When I’m asked what customers use QlikView for, I usually respond with the top of mind answers about dynamic reporting, actionable dashboards, and works-the-way-your-mind-works type of analytics. There’s nothing wrong with those answers – that’s why most customers buy business intelligence software, and QlikView in particular. Last week I attended the first-ever QlikView Technology Summit in the San Francisco bay area where I got to mingle with several hundred QlikView customers and prospects. One customer’s use for QlikView blew me away.


This customer works for a healthcare company. He told me their nurses use QlikView. Not too surprising, I thought to myself, as many hospitals use QlikView to analyze patient data. He then told me how QlikView helps nurses diagnose patients. As patients describe their symptoms, the nurses make selections in the QlikView app. QlikView displays a list of possible diagnoses, narrowing down the options as the nurses make more selections.

Wow! This is the power of QlikView’s associative experience at work. If you’ve ever been to a specialist at a hospital, you usually fill out a very long questionnaire about your symptoms. This annoys me because most of the questions have nothing to do with why I’m there. By using QlikView, the nurse is able to quickly zero in on the problem because all the unrelated options are greyed out as soon as the nurse makes a selection. You might notice that this creative use of QlikView, an ostensibly BI tool, has nothing to do with charts, visualizations, and dashboards. And unlike so-called “expert systems,” where nurses follow a predefined path of questions much like a traditional call center, QlikView allows nurses to follow the patient’s own train of thought and their own experience of their condition.

I can immediately imagine a list of tangible benefits:

  • Faster time to diagnosis
  • More accurate diagnosis (because a newly-trained nurse has access to the same expertise as a seasoned pro)
  • Better patient experience (because they aren’t being asked lots of unrelated questions over and over)
  • More efficient and lower-cost healthcare

At a time when the quality and cost of healthcare seems to be at odds with each other, QlikView shows how hospitals can deliver better care at a lower cost.  Now that’s what I call a win-win situation!