Case Study

MedInsight enables nonprofit health system to improve patient outcomes by “looking outside the silo”

Key Highlights

  • Saved the health system 40 hours per month per analyst, equating to approximately $250,000 per year in compensation
  • Allowed the health system’s team to produce more deliverables in less time
  • Helped identify quality issues within provider networks

When one of the South’s largest not-for-profit healthcare systems recently searched for a new healthcare data analytics solution, a key goal was establishing a consistent methodology for identifying and solving problem areas.

A previous attempt with another data aggregator and vendor had stalled: a messy implementation process had dragged on for years, and even worse, the solution ultimately came up short, with groupers working less optimally than hoped, weak prepackaged insights, and data integrity issues.

The health system’s lead analyst recalled a moment when the idea of trying to make the best out of the relationship was abandoned: “The conversation started with ‘We need to get something like Milliman,’” he said.

“Insights provided by MedInsight into readmissions and data quality issues with provider networks, combined with the avoidable admissions calculator, have been important for understanding our network as a whole.”

– Lead Analyst

“Something like Milliman” turned out to be Milliman’s MedInsight healthcare data analytics platform, including:

  • Service categorization
  • Cost and utilization benchmarks
  • Health waste calculator
  • Advanced risk adjustor models

The difference has been profound. “We are not always the easiest customer,” said the health system’s director of analytics. “We have sometimes made things more complex than they need to be and Milliman has just been fantastic in every way.”

Additionally, MedInsight is estimated to save the health system 40 hours per month per analyst. Multiplied by their 12 analysts, that equates to a savings of 5,760 hours per year – an equivalent of 2.77 full-time analysts and approximately $250,000 per year in compensation. Most importantly, the time saved can be put towards more analysis and recommendations that can further reduce readmission rates and improve other patient outcomes, instead of being mired in data collection and reporting.

Below is an overview of what the MedInsight platform has brought to the health system’s ability to mine its data for mission-critical insights and improved quality of care.

Mission-driving insights

For a nonprofit healthcare system that treated more than 1 million patients in 2022 in 47 hospitals and 300 health and urgent care centers across the South, visibility into quality of care and hospital readmission metrics isn’t just a bell and whistle digital tool; it also drives improved patient outcomes as a source of mission-critical insights.

Though no single insight triggered a “bolt of lightning” moment, the health system’s lead analyst described how MedInsight analytic tools and an accumulation of data around acute discharges led them to move into the home healthcare business with readmission rates and post-acute care statistics as measures of success.

“The tools MedInsight gives us strengthen our analysis capabilities and showcase our ability to build a conversation around the data to tell a story,” he said. “We identify gaps and the business responds by filling them. We have decreased readmissions over a percent in the last couple years.”

Flexibility and results

Among the benefits the analytics team cited as evidence of the value MedInsight provides was the flexibility in which data can now be accessed and viewed with context.

“As an active user and analyst, I like the flexibility” of MedInsight tools, the lead analyst said. “There are a number of ways to look at data. I can bounce back and forth between writing a snippet of code and just dragging and dropping if I need a quick answer. I don’t have to write code for every single thing.”

For some end-users, that means being able to access data on the front end and answer their own questions, freeing up the analytics team for more complex analysis, he said.

The director of analytics agreed. “It has allowed us to do a lot more. To look at a lot more information on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

“Now, it’s every day that we’re involved with MedInsight. We have 12 users, all well-versed and they are pulling data, running analytics. We have users even outside of our team using MedInsight’s Query Express® for all kinds of reporting: from service line operations to executive boards to cost-utilization data. All levels throughout the organization are now reliant on MedInsight for their cost of utilization information.”

MedInsight provides a wide range of insights and benefits

Here’s an overview of the eight main benefits the health system’s team reported:

1. Successful implementation

“Milliman got everyone in the room at the same time, ensured the data quality was excellent, convinced the executive team, and clarified everyone’s roles,” said the lead analyst.

2. Easier onboarding

“The quality of the staff we’ve been working with – the depth of knowledge was instrumental… we didn’t have to spend a lot of time explaining the data,” said the director of analytics.

3. More robust analytic groupers

The team is happier with the level of granularity as well as the accuracy. “There is a level of precision with the groupers – they’re not too broad and not everything is lumped into an ‘other’ category,” said the lead analyst, “As well as more clarity in categorization of long-term encounters.”

4. More deliverables in less time

The team is now producing 10-30 deliverables and outputs a month. “Our team is able to deliver much more rapidly and accurately, so if we’re asking for a number of ER visits over the past year, we can confidently provide that information using MedInsight,” said the director of analytics. “Much more complex analysis.” A prime example includes outside provider expense: why, where, and when it’s happening, he said. The director of analytics went on to say, “We take on small and large projects and the larger ones are taking less time overall. With the front-end drag-and-drop capabilities, many smaller deliverables are handled directly by the business, and not by the analytics team.”

5. Broader context

The ability to look “outside the silo” to do analysis of cross-risk contracts and see trends across payers.

6. Greater insight into provider networks

MedInsight “helped us identify some of our own quality issues within our provider networks,” said the lead analyst.

7. Better overall support

“I’ve always been impressed by the competence and responsiveness of the MedInsight support team. They are very professional, skilled and open to finding solutions vs. saying ‘no, we can’t do that.’ They are always cooperative rather than a roadblock when encountering something that isn’t mainstream. The MedInsight team has been fantastic in every way. A new team member who worked as the Director of Enterprise Systems for a state department of health and has worked with many vendors said MedInsight offers the best customer support she’s ever seen,” said the director of analytics.

8. Methodology support

“Some questions we send to support are regarding how to do a certain analytic. We receive very prompt answers with a proposed methodology that we didn’t know how to previously perform,” said the director of analytics.

Results and a growing team

The results driven by the health system’s analytics team with the help of MedInsight have not gone unnoticed and the organization is making growing use of its ability to glean insights and answers from the trove of available data.

From an analytics team of seven in 2017, the team has grown to 13, a boost that the lead analyst says is partly attributable to the results they’ve produced.

The organization has also restructured a lot of its provider networks, an effort that was aided by MedInsight analytics and tools that helped the organization take a closer look at what providers were doing.

“Insights provided by MedInsight into readmissions and data quality issues with provider networks, combined with the avoidable admissions calculator, have been important for understanding our network as a whole,” said the lead analyst. “I’m a pretty big fan of the whole package all around. It’s made my life easier, and we have better analytics than when I started.”

The director of analytics added, “MedInsight was easily able to incorporate business network changes into the system that allowed for updated, accurate reporting.”

The health system’s partnership with MedInsight is expected to continue with a focus on helping the analytics team do things faster and more efficiently, and a likely exploration of additional MedInsight tools including guided analytics.

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