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Archive for April, 2011

MEDSEEK Partners with Perficient to Assist Over 800 Hospitals

Microsoft Partner Network

Microsoft Partner Network

Perficient’s Liza Sisler (@lizasisler) is at Microsoft Connected Health Conference this week in Chicago, where she met up with Shaun Priest, Sr. Vice President of Business Development at MEDSEEK. Together, they discussed how working together with MEDSEEK, we will work to drive better results for hospitals across the US and Canada with Microsoft’s SharePoint technology.

MEDSEEK works with over 800 hospitals helping them with their online experience. Recently, MEDSEEK decided to move their platform to SharePoint 2010 where the business productivity system could help hospitals better run their businesses. Because Microsoft had named Perficient their Health Provider Partner of the Year, Microsoft recommended MEDSEEK work with Perficient to assist with services, deployments and conversions.

Liza and Shaun put together a short video that is featured on Microsoft’s partner network homepage today. Watch this one-and-a-half-minute video to learn more about how collaboration between the two companies will put the client – the hospitals and their consumers, patients, employers and physicians – first by leveraging Microsoft technologies to drive efficiencies.

 

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Inviting Patients into the Healthcare Conversation

Under pressure from healthcare reform, many healthcare organizations are focused on legal and financial issues as opposed to the redesign of clinical care.  Ironically, data from IHI shows that healthcare organizations achieve lower costs when they put the highest emphasis on the entire healthcare system that patients use to receive care.  By incorporating the critical components of clinical care into executive decisions, these executives better realize quality outcomes and became market leaders with lower cost structures. 

Many healthcare executives also believe that engaging patients in the design of care increases costs.  However, IHI found that organizations had better clinical outcomes at lower cost when: (1) Data is integrated in such a way that design of care can travel across an entire patient episode and (2) Patients were engaged in the design of their care. 

In actuality, the fragmentation of the patient experience leads to increased cost and decreased patient experience.  This is a lose-lose situation for healthcare providers.  Conversely, providers can win through increased collaboration with patients.

There are many smart options available to invite patients into decisions related to the design of clinical care.  Healthcare portals can be used to empower patients by providing meaningful access to their care and connect a patient to the entire health system that impacts their care.  Similarly, community portals can be created to connect patients to those with similar disease states for information sharing, support, and advice.  This empowers patients to work with healthcare organizations in creating cost saving, and patient centric, clinical care. 

One great example of patient engagement in care using collaborative and social technologies were found in the “Miami Project” used to enhance the quality of care for diabetic populations in low income areas.   In a joint effort between Microsoft and the University of Miami, a group of diabetes patients were given computers and trained on the Internet.  They were then able to communicate with doctors and nurse practitioners via portals.  The portal was used not only to transmit data about weight and self-administered blood sugar tests but also as a virtual classroom to learn about nutrition, exercise, and diabetes care.  Patients were enabled with the ability to send instant messages and email to their healthcare providers and to discuss their disease with other diabetes patients via discussion boards.  These patients were invited into the design of their care plan.  This research showed a strong correlation between patient involvement and a decrease in the high cost of readmissions and the ongoing management diabetes. 

What tools do you think providers should use to include patients in the design of care?  Want to learn more about collaborative technologies in healthcare?  Visit us April 27th and 28th in Chicago at Microsoft Connected Health.  You can find us in booth 14 or you can view our landing page here.

Microsoft Connected Health Conference #MSCHC2011 Day 1 recap

I had the great privilege of being invited to guest blog on the Microsoft Connected Health Conference by the Microsoft Partner team.  You can read the Day 1 recap post here http://microsoftpartnernetwork.com/News/Permalink/215#fbid=dysGQLqv2ms

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Data Driven Scorecard Could Cure Health Plan Cost Concerns

A recent HIMSS Analytics white paper showed that using clinical data to decrease costs was a top concern for health plans. Respondents emphasized the importance of becoming more strategic with regard to both individual patient data and data that relates to groups of patients in identified geographies.  In comparison to health providers, health plans are often viewed as  more tech-savvy with regard to leveraging business intelligence tools.  However, this data use is currently largely limited to answering tactical questions, such as instances where diabetes patients are not following treatment plans.  However, when it comes to the strategic use of data, many health plans are struggling.  They would like to be enabled in the broader use of data to answer more complex questions such as predicting who is most at risk for non-adherence to treatment and hospitals that rank highest in preventing readmissions.

When it comes to data and strategy, Business Performance Management (also referred to as “the other BPM”) is a great option for health plans wishing for more strategic use of actionable data.  BPM is a Business Intelligence-enabled approach with an integrated strategy platform.  According to the BPM standards group, BPM is defined as “a set of integrated, closed-loop management and analytical processes, supported by technologies, that address financial and operational activities.”  On the IT side, BPM consists of a combination of computer applications used to develop and execute business strategy.  On the business side, BPM is used to help create strategic goals through the discovery of key objectives and performance measures based on analytical tools such as predictive modeling, customer relationship management, dashboards, and automated scorecards.  

Using BPM to Manage Data Strategically

BPM consists of four processes. The two initial BPM steps, namely Strategize and Plan, closely parallel the strategy map creation process found in the balanced scorecard approach developed by Kaplan and Norton. The last two steps, Monitor and Act & Adjust, can be used to create additional value beyond what is provided in the balanced scorecard methodology. The four BPM processes together form a closed-loop business strategy system that connects strategy to execution. 

 

 

Here is a summary of the BPM process health plans could use to make more strategic use of data to drive down costs:

Strategize: During the Strategize process, health plans would identify the goals they would like to achieve and incorporate them into a formal business strategy. Health plans may find the prospect of identifying the appropriate strategic goals challenging.  However, the strategy map found in the balanced scorecard approach is a widely-used method for achieving this challenging task.  The most essential component of the Strategize phase would be selecting the lag and lead metrics that are most highly correlated with the end goal of decreased costs.

Plan:  During the Plan process, health plans create a detailed resource allocation plan that will be used to meet the strategy created in the earlier phase. Departments or business units work together to create an enterprise-wide plan that is cross-functional and ensures that business units work together in areas where their functions overlap with regard to strategic goals.  This is key since it gets the health plan away from judging individual factors for stand-alone performance and instead rewards contributions to the overall metrics identified in the scorecard.  Business intelligence emphasizes getting rid of data silos.  The Plan stage of BPM helps organizations get rid of strategic and tactical silos as well.

Monitor: The BPM approach will provide health plan managers with the vital data they need to make strategic decisions. By using digital scorecards and dashboards fed by BI data, managers are not only able to watch the long term trends for the metrics selected, but they can also be alerted when shifts and changes require action. BPM creates additional value to the balanced scorecard approach by contributing reporting, alerting, and analytic tools that can help the health plan monitor performance against strategy. Executives can drill down into historic and real-time data to analyze performance.

Act & Adjust: Faster analysis and decision making can create a powerful strategic advantage.  Health plans can identify potential flaws and short-comings in the cause-and-effect relationships that drive performance and costs. Reaction times can be cut from hours and days down to minutes. As the balanced scorecard is used and feedback is received, the health plan can begin to test the hypothesis of their original strategy through formal testing, such as statistical regression analysis.

Want to learn more about business intelligence and business performance management?  Visit us April 27th and 28th in Chicago at Microsoft Connected Health.  You can find us in booth 14 or you can view our landing page here.

Physician Loyalty: What Hospitals Can Learn from Pharma

Traditional definitions of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) relate to the process that manages an organization’s relationships with customers and selectively retains the most profitable customers in order to increase profitability through meaningful communication.  CRM is essentially a one-to-one marketing mechanism that uses IT tools, like databases and portals, to develop and manage the relationship that exists between profitable customers and the organization as a whole.  By tracking customer response, interaction, and transaction history, organizations are able to provide products and services tailored to each individual customer in the age of mass customization.  CRM not only differentiates high value customers from customers you are paying to give you business, it also considers how to optimize customer relationships to increase the profitability of an organization.

In healthcare, no one gets CRM right better than the pharmaceutical industry.  In the wake of high physician turnover due to the changing economy, healthcare organizations could learn a lot from pharma with regard to engaging physicians to create long-term loyalty.  The customer relationship management machine in the pharmaceutical industry is intense.  Pharma has been dealing with the reality of engaging physicians with fewer sales reps, and they have embraced technology in order to better target potential customers.  Pharma reps use CRM to develop tailored approaches to create a mutually beneficial relationship with physicians. Doctors don’t want to spend time with sales reps; they want to spend time with patients and gaining vital information on new treatments.  Based on CRM data, pharmaceutical companies now engage with physicians by providing them with the information they want in the form that they want it in.  Doctors can now visit a pharmaceutical owned portal to view the materials they need to make better care decisions.  Pharma reps can “co-browse” content with physicians, and are notorious for “listening in” to physician interaction through data-mining sites like Sermo and Ozmosis

CRM Lessons for Hospitals

Hospitals attempting to increase loyalty among physicians in an age of increasing physician turnover can use CRM and collaboration tools in a similar fashion.  Through using CRM, hospitals can engage physicians in the long-term by providing the content needed to create a mutually beneficial relationship.

In what ways do you think hospitals could better engage with physicians?  If you have any questions about CRM and physician loyalty, then join our April 28th webinar “Healthcare Reform and Physician Loyalty”.  Topics include:

  • Empower Patients and Physicians:  Identify and connect high-risk patients with the appropriate physicians and healthcare services that you deliver.
  • Physician Referrals: Automate, simplify and manage all the information your referral process needs with one comprehensive set of tools.
  • Service: Build and retain customer satisfaction by resolving issues efficiently, thanks to consistent access to up-to-date information from across your organization.
  • Integration: Focus high-value resources on your business, not your IT infrastructure, thanks to the only CRM solution that provides Web Services support as well as prebuilt integration to Oracle and other business applications.
  • Analytics: Make informed decisions based on deep insight into your business, thanks to the only on-demand CRM solution with a pre-built data warehouse that allows you to combine real-time intelligence with deep historical and comparative trend analysis.
  • Call Center: Make your agents more productive and your physicians and patients happier and more loyal with the only hosted multichannel support application that can be deployed in days, not months- without upfront capital expenditures or integration costs.
  • Marketing: Transform the way you market to physicians and patients with an integrated solution that makes your team work more efficiently, more effectively and with greater accountability.

Meet us at the Microsoft Connected Health Conference #MSCHC2011

Microsoft Connected Health Conference 2011

The Perficient team will be exhibiting at the Microsoft Connected Health Conference on May 27th & 28th in Chicago this week. The event Hashtag is  #MSCHC2011 – of course we’ll be live tweeting from the event so if you can’t be there in person please follow us at @Perficient_HC and @Perficient_MSFT for up to date information on content shared at the event.

The speaker line-up for the Microsoft Connected Health Conference is impressive and includes Thomas Goetz, Executive Editor, Wired Magazine; Author of The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your Health in the New Era of Personalized Medicine and Dr John Kenagy; Author of Designed to Adapt: Leading Healthcare in Challenging Times and Will Disruptive Innovation Cure Healthcare?

Regular Twitter contributors on #HealthIT John Moore (@john_chilmark) from Chilmark Research and Dr Bill Crounse  (@Microsoft_MD) and #HCSM & Patient Rights Advocate & Artist Regina Holliday  (@ReginaHolliday) are also included.

It promises to be an interesting and informative Conference.  Stay tuned!

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The IT-Enabled ACO

It’s all the rage.  Everyone is talking about it and some have called it the next major healthcare reform to hit the industry over the past 20 years.  So what is it you ask?  It is the Accountable Care Organization model, more commonly dubbed the ACO.  No doubt everyone has been reading, learning and commenting on what the ACO can and could do for the healthcare industry.  Some have already started pilot projects to bring participants together to form ACO collaboratives.  All of these initiatives are important elements of the birthing and growing of a new industry model/concept for healthcare.

As many realize, the chasm between ACO and now is enormous.  There are a number of tasks ahead for healthcare organizations just to enter the front door of ACO: new organizational roles, operating and legal agreements, and rules for operation and security provisions.  However, these will not be the most critical investments that organizations need to consider as they move down the ACO path.

Unlike the other critical areas, IT has been a weak point in the healthcare marketplace.  There are more gaps between the have and have nots as it relates to IT enablement.  There are a number of infrastructure, architecture, and supporting solutions that will be required to make the ACO operational and enabled to achieve the goals and initiatives that have been agreed to by partners.   The length of time to design, build, install, test, implement, and train to become a meaningful user has a longer lead time.

