One Platform for Operational, Financial, and Clinical Analysis
Organization: Allied Physicians Group
Location: Melville, NY
Customer since: 2016
Solution: Diver Platform and General Ledger Advisor
Company Description: More than 150 pediatric providers on Long Island, New York City, and the lower Hudson Valley joined together as Allied Physicians Group
- Dimensional Insight provides Allied Physicians Group with operational, financial, and clinical analytics in one platform.
- Dimensional Insight’s General Ledger Advisor application saves financial staff 10 hours per week, equating to savings of $40,000 per year.
- With Diver Platform, Allied can see how its physicians are performing on quality measures, which affects their reimbursement.
- Diver’s ease of use and flexibility means everyone from the physician to the business analyst is able to use analytics in a way that is meaningful to them.
Allied Physicians Group is one of the largest private medical partnerships in the New York metropolitan area. It is comprised of approximately 130 pediatricians who provide patient-centered care and collaborate on best practices. The group’s independence is an integral part to its success because it is not owned by a health system, hospital, or insurance company. This freedom allows Allied doctors to refer patients to specialists who are best for the child.
As an independent group of physicians, Allied Physicians Group benefits because its physician-partners own their practices. Allied doctors have an ultimate goal of providing quality care to the more than 250,000 patients they service.
However, being an independent physicians group also has several challenges:
- Allied places a premium on the freedom of its physicians, which is a big draw for providers. However, this means that different practices have different modes of operation.
- Because Allied is not affiliated with a hospital system, it doesn’t have the same level of financial resources or clout that a larger system has. When it comes to reconciling claims with insurers, the organization does not have the massive resources that a health system has. It therefore has to be smarter about how it runs the business.
- Urgent care centers are quickly growing in terms of the number of patients they service because of the increased convenience they provide. However, this is concerning to Allied because the urgent care providers don’t have the history with patients and are not treating them holistically. In addition, Allied is still responsible for the overall well-being of these patients on certain quality measures.
- New value-based forms of payment under programs such as MACRA are changing the way physicians are reimbursed. Allied needs to understand these new payment methods and be able to better analyze the numbers upon which quality is based.
“We wanted a system that was flexible, that had the ability to change as we needed it to, and that was robust. And that has been one of the highlights of working with Dimensional Insight — it fit all that criteria.”
— Robert Creaven, executive vice president of operations at Allied Physicians Group
Allied Physicians Group wanted to implement an analytics solution that would let it accomplish the following goals:
- Provide operations data to its physicians (such as productivity, appointments, accounts receivable, and more) that would enable them to better run their individual practices.
- Be able to access financial data in real time that shows the performance of both the organization as a whole as well as the individual physician practices.
- Show how the organization is performing on various quality metrics that affect reimbursement by insurance providers.
Provide visibility into Allied patients so the organization can be more proactive in terms of scheduling things like well visits and vaccine appointments.
- Be easy to use for both office staff and physicians, and be a platform on which the organization could build future applications as needs arise.
Allied Physicians Group implemented Dimensional Insight’s Diver Platform in 2016. The organization first heard of Dimensional Insight through its relationship with ALN Medical Management, which provides Allied with revenue cycle management technology.
“We were looking for a platform that was going to be a one-stop shop for our doctors to see everything about their production, their revenues, and their volumes — and it also had to be easy for them to use,” says Robert Creaven, executive vice president of operations at Allied Physicians Group. “We wanted a system that was flexible, that had the ability to change as we needed it to, and that was robust. And that has been one of the highlights of working with Dimensional Insight — it fit all that criteria.”
Allied Physicians Group implemented Dimensional Insight’s technology in three phases.
Phase 1: Allied rolled out Diver Platform, Dimensional Insight’s core technology, which provides analytics on Allied’s operations, including the productivity of each office, revenue, appointments, and accounts receivable.
Phase 2: Allied rolled out Dimensional Insight’s General Ledger Advisor, an application built on Diver Platform. With General Ledger Advisor, Allied is able to easily view its Great Plains financial data in real time, without having to wait for a monthly report to be produced.
Phase 3: Allied extended its Diver Platform implementation to include clinical dashboards. The organization is now able to pull information out of its EHR and put it into a dashboard matrix so it can see how it is performing on quality metrics as well as push information out to its physicians in terms of which patients need to be brought in for well-visits or vaccines.
“From an analytical perspective, GL Advisor is much easier for me to dive down into the details. For example, I can look at all of my divisions in the aggregate, by division, by physician, by department, and so on. I really am able to see how we’re doing financially across all segments of the business and then dive in and see the details if I need to.”
— Valerie Mayer, Allied’s vice president of finance
With Diver, Allied can now see all of its important metrics in one place. Once Creaven views Allied’s operations data, he pushes much of it out to the physician partners so they can make better decisions about their individual practices. This can include data such as staffing and peak utilization times, which can lead to decisions such as optimal hours the practices should be open.
“With the growth of urgent care centers, we need our patients to understand the value of seeing their own pediatric providers instead of going to one of those centers,” says Creaven. “Diver’s reporting capabilities have really helped us by showing our partners information such as which patients are due for well visits and which patients are past due for well visits. Getting those patients in the door for regular visits is important not only for their health, but also for nurturing the relationship with their pediatric provider.”
According to Creaven, one of Diver’s strengths is that it is flexible in terms of providing each user with data in the format in which that person can best use it. For example, Allied’s central office has a healthcare business analyst, Jeff Jones, who digs into the numbers and appreciates the robustness of the product’s diving capabilities. On the other hand, Allied’s physician partners generally don’t have the time or data fluency to do that level of number-crunching. For them, Diver’s intuitive visualizations provide the data they need to quickly absorb and then move on to patient visits.
Valerie Mayer, Allied’s vice president of finance, uses General Ledger Advisor on a daily basis and appreciates the fact that she can view the organization’s financial data in a variety of ways.
“From an analytical perspective, GL Advisor is much easier for me to dive down into the details,” says Mayer. “For example, I can look at all of my divisions in the aggregate, by division, by physician, by department, and so on. I really am able to see how we’re doing financially across all segments of the business and then dive in and see the details if I need to.”
With the data she is able to view in GL Advisor, Mayer is able to work with the physician partners on various aspects of their business. For example, she can look at a practice’s numbers to see how it is performing versus the other practices, and she can help the partners make real-time decisions about finances, rather than waiting until the end of the month for the books to close.
On the quality side, Allied is just starting to roll out its matrix to providers that shows how they are performing on various clinical measures. Andrew Phillips, director of quality management at Allied, says, “There are 17 different insurance carriers, and they all have their own unique reporting and attribution requirements. All of these elements feed our quality program, and the success of the program is data-driven.”
Phillips says the goal with the clinical dashboards is to look at the various requirements by the carriers and build internal goals for the different practices. The practices can then look to see how they are performing on the measures, and Allied’s central office can use the data to see which practices are doing well, and which are not doing so well. The office can then determine the specific areas for opportunity and improvement.
Allied has seen both quantifiable and unquantifiable savings from its analytics deployment. According to Mayer, General Ledger Advisor saves her financial staff about 10 hours per week in labor, which amounts to a savings of $40,000 per year.
More than that, though, Mayer says the savings come from the ability to make better and faster decisions – which is something she cannot quantify.
Creaven echoes that sentiment. He says, “Dimensional Insight has allowed us to become an analytical organization, which we never were before. The monetary value to that has not been measured yet, but if you look at how our practices are run, how they use data to make decisions, how we’ve been able to show certain divisions through the data how they measure up against both their peers and against quality measures, you can see the value.”
Creaven continues, “No one – not one of the departments here has come to me and said, ‘Dimensional Insight has not been worth it.’ We have been getting our money’s worth with Dimensional Insight. It’s never been a question.”
Allied is continually looking for new ways to gain even more value from its Diver deployment. For example, the organization currently uses a mapping program in Diver that maps out the patient population across all locations. Allied is hoping to use that functionality in the future to map out the spread of disease and other healthcare trends in its region.
“If I could map out where patients are coming from or who’s getting sick where, it would be valuable to our partners,” says Creaven. “Our office would be able to say, ‘Listen, we can see on the map that there are more incidences of flu here, does that division need more resources?’ And then we could respond accordingly in real time.”
In terms of lessons learned, Creaven says it’s important before implementing analytics for users to think about the end result, and to design the dashboard towards that. He says, “It’s really about understanding what you need, who needs to see it, and why they need to see it.”
Creaven also says the functionality of Diver is much more robust than even he expected. “From time to time, someone will say, ‘No, we can’t do this,’ but then someone else says, ‘Yes, Diver actually does have this functionality.’ And it’s impressive what we can do with this one platform.”