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Established by the State…Or the Federal Government – #Obamacare


Established by the State...Or the Federal Government - #Obamacare

Obamacare wins again.

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Obamacare. They held in a 6-3 decision that the Affordable Care Act authorized federal tax credits for eligible Americans living not only in states with their own exchanges but also in the 34 states with federal exchanges.

pablo (6)Those that challenged the law argued that the federal government shouldn’t be able to provide subsidies to individuals living in states without their own healthcare exchanges. The purpose of the Affordable Care Act is to improve health insurance markets and the income-based subsidies are critical to its success because it helps make health insurance more affordable and accessible – ultimately reducing the number of uninsured Americans. If the Supreme Court would have ruled in their favor subsidies for more than 6.4 million Americans would have been cut off. Cutting off the subsidies for individuals in the 34 states that rely on exchanges run by the federal government would have been disastrous for the law and for the 6.4 millions of Americans that rely on them. According to estimates by the Rand Corp and the Urban Institute, without those subsidies the number of uninsured would have swelled by more than 8 million people.

The Affordable Care Act has created an increase in competition for healthcare insurance and services. Before the act, many patients were either uninsured or enrolled in a county program that only covered services at certain institutions. Patients didn’t have options and could not seek care elsewhere. With Obamacare, patients have more choices and can seek care elsewhere. This creates more pressure on healthcare organizations to provide excellent customer experiences and deliver high-quality and affordable care. Read the rest of this post »

Healthy Revenue Healthy Future #ANI2015 #HFMA


Healthy Revenue Healthy Future

This is a phrase that caught my eye here at #ANI2015 on the showroom floor. I’m sure the intent was to discuss revenue cycle solutions but for me this phrase manifests in other ways. Namely “understanding true cost” and “providing transparent pricing”. Both are important topics that correlate to consumerism and to the “Healthy Future” for hospitals.

Transparent pricing increases collections at the time of service, improves cash flow, reduces patient receivables and bad debt. Perhaps more importantly, for the patient it educates them on their financial responsibility from the beginning, allowing financial planning with no surprises and for the hospital, understanding fully burden margin provides a true margin to guide the business. There are many factors that influence price setting, not the least of which is the federal government (Medicare/Medicaid), but I suspect the reason that hospitals don’t more closely link pricing to margins is that they lack visibility into their own data.

Data is king and to understand and achieve sufficient transparency and maintain a proactive approach to maintaining margins, hospitals must be capable of correlating costs for supplies and drugs, etc. with the cost of the care providers and with overhead costs and then compare this with the payments from payers, individuals and other purchasers. While we certainly can’t take the federal government out of the equation for hospitals, recent expectations have been set for quality performance that may help the affected organizations begin to take a more margin focused view of pricing. Bringing together necessary data is not simple and definitely should be approached iteratively using a configurable set of analytic tools that can provide the right data at the right time to the right individuals in the organization who manage operations and continue or create new services.

Perficient specializes in implementing enterprise performance management solutions in healthcare and we’d love to talk to you about these challenges and how our clients are solving them using technology.   We are exhibiting at HFMA National Institute 2015 #ANI2015 this week in Orlando. Stop by booth #1347 to view our demo and talk to us about your decision support objectives.

Follow me on twitter at teriemc

Don’t Forget About Consumer Experience Amidst The Chaos of M&A


Don't Forget About Patient Experience Amidst the Chaos of M&A

The healthcare industry continues down the path of transformation with the goal to provide higher quality, lower cost care for individuals and overall populations. To meet these new objectives, healthcare providers are entering into newly formed partnerships and entities, which bring regional healthcare providers together with health plans to address population health, integrated care delivery models, and health information exchanges that span outside traditional geographic or organizational boundaries. Merger activity has rapidly increased and is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. A KPMG study suggesting M&A activity will increase seven percent this year. Horizontal and vertical merger activity across health systems, hospitals and other healthcare settings is forecast to continue as larger networks seek to expand their footprint, consolidate services, and ultimately drive toward the financial benefits of increased purchasing power while reducing overall costs. Read the rest of this post »

5 Steps to a 360-Degree Healthcare Marketing Strategy

5 Steps to a 360 degree healthcare marketing strategy

Last month I attended a Healthcare Marketing Summit in Chicago.  During the event, Melody Smith Jones, Manager of Connected Health at Perficient discussed how hospitals should be taking the best practice marketing ideas and approaches from the retail industry and applying them to healthcare.

Setting the stage for applying A Retail Strategy for Healthcare Melody discussed the five marketing imperatives (drivers) of the retail industry in dealing with the connected consumer:

  • Relentless competition
  • Price transparency
  • Pervasive technology
  • A Shoppers journey
  • Consumer is in control

She also discussed the retail industry response to these imperatives:

  • Enhancing the customer experience
  • Omni-channel synchronization
  • Personalization
  • Leveraging data
  • Digital transformation

With this as introduction, Melody then laid out the Five Steps to implement a 360 degree marketing strategy: Read the rest of this post »

Taming Healthcare Data #ANI2015 #HFMA

Taming Healthcare Data

I read an article in CIO Magazine recently while doing research on big data in healthcare. The article discussed how to make use of the petabytes of patient data that healthcare organizations possess. No matter how we plan to use it, we have to extract it from legacy systems and build visualizations that can make sense of it.

This data by itself doesn’t make a company successful; organizations must act on information and filter what is useful, appropriate and above all else, actionable. Those few organizations that are able to leverage all of their data and harness the power of insightful and timely analytics have been differentiated in the market. Read the rest of this post »

Webinar: A Look Inside A Leading Telehealth Provider

A Look Inside the Nation's Leading Telehealth Provider

Healthcare is undergoing a seismic change in the way organizations think about healthcare delivery, and telehealth is one of the movements leading this evolution. Healthcare organizations are leveraging innovative technologies to:

  • Reduce patient visits and lower healthcare costs
  • Empower patients through self-treatment
  • Deliver alternate methods of patient/provider communication
  • Manage symptoms and medical conditions for the patients and populations they serve
  • Generate data-driven insights

The nation’s leading telehealth provider, KP OnCall, a fully owned subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente is utilizing cloud technology to gain efficiencies, lower costs and manage symptoms with an interactive symptom checker that empowers their patients.

Join Perficient and KP OnCall for an educational webinar to learn more about the KP OnCall story. If you are unable to join the live webinar, sign up to receive the recorded presentation.

Leveraging Technology to Empower Patients and Reduce Healthcare Costs
Tuesday, July 14, 2015   |   1:00 CTRegister Now

6 Keys to a Digital Marketing Mindset in Healthcare


Chris Bevolo, author of “Joe Public Does not Care about your Hospital” and more recently, “Joe Public II: Embracing the new Paradigm” spoke at the Chicago Healthcare Marketing Summit on May 27. He shared why the word Paradigm is the right word to describe the sea change in digital marketing:

In 1962, Thomas Kuhn wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolution, and introduced the idea of “paradigm shift”. He argued that advancement is not evolutionary, but rather is a “series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions,” and in those revolutions “one conceptual world view is replaced by another”.

Chris also spoke about the Six keys to the digital marketing mind-set:

  • The need to rethink how healthcare approaches marketing – understanding how digital marketing tools and channels become the first thing to consider, not the last
  • Digital is not an add-on to existing marketing campaigns – Digital needs to be integrated from the start in your marketing planning efforts
  • Make sure web, mobile and search are considered from the start of any campaign planning
  • Incorporate digital marketing channels, resources and efforts across a broad range of initiatives as well as providing the ability to dive deep into the content in relevant subject areas
  • Engagement is the ultimate goal of any marketing campaign
  • Always remember to include mobile audiences in your thinking and approach

So how do you know when you have achieved digital marketing mastery:

  • Digitally Driven – Digital strategies and tactics account for more than half of your overall marketing budget and digital managers and directors have a seat at the table when the organization is developing their annual marketing plan.
  • Brand Powered – The brand is the identity of the organization and should represent the face and voice of the organization. Organizations need to build and enhance the brand experience through digital marketing venues.
  • Content Relevancy – We live in a world where we are surrounded by content – it is the context of that content that sometimes gets overlooked. Organizations must design their websites so content is prioritized for specific audiences and keep content educational not promotional.
  • Goal Oriented – Digital marketing efforts should be tied to business goals and measurement should be a priority. The results should be reported regularly and transparent for the organization to see.

Just like any organization, moving to the new digital marketing paradigm will take time for healthcare organizations. Change usually causes resistance within organizations so it is important to prepare your organization with change management strategies and start changing the mindset that visibility means marketing.

Healthcare organizations that embrace the new digital marketing mindset will have a competitive advantage because they will more effectively connect and engage with patients and be able to convert unknown consumers into patients. By leveraging digital marketing tools, healthcare organizations can empower patients with information that can improve their overall health and wellness.

3 Perspectives on Healthcare Marketing


I recently attended an event in Chicago where Chris Bevolo (Author of “Joe Public II: Embracing the New Paradigm”, Melody Smith Jones (Manager, Connected Health at Perficient) and Jason Rushforth (Oracle Vice President of Industry Solutions) discussed the evolving healthcare marketing landscape.

I was pleased to see that these three individuals presented three topics that meshed into a holistic view of what is happening in healthcare marketing and what can be done to improve the relationship between providers and consumers (yes, and even patients).

Chris described the old marketing paradigm: mass advertising and promotional messages considered as the one and only approach versus the new paradigm: digital marketing and content marketing as distinct approaches.  Jason talked about marketing across industries and solutions that improve marketing effectiveness. Melody approached the topic by looking at the retail marketing model and shared important data points:

  • Firms that deliver superior experiences outperformed the S&P by 30% over six years
  • Firms that deliver poor experiences under-perform the S&P by 45%
  • 86% of consumers are willing to pay more to get a better experience
  • 65% of consumers are frustrated when presented with an inconsistent experience across channels

All the speakers brought valuable and insightful perspectives on healthcare marketing:

  • Consumers binge on content – don’t start with great content and then leave the consumer wanting more – make sure your content is rich, targeted and deep
  • Four challenges – Rising consumer expectations; Continual connectivity; Organizational velocity wins; and the Abundance of consumer data
  • 82% of enterprise marketers have no synchronized view of customer data (this is true across all industries)
  • Difficult to manage and coordinate all consumer interactions across channels and digital engagements
  • Content is a difficult domain: organizations spend up to 25% of their budget on content, but 70% of that content goes unused – resulting in a broken consumer experience

The speakers summarized their presentations by relating their perspectives to healthcare marketing. I will be taking a deeper dive into each of these perspectives in future blog posts:

  • Six Keys to a digital marketing mindset
  • Five Steps to implement a 360 degree marketing strategy
  • Seven major challenges affecting health engagement – and how to overcome them

This event, hosted by Perficient and Oracle was very informative and filled with great content from three different perspectives, all driving towards a single view on healthcare marketing!

Rolling Forecasts in Healthcare Improve Accuracy


The assumption that rolling forecasts improve accuracy really tests the validity of our data in healthcare. Do we know enough about the metrics that are driving a useful driver-based forecast? The rolling forecast is usually a quarterly budget with a two to three year horizon that keeps a close eye on the organization’s trajectory. Typically the forecast budget is not prepared at the department level but may instead focus on divisions or even at an entity level. Global budget drivers and assumptions will typically be the same as the annual budget but those unique to a department or division may not be line itemed. The forecast is built using historical trends, current conditions and future assumptions for budget drivers. Some forecasts may be primarily driven by revenue drivers with expenses flowing from ratios defined to the model. The forecast feedback process fosters the partnership between finance and operations to allow the organization to course correct sooner and reinforce the cause-effect relationships that impact reality.   Some organizations use the rolling forecast process in conjunction with the annual budget and others have moved to using the forecast only.