What do you think the largest IT challenges are for the ACO model?  I invite you to view our approach to the “IT-Enabled ACO” on our healthcare microsite.

Using Core Measures to Jump-Start Enterprise Analytics

Today I spoke in a webinar entitled “Using Core Measures to Jump-Start Enterprise Analytics”.  During this presentation I covered a number of topics around business intelligence in healthcare and specifically around an approach called targeted analytics. I reviewed some of the options available today to healthcare organizations and provided an example of building an enterprise BI platform using core measures analytics as the foundational application.

You can view the slides below.  You can also view a recast of the webinar here: http://www.perficient.com/webinars/

Let me know what you think!

See this slideshow on SlideShare.

Providers Achieve Financial Effectiveness through Physician Loyalty

It goes without saying that in order to maintain financial viability, healthcare organizations must maintain patient loyalty.  There are vast marketing engines in place to capture patient loyalty through the use of portals and other collaborative tools.  However, when you take a look at the numbers, such as those published frequently by Gallup, you see that patients are drawn to a healthcare organization on account of the high-quality physicians that compose their ranks.  As such, loyal physicians will bring loyal patients, making loyalty among affiliated physicians a necessary component of financial effectiveness.  Traditional strategies for maintaining loyalty of affiliated physician populations include operational tactics, such as making sure physicians have the tools and administrative support they need to provide care effectively.  However, a well functioning hospital administration, while vital to any hospital, will not impact physician loyalty in the long term.  How does a hospital achieve long term physician loyalty to achieve financial goals? 

Many healthcare systems find themselves in an increasingly competitive environment where the pressure of reducing reimbursements, aligning more effectively with affiliated physicians and being relevant to the patient population are just a few of the challenges being faced. In addition, the advent of healthcare reform, the potential changing reimbursement models and the emerging Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) are creating an environment where clinical and cost information are needed to empower and engage those that are part of your overall healthcare system delivery model.

Customer Relationship Management and Physician Loyalty

Customer relationship management (CRM) for healthcare providers has particularly interesting applications in light of healthcare reform.   CRM is defined as a managerial strategy that helps organizations collect, analyze, and manage customer related information through the use of information technology tools and techniques in order to satisfy customer needs and establish a long term and mutually beneficial relationship.  The rapid increase in medical information has pushed hospitals to confront a critical issue, which is how to utilize information technologies to manage large amounts of customer information and then improve the quality of customer services based on that intelligence.  The definition of “customer” within the healthcare provider space is multi-directional, and physicians are a key consideration.

By using CRM, healthcare providers can collect information about affiliated physicians and analyze that information to inform relevant communication that is provided to physicians at the right time.  CRM and data mining tools also enable healthcare providers to define the variables of the most highly-prized physicians in their internal ranks and match those variable to physicians outside their practice that are prime for recruiting.  All physician communications can be tracked and adjustments can be made to the program as necessary. 

Do you  have questions about CRM and physician loyalty?  Join Perficient and Oracle on April 28th for a free webinar Healthcare Reform and Physician Loyalty, which includes a live demonstration to see how other healthcare providers leverage Oracle’s CRM On Demand to increase efficiencies and physician alignment.  Topics include:

  • Empower Patients and Physicians:  Identify and connect high-risk patients with the appropriate physicians and healthcare services that you deliver.
  • Physician Referrals: Automate, simplify and manage all the information your referral process needs with one comprehensive set of tools.
  • Service: Build and retain customer satisfaction by resolving issues efficiently, thanks to consistent access to up-to-date information from across your organization.
  • Integration: Focus high-value resources on your business, not your IT infrastructure, thanks to the only CRM solution that provides Web Services support as well as prebuilt integration to Oracle and other business applications.
  • Analytics: Make informed decisions based on deep insight into your business, thanks to the only on-demand CRM solution with a pre-built data warehouse that allows you to combine real-time intelligence with deep historical and comparative trend analysis.
  • Call Center: Make your agents more productive and your physicians and patients happier and more loyal with the only hosted multichannel support application that can be deployed in days, not months- without upfront capital expenditures or integration costs.
  • Marketing: Transform the way you market to physicians and patients with an integrated solution that makes your team work more efficiently, more effectively and with greater accountability.

