As the competitive and regulatory pressures within the US healthcare industry continue to intensify, care delivery organizations across the country have become increasingly focused on a number of objectives in order to remain viable in the marketplace. These include:
However, as providers attempt to drive progress in these areas, they are confronted with a number challenges.
During the past 20 years, as in virtually every other industry, care delivery organizations have made significant investments in information technology with the expectation they would improve organizational efficiency. However, due to the myriad of applications purchased by providers, ranging from billing systems to electronic health records, many of which were produced by different vendors, these investments have caused a proliferation of fragmented data. Moreover, while many of these systems are effective for transactional activities (e.g. at the point of care), they often lack the ability to establish a holistic and integrated view of the information that is required to influence real changes in quality or efficiency.
In order to help remedy this technology-driven limitation, the federal government has recently passed a variety of legislation to incentivize investments that combat this problem. For example, with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the “stimulus package”), approximately $20 billion was allocated to providers that are able demonstrate Meaningful Use of health IT, which is defined by a set of technical and usage-driven metrics. But while this money is crucial to many care delivery organizations that need help financing their further investments in IT, the additional regulatory burden imposed by the stringent Meaningful Use criteria creates another obstacle for providers.
Within this complex and often tumultuous environment, West Monroe Partners’ dedicated healthcare provider practice is focused on helping care delivery organizations navigate these obstacles in order to achieve their objectives. Armed with deep industry experience and innovative solutions, we are uniquely positioned to serve as trusted advisors to healthcare providers.
Over the past two years, our provider practice’s offerings have evolved with the needs of the industry and grown with our technical capabilities, leading to our selection by the Microsoft Health Solutions Group to become implementation partners for their Amalga™ product suite during the spring of 2011. Currently, West Monroe is one of only 13 implementation partners for this product suite. Amalga is a health intelligence platform that offers insights into an enterprise’s operations and care-delivery processes and provides comprehensive patient views. Unlike clinical systems, which focus on individual patient workflows, and traditional data warehouses, which lack the flexibility to adapt to change in near real time, Amalga empowers continuous improvement and coordinated information sharing across an organization.
And when Amalga is coupled with Microsoft’s personal health record solution, HealthVault™, the insights gained from Amalga can be shared with constituents outside the four walls of the organization, such as patients and referring physicians, thus promoting transparency in accordance with the objectives of Meaningful Use.