Benefits of replacing the annual process with a rolling forecast may include:

  • Spending fewer resources on budget preparation and variance analysis.
  • Reinforces a culture of continuous performance management.
  • Allows a longer ramp-up time for course correction.
  • Supports the organization’s economic model (3-5 year macro level plan) used for capital allocation decisions, margin targets, M&A modeling and other purposes.

The rolling forecast should be tailored to meet your organization’s needs and based on my experience, the forecast should be a continuous learning process and more flexible to make necessary changes when needed from both a process and a technology perspective.

Stop by Perficient’s booth #118 at the Oracle Healthcare Industry Group conference in Las Vegas June 7-10th to learn how we have helped clients deploy rolling forecast applications using Oracle Hyperion Planning and/or Strategic Finance and learn more about our High-Performance Costing Expressway solution.

Follow-me at teriemc

Moving Toward Innovative Cost Transformation

Leverage Clinical and Financial Data to Improve Patient Outcomes

If you read the trade journals for hospitals and health systems, you are reading about cost transformation and cost management. That said, I think this really means different things to different people. In fact, I hear people say “cost” often when in fact they mean “expense”. This minor exchange of words really changes the subject. Today, I want to talk about moving toward cost vs. quality and how it will require two worlds to collide.

I wrote a blog a few months ago about taking a quality approach to ICD10 conversions and to some degree the same discipline will be required to bridge operational and clinical functions – including collaboration from the CFO, finance staff, CMO (Chief Medical Officer), CNO (Chief Nursing Officer) and division/department administrators – to consider quality, safety, patient satisfaction, and financial performance simultaneously. In some organizations, there may be a need to significantly and fundamentally rethink operations and what services and businesses are core to their mission.   New productivity measures may emerge and new and different uses of technology may emerge. I think this is a fundamental culture shift which will require collaboration and significant leadership to see it through to completion. This, along with EMR adoption is rightly transforming healthcare and I’m not even talking about “BIG” data yet.

This culture shift should include an evolved IT staff as well. Priorities must be set for integrating and storing data to support these initiatives. The volume of data needed to extract and evaluate EMR patient-level data on a daily basis is not something for Excel. While data visualizations can take many forms, the data analysis for quality and cost has to be repeatable, sharable and trustworthy.

We are already seeing a trend of hospital CFO retirements … and I think there will be more. Tell me what you think?

If you are attending the Oracle Healthcare User Group @HIUG_Interact 2015, taking place in Las Vegas June 7-10, stop by booth #118, meet our dynamic team and discuss new ways to optimize your analytics!

Follow-me at teriemc

Pre-Packaged Analytics Applications Measure What Matters

Pre-Packaged Analytics Applications Measure What Matters

My years of working with transactional systems helps me really appreciate the age old question of “how to get data out?” My curiosity about using data to gain actionable business insights started with the first computer program I ever developed. It was a natural progression of my problem-solving skills. I was involved with building transformational financial reporting applications to complement the then state of the art mainframe ERP applications in play at Continental Airlines. Time would prove this approach as not sustainable so I was very excited for the next phase of “pre-packaged analytics applications” such as Seibel Analytics and Essbase integration with Lawson ERP (both were “the best thing since sliced bread”).

Like most technology, these pre-packaged analytics applications have improved over time so I truly believe that BI managers should consider implementing them. These apps are prebuilt and aligned with functional and vertical business domains that are built on a pre-integrated, scalable data warehousing infrastructure. They are geared to organizations that want to accelerate the time it takes to deploy BI solutions and deliver an analytical complement to their packaged operational applications.

A packaged analytics application integrates all the components required to deliver a BI solution:

  • Connectors to various packaged operational systems (i.e. CRM, ERP, Sales, EMR)
  • An extendable and flexible enterprise data model
  • Extract, transform and load (ETL) tools
  • A BI semantic layer
  • Query and reporting tools, including ad hoc capability
  • Predefined metrics, reports and dashboards … sometimes hundreds of them.

Vendors of packaged solutions integrate these components using industry best practices and techniques. This is key because they also provide upgrades as the transactional data is improved and it means that customers get a best-in-class BI solution in weeks compared to months if they were to build a solution from scratch. The best analytics packages all run off the same enterprise model and platform so that healthcare organizations can start with one functional application and extend it with a comprehensive, integrated, enterprise BI solution one application at a time.

Pre-packaged solutions are readily available and should be considered as value add when making an evaluation of ERP and EMR applications. The two big EMR powerhouses are both providing some level of pre-packaged reporting solutions. The vendors know their data models and these pre-built solutions are the fastest way to measure what matters when it comes to common business transactions.

Pre-packaged applications play a vital role of aggregating data for a set of business processes, but if an enterprise expects to get true value of their data, the need for an “Enterprise” data warehouse still exists. This is why I am so passionate about these solutions … the chance to find new and actionable insights from data is the ultimate goal of analytics. We can’t find out the value without “mashing up” data across silos. For example: how to understand revenue to expense ratios or productivity metrics such as FTEs per unit sold, hours worked per billable test or how to correlate unstructured data such as social media data with structured data when evaluating a patient in a clinical trial.

Perficient implements both pre-packaged analytics and data warehouse technology across multiple platforms. The Oracle Enterprise Healthcare Analytics (EHA) platform is uniquely adaptable to breaking down the silos in healthcare though an integrated model that expands across finance, clinical and research domains.

If you are attending the Oracle Healthcare User Group @HIUG_Interact 2015, taking place in Las Vegas June 7-10, stop by booth #118, meet our dynamic team and discuss new ways to optimize your analytics!

Follow me on twitter at teriemc

Chicago Networking Event: The New Hospital Marketing Paradigm

The New Hospital Marketing Paradigm - A Change in Focus

Consumers today are more demanding than they ever have been before. They expect conveniences, easy access, choices and leverage the internet to find the best value. Regardless of the industry, consumers are drivers of change and organizations are identifying ways to connect with consumers and deliver a top-notch customer experience. Healthcare marketing executives need to refocus their initiatives to put the customer first not the campaign.

In the healthcare industry, healthcare consumers are experiencing a rapid pace of change. Government regulations are helping to transform the industry and healthcare consumers are seeing the benefits and challenges that often accompany change. Healthcare consumers are beginning to blur the line between retail and healthcare and are demanding a similar experience. Price transparency, personalization and omin-channel to name a few. One of the many challenges within healthcare is not the amount of data, but the location of the data and the need to keep patient data private and secure. Healthcare organizations have access to more data than they know what to do with, the problem is that data is often located in several disparate systems, making it nearly impossible to get a complete patient view.

Turning data into knowledge is critical to the success of any organization and this is especially true for healthcare. Data can generate actionable insights to improve the overall customer experience and can be leveraged to engage and empower healthcare consumers – resulting in better patient outcomes for individuals and populations. Healthcare marketing executives are leveraging digital strategies, already used in the retail industry, to connect and empower healthcare consumers and create an individualized experience outside of the traditional care setting.

If you are interested in learning more about digital strategies in healthcare and the impact data can have on your organization join us for a complimentary networking event. This event is for healthcare marketing executives responsible for hospital marketing, advertising or community engagement. Chris Bevolo, Author of Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital; Melody Smith Jones, Manager of Connected Health at Perficient and Jason Rushforth, Vice President of Industry Solutions at Oracle will lead a discussion on how hospitals can orchestrate individual interactions with customers, facilitate, customize and expand customer outreach and use leverage online tools to support patients after discharge.


Register Today!
Wednesday, May 27
Time: 12:00PM(noon) – 2:00PM CST
Address: Marriott Oak Brook, 1401 W 22nd St, Oak Brook, IL 60523