Interview with Premier’s Chief Technologist Denise Hatzidakis [Video]

Perficient met up with Denise Hatzidakis, Chief Technology Officer of Premier, Inc. at IBM Impact in Las Vegas.  Denise attended the event to receive the Global WebSphere Community award on behalf of Premier.   Perficient has had the pleasure of working with Premier to develop their IBM solutions. 

With regard to the trends Denise saw at IBM Impact she stated, “You’re not cool if your not in the cloud.” 

Caring for Patients Means Caring for their Master Data

The complexity of medicine and the lack of common standards, practices and clinical vocabularies across the healthcare system makes getting clean clinical data a dirty task.  There are many applications across a healthcare system that rely on master data, and a single error can have a far-reaching impact.  In many businesses, errors in master data can be problematic and irritating.  In healthcare, getting master data wrong can ultimately impact quality of care.

Let’s begin with a definition of Master Data Management (or MDM as we call it in the biz).  Master data defines an organization.  All of the critical pieces of data that are widely used throughout a healthcare practice, such as patient identifiers, addresses, etc., need to be consolidated across the entire organization into one master form.  At its most fundamental level, MDM makes sure there are not multiple versions of the same data hiding in different information silos across a healthcare organization.  The ultimate objective of MDM is to collect, match, and consolidate data to ensure a “single version of the truth” throughout the organization or wider healthcare system. 

What does MDM mean for a healthcare organization? 

Think of the systems that need to communicate using master data within a healthcare system.  MDM makes it possible for a monitoring station collecting a patient’s vital information to communicate seamlessly with the hospital’s network.  That data can then be transmitted to other devices and analytical tools to track trends in the patient’s overall health.  MDM makes it possible to track a single prescription to remote monitors that look for drug interactions. This data can drive alerting mechanisms so doctors can proactively adjust treatment and avoid costly readmittance.  Within a Health Information Exchange (HIE), MDM makes it possible to analyze a patient population to study a disease state, such as diabetes, through clinical studies of this narrow geography and handle public health questions that result.

Ultimately, improving patient health requires connected and personalized care.  This requires a clean set of master data across a healthcare system to uniquely identify a patient or their provider.  In this interconnected healthcare system, we can eliminate waste and errors in patient data through data sharing enabled by MDM. 

Do you have any questions about business intelligence in healthcare?  Add a comment below.  We would also like to invite you to attend our April 21st webcast: Jump Start Your Healthcare Enterprise Analytics with Core Measures.  We will demonstrate how top healthcare organizations are realizing the benefits of data analytics in such core areas as core measures, clinical alerting, surgical analytics, service line profitability, diabetes management, revenue cycle management, claims management and utilization.  Register Today

Healthcare and Business Process Management Interview [VIDEO] at IBM Impact

Trouble viewing? Check out the link to the video here

Joel Thimsen, Solution Director at Perficient, was interviewed by Scott Laningham, Host of developerWorks, and Todd “Turbo” Watson, Blogger/Technology Evangelist, at IBM Impact in Las Vegas.  Joel outlined Perficient’s 12 year partnership with IBM and some of the key trends he has seen when working with Perficient clients.

Joel provided insight into Business Process Management (BPM), which is the practice of optimizing processes with technology for increased agilty and ROI.   He stated that customer sentiment around BPM is positive, and he finds it helpful to guide clients through the process of how to best utilize technology to transform their business.

Joel further outlined the importance of technologies like BPM in the Healthcare industry, noting that there is a lot of activity in the healthcare space.  This rich ground for optimization is largely driven by regulatory changes and an overall drive to reduce healthcare costs.  He noted the importance of finding the right balance point between shrinking IT investment and innovation that provides more alignment between the healthcare business and IT.  He stated that BPM technologies can be tailored to each organization, and their underlying project needs, to provide quality solutions at the right price. 

“Don’t bring in with a dump truck what could be brought in with a shovel,”  noted Joel.

In closing, Joel mention that virtualization and cloud technologies, both private and public, are hot topics in terms of both technology and a business/cost savings stand point.