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Healthcare BI and Analytics including Master Data Management, Targeted Analytics, Governance, Enterprise Data Strategy, and Data Assessment

Healthcare CIO Series: Exploring Healthcare Analytics

David Chou, Healthcare CIOI am teaming up with CIO David Chou (@dchou1107), an executive with more than 13 years of experience in the healthcare industry to bring you a series of blog posts that provide a unique perspective on some of the healthcare industry’s biggest trends and challenges. David has been named to several “Top Social CIO” and “CIOs to Know” lists. He is a visionary and resourceful leader with expertise in healthcare and digital technology and a proven track record of delivering innovative, state-of-the-art solutions.

In our first post we discussed the Evolving Role of the Healthcare CIO. Our second post, Embracing Digital Transformation took a look at how digital is impacting patient care and the overall mindset of healthcare organizations. In this interview we turn our attention to healthcare data and analytics. We have invited Priyal Patel, Solutions Architect and Consultant at Perficient, to share her healthcare analytics knowledge and insights gained from working with many largest healthcare organizations across the United States.

Before we get started with the interview I would like to invite you all to download our new healthcare analytics trend guide: 10 Healthcare Analytics Trends for 2016. In this guide we take a look at ten analytics trends healthcare executives need to be thinking about in 2016 and beyond. We identify technology strategies and solutions that will help healthcare organizations succeed in a data-driven, digital world.

“The biggest mistake an organization can make is to purchase an enterprise platform before determining what problems they want to solve.” - David Chou, Healthcare CIOKATE: What are the biggest motivators driving healthcare analytics?

DAVID: Rising healthcare costs, government regulations and incentives and value-based care initiatives are factors and motivators in analytics. Analytics is the number one priority for CIOs according to Gartner and it is also on top of the CEO’s mind. Healthcare is consolidating, margins are shrinking and reimbursement is declining. When I think of any business motto in providing the best quality of service at the lowest cost, the same rule applies in healthcare. We have to provide the best care for the lowest price and the only way to do that is to invest heavily in analytics. To combat rising healthcare costs, healthcare organization can use analytics and data to start putting together standards in the clinical treatment setting. This ranges from standardizing supplies, implants, and workflows to helping with the identification of patient costs. Every organization should leverage data to make informed decisions. Read the rest of this post »

Infographic: Value-Based Care Transformation

Value-based care and payment reform are prompting hospitals and healthcare providers to more closely manage population health. Hospitals and health systems rely on technology and data to outline the characteristics of their population and identify high-risk patients in order to manage chronic diseases and deliver enhanced preventative care.

While managing data may seem like a simple task, for most health systems it is the exact opposite. Multiple disparate data systems need to be unified to provide a complete patient view and data must be transformed so that it is useful, operationally relevant, insightful and secure. One of the keys to value-based care transformation is being able to generate actionable insights to improve patient care and lower the overall costs of healthcare.

Read the rest of this post »

False Positives are Enemy #1 for CDS Implementations

False Positives are Enemy #1 for CDS

Clinical decision support (CDS) will be a big part of healthcare in the near future. While CDS systems are not mainstream, they are becoming more popular and health IT must be ready. When people think of CDS they often think of Screen pop-ups that provide alerts, notifications and suggestions to support safety and quality objectives within healthcare. However, often times these triggers are challenges for CDS and create a barrier to the 5 rights of CDS which are:

  • the right information
  • to the right person
  • in the right intervention format
  • through the right channel
  • at the right time in workflow

At the 3rd Annual Clinical Informatics Symposium presented by St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University in St. Louis, Bimal Desai, MD, Chief Medical Informatics Officer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia talked about EHR Design to Support Safety and Quality Objectives. Dr. Desai talked about false positives and how they are enemy #1 for clinical decision support implementations. These triggers are put in place to provide alerts, notifications and suggestions to improve patient care, however, false positives often cause headaches. Because these alerts tend to pop up more times than not, healthcare providers tend to ignore them or override them – It’s like the tale of the boy who called wolf.  Dr. Desai summed it up nicely by saying “if 99 of 100 phone calls you received were from telemarketers you would stop answering your phone.”

If 99 of 100 phone calls you received were from telemarketers you would stop answering your phone.

False positives get in the way of the 5 Rights of clinical decision support and are a barrier that need to be addressed if we want to get the right information to the right person in the right intervention format through the right channel at the right time.

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Why Northwestern Medicine Chose Epic Cogito for Their VBC Program

To remain a leader in healthcare, Northwestern Medicine is looking for new ways to collaborate across the health system enterprise to enhance the quality of care and improve efficiencies. With this in mind, Northwestern Medicine established Northwestern Medicine Physician Partners (NMPP), a population health management program. NMPP is built on the foundation of a shared physician-hospital platform, and is designed to leverage collaboration and leadership to meet the future needs of healthcare.

In a recent webinar, Rob Desautels, Director, IT, Northwestern Medicine talks about the NMPP program and why they selected Epic Cogito to manage their population health initiatives and value-based care relationships across the continuum of care.

Want to learn more about Northwestern Medicine’s story, get the on-demand webinar:

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The State of Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management

The State of Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management

The average healthcare system in America has a 2.2% net operating marginDigital is reshaping industries and healthcare is not immune to digital transformation. The rise of consumerism has created an environment where patients expect to be involved in their treatment and treatment options throughout their entire journey. The most efficient and cost-effective way to connect with patients is through digital technology.

Healthcare consumers are becoming advocates for their own care. They shop online for services based on factors such as cost and online reviews. According to a recent Pew Internet and American Life Project study, more than 80% of Internet users went online for health-related information, putting increased pressure on healthcare providers to be more price transparent. Price transparency requires a healthcare organization to have a clear understanding of the cost for a particular service. This challenge requires healthcare organizations to integrate their various silo’d data sources in order to fully understand their costs.

In a recent interview Perficient’s Chris Donahue, Director, Healthcare,  discussed the impact healthcare consumers are having on revenue cycle management, the challenges healthcare organizations are facing and what they need to do to improve their financial performance. Read the entire Perficient Perspective here.

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Northwestern Medicine Leverages Epic to Enable Value-Based Care

How Northwestern Medicine Leverages Epic to Enable Value-Based Care

The transition from a fee-for-service model to a value-based care model requires healthcare organizations to re-evaluate their technology and in most cases invest in new solutions. Population health management is a focal point for organizations amidst the changes in the delivery model and payment reform and hospitals and health systems rely on technology to transform data into meaningful information that outlines the characteristics of their population and identifies high-risk patients in order to manage chronic diseases and deliver enhanced preventative care.

One of the biggest challenges for healthcare organizations is the shear amount of data they have to manage. Internal and external, disparate data sources that reside in silos make it nearly impossible to generate a complete picture. Bringing this data together to deliver a 360-degree patient view is critical for population health management, operational performance and enhanced patient care.

A centralized data warehouse houses data from across the enterprise and provides healthcare teams with a complete view of all of their patients and allows them to better manage the individuals and populations they serve. When internal and external data, including claims, are located in one repository, key stakeholders can  generate meaningful and actionable insights to improve operational performance and enhance patient care.

Cadence Health, now part of Northwestern Medicine, a large Epic user, wanted to leverage the native capabilities of Epic to manage their population health initiatives and their value-based care program. Cadence Health engaged Perficient because of their work at ProHealth Care, the first healthcare system to produce reports and data out of Epic’s Cogito data warehouse in a production environment.

By leveraging Epic’s Cogito and Healthy Planet, Northwestern Medicine is able to track the health of their population and evaluate whether or not patients with chronic diseases are proactively getting care. They also have real-time reports generated that provide their physician’s with a dashboard view, designed to instantly provide them with an overview of the performance of their patient population across all registry-based measures.

Northwestern Medicine LogoWant to learn more about Northwestern Medicine’s value-based care journey? Join Perficient and guest speaker, Rob Desautels, Senior Director IT, Cadence Health for a webinar on Thursday, August 27th at 1:00 PM CT.

During this webinar we will:

  • Analyze how Epic’s Healthy Planet and Cogito platforms can be used to manage value-based care initiatives.
  • Examine the three steps for effective population health management: Collect data, analyze data and engage with patients.
  • Discover how access to analytics allows physicians at Northwestern Medicine to deliver enhanced preventive care and better manage chronic diseases.
  • Discuss Northwestern Medicine’s strategy to integrate data from Epic and other data sources.
Register below to attend the live session or to receive the on-demand version following the live event.

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.

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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 »

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.

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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!

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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!

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Talking SMAC: 4 Actions Healthcare CIOs Need to Take

Talking SMAC: 4 Actions Healthcare CIOs Need to Take

The healthcare industry tends to lag behind other industries when it comes to many things, especially the adoption and implementation of new technologies. There are several factors that contribute to this hesitancy, like the need to adhere to strict privacy and security regulations, new initiatives brought on by healthcare reform and consolidation within the industry. As technology continues to evolve, healthcare CIOs need to be able to identify and invest in technologies that will support key industry needs. CIOs should be looking for ways to leverage social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) solutions as they go through their software selection processes.

Here are 4 of the key actions necessary to leverage the power of SMAC:

Prepare for a hybrid IT environment
Healthcare organizations are facing several industry challenges and are feeling the pressure to transform their organizations in order to adapt to the evolving industry. The pressure to reduce costs, develop population health management capabilities and a shift to value-based reimbursement and payment models are requiring healthcare organizations to look beyond traditional solutions. In many cases CIOs are turning to a hybrid IT environment and leveraging external service providers within their solution architectures. A hybrid IT ecosystem means less and less in house, and puts added pressure on IT leadership because they are still responsible for governance, security and service of the IT systems.

Get in front of interoperability
Interoperability has become front-and-center in healthcare, integration of systems and data from multiple sources is critical to meeting the demands of the transforming healthcare industry. Interoperability is essential to leveraging social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) capabilities. Healthcare CIOs need to establish a strong interoperability foundation in order to take advantage of SMAC. Robust integration and health information exchange (HIE) are required to meet the demands of the transforming healthcare industry and integration of SMAC must be part of the interoperability roadmap.

Leverage social media to engage consumers and patients and promote your patient portal
When it comes to patient portals, many healthcare CIOs are focused on meeting the requirements of Meaningful Use, rather than creating an engaging portal. Healthcare organizations need to look beyond Meaningful Use and create a patient portal that engages and empowers their patients. CIOs need to include market-driven patient portal features like: dynamic scheduling, gamification and telehealth to meet the demands of the market. Learn more about the 7 Features of a Market-Driven Patient Portal here.

Simplify your architecture
We have all heard many times that less is more and this is good advice to follow when it comes to healthcare IT. Oftentimes, healthcare organizations have the opportunity to make room for innovation by retiring their legacy systems and applications. CIOs need to prioritize their legacy systems based on several factors including but not limited to: costs of maintenance and support, complexity and compliance. Industry consolidation has added to the complexity and increased the number of systems within healthcare organizations. Simplifying the architecture can be challenging but the improved patient care, efficiencies gained and overall results make it well worth it.

The transforming healthcare industry is putting additional strain on healthcare executives to provide high-quality care at an affordable cost. Utilizing technology to improve operational performance and enhance patient care is critical to the success of healthcare organizations. Digital transformation in healthcare is happening as we speak. Healthcare consumers are demanding transparency and convenience  – what better way to connect and empower consumers than through the use of SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud).