Good Data Makes You Money – Part 2

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martin_ekrem_vaquero_health_resources.jpgMartin Ekrem, Guest Author
Martin (Marty) Ekrem is the Founder and President of Vaquero Health Resources, LLC™ (VHR). Prior to founding VHR, Ekrem was Vice President, Outreach Services, Via Christi Health (VCH) and President, Via Christi Solutions. Marty brings over 30 years of healthcare executive experience to VHR in both acute care hospital and physician practice management executive experience.



Good data makes you moneyThis is a continuation of Marty Ekrem’s ‘Good Data Makes You Money’ series, read part one for the full story.

Population health management and value based purchasing are concepts being talked about in the administrative conference rooms and boardrooms of many medical groups and hospitals. People like to speak with authority on how rapid the movement to population health management will be. Move before patients and the market are ready and the financial performance will look pretty ugly. Wait too long and other competitors will grab market share before you can respond. My suggestion is to build the infrastructure so the framework is in place and scalable. One thing is certain: population health management and value based purchasing require good data from start to finish. I’m not sure anyone really knows how quickly the market will turn…and it will vary by market and region.

What’s not adequately being talked about is the amount of risk that population health management/value based purchasing shifts from insurance companies, and state and federal governments to providers. One thing is certain, regardless of how slow or fast the market shifts, the time is now to build your database and know your population and operating costs in detail. Insurance companies have claims data and often come to the table with the upper hand because they have more information on your patients than you do. Invest now in getting the data you need to level the playing field in negotiations.

A couple of closing thoughts:

  1. No matter what happens with reimbursement systems and changes, for my money the most important variable in your business is delivering a superior patient experience that makes you the provider of choice in your market. Demand for your services drives top-line revenue. And, demand for services comes from happy patients who can’t imagine going anywhere else but to your group or hospital. Be passionate about tracking the patient experience and doing whatever is necessary to make it the difference between your group and your competition. If there’s an opportunity in the future, I’d like to share with you a simple but powerful lesson that relates to the relationship between expectations vs. reality when it comes to the patient experience.

  2. Not having key benchmarks identified and reported monthly is like being a pilot flying in bad weather without instruments. I know this…I wouldn’t want to be a passenger on that plane. Benchmark setting may seem like a daunting job. But, remember the 80/20 rule that specifies an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. The principle states that 20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. Stated another way, you will get 80% of the performance improvement and benefit from diligently tracking and managing risks from 20% of your benchmarks/key performance indicators. The 20% are your big rocks…the key success factors.

Good data will make you money.

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