saint Louis University to impact health care at scale … delivering greater good well beyond our region."

Tom Burroughs, Ph.D.

Over many weeks using a blended online/onsite format, the AHQIA program delivers a module-based learning experience focused on analytic skill and tasks required for hospital quality analysts to be successful and efficient in their roles. AHQIA uses the open-source statistical package R, an emerging standard in analytics across many industries. Participants receive a solid foundation on which to expand analytical capabilities through R programming.

“We have taken our team’s experience and expertise in data science and outcomes research to support health care system improvement statewide,” said Tom Burroughs, Ph.D., executive director of SLUCOR.  “We view partnerships like this one as a way for Saint Louis University to impact health care at scale … delivering greater good well beyond our region.”

SLUCOR launched the Missouri Hospital Association AHQIA program at their annual meeting and convention in Lake Ozark, Missouri, and showcased the program at the annual meeting of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Orlando, Florida.  Three AHQIA cohorts in Missouri are being scheduled for 2017, and two additional cohorts will be offered fully online.

For more information about AHQIA or SLUCOR’s partnership with the Missouri Hospital Association, contact Robert Sutter, RN, MBA, MHA, director of training and operations, Center for Health Outcomes Research.  Sutter has 24 years of experience in executive leadership and quality improvement in hospitals and health systems.  He is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and has worked with hospitals across the country in effectively using data analysis to improve healthcare quality.


SLUCOR was established as an independent degree granting center at Saint Louis University in 2002 as an interdisciplinary academic unit focused on the effectiveness and efficiency of health care. SLUCOR brings together expertise from the fields of health services research, medicine, psychology, epidemiology, computing, economics, and statistics to teach, mentor students and residents, conduct research, and advise health system leaders across the nation. Visit

About Missouri Hospital Association’s Hospital Industry Data Institute

The Hospital Industry Data Institute (HIDI), a nonprofit organization founded by the Missouri Hospital Association, provides timely access to data and information services for hospitals to support their strategic planning, advocacy and health policy initiatives. With more than 30 years of experience in data collection, HIDI’s staff continues to build on its expertise in reporting services. This not-for-profit organization founded by the Missouri Hospital Association continues to serve hospitals’ increasing needs for high-quality data resources through its data collection, analysis and dissemination to more than 1,400 hospitals nationwide.