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Operational Efficiency in Healthcare with Analgestic Healthcare

Analgesic Healthcare Customer Success:

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, Analgesic Healthcare leads the way in serving the needs of more than 60,000 patients across North America (including Canada, Mexico, US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico) from more than 50,000 clinics and doctors’ offices.

Since 1978, Analgesic Healthcare has worked to deliver the highest level of customer care and service. As a leader in the electro-medical field, Analgesic Healthcare is uniquely positioned to provide complete electro-medical therapy, service, and support with state-of-the-art TENS, muscle stimulators, galvanic, interferential, and microcurrent electrotherapy.

In order to maintain its industry-leading position, Analgesic Healthcare needed a consolidated summary and uniform view of its business units’ performance for individual-level accountability. In addition, the company needed to support its summary results by providing detail-level data using drill-down and drill-through capabilities. The company worked with Cognos partner and Cognos 8 Business Intelligence (BI) Service Provider, BlueNET Technologies. BlueNET provided Analgesic Healthcare with on-going development activities for projects in the pipeline and end-to-end BI maintenance services for its existing Cognos implementation.


Challenges faced:

At the time, Analgesic was working with various data sources and applications including Excel, Crystal Reports, and Microsoft Access databases. The lack of uniform, enterprise-wide reporting and analysis tools and established reporting standards was creating inconsistencies and making it difficult for the executive team to gather vital corporate data in a timely manner to manage day-to-day operations effectively.

“We were looking for the ability to analyze our North American map to indicate our state-level sales, and then drill down to individual invoice numbers and their associated attributes. Anything less would constitute significant risks to the overall success of this huge undertaking,” says Lyn Klovos, Controller of Analgesic Healthcare.


Strategy followed:

In 2006, Analgesic began looking for a reporting analysis solution to add more value to its corporate data. The company was looking for more effective ways to communicate key performance indicators (KPI) to accountable parties, particularly its Sales and Accounts Receivables departments. The organization also needed to improve bottom-line performance of the company by monitoring key metrics: lower days sales outstanding (DSO), higher sales, lower past 90 days accounts receivable, and higher dollar-in per referral. Another priority for Analgesic Healthcare was live executive dashboarding capabilities for its management team. The company needed the ability to cope with dynamically changing business processes and rules, such as sales team realignments, re-forecasted targets, creation of new accounts receivable aging buckets, or introduction of a new insurance type, or organizational changes like the establishment of a new subsidiary.

Analgesic Healthcare considered Crystal Reports from Business Objects and SQL Server Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) Services combined with Panorama Novaviews. However, Analgesic had already purchased Fastrack, a healthcare management system for its billing and patient management processes. Cognos PowerPlay was included as the analysis module with the purchase, so Analgesic Healthcare was introduced to Cognos as part of this off-the-shelf billing system. Additionally, the strategic partnership between Microsoft and Cognos and previous success stories of Cognos with many other Microsoft SQL Server clients played significant roles in Analgesic’s selection process.

“After seeing some of the powerful analytical features that Cognos PowerPlay provided, coupled with some of the advanced capabilities of Cognos 8 BI, Cognos became the logical choice for our reporting platform,” says Klovos.

“Cognos was a one-stop shop for us. With Cognos 8 BI, we get all we need from a single vendor—analytical reporting, professionally-authored reports, dashboarding, metrics management, and event management to build in role-based security,” says Debbie Hartzner, Director of IT at Analgesic Healthcare.

Cognos 8 BI implementation began in December 2006. Phase One, which included the forecasting and targeting modules for the Sales and Marketing departments, was completed in June 2007. Phase Two will include the Accounts Receivable and Collections departments, and is expected to be completed in later in 2007. Phase Three will involve the Customer Services department, and is currently in the planning stage.

In the first step of the deployment, Analgesic consolidated all of the organization’s data into functional data marts inside the enterprise data warehouse. Important business dimensions, such as geography, sales reps, insurance types, patients, physicians, and products were common to all business units across the organization. By taking one functional data mart at a time, Analgesic was also able to deliver smaller chunks of the project in much shorter deployment times.

Analgesic used Cognos partner BlueNET Technologies to implement Cognos 8 BI. Depending on the update frequency of the underlying data and the unique requirements dictated by the business functions, certain reports were defined to be delivered on an hourly basis, contingent on the number of referrals and call-time statistics. Other functions, such as cash receipts and billing, were set up for delivery at daily intervals.

“At BlueNET, we always retain natural curiosity toward our client’s business—how they generate revenue, what business processes they use, how they structure their sales team, or how they go about their forecasting models,” states Hilmi Alphan Ozturk, Managing Director of BlueNET. “When our team is on site, we blend ourselves into their internal team by actively engaging in the various levels of the hierarchy, from the operational level all the way to the CEO. We look at the areas of improvement not only from technical perspective but also from business side. Coupling this attitude with a strong participation and commitment from the Analgesic management team really paved the road to success for this deployment.”

From Cognos 8 BI administration to schedule management, from report enhancement to framework model modification, BlueNET provides Cognos services to Analgesic 24 hours a day, all week long. This means that Analgesic does not need to retain any IT staff, and uses BlueNET services and expertise, so that it can dedicate itself to its core competency of sales and marketing.

Looking ahead, Analgesic is aiming to launch its Sales Representative Scorecard project to bring full accountability to the operational level using Cognos 8 BI scorecards.


Benefits realized:

Cognos 8 BI has truly changed the work culture at Analgesic by providing key decision makers with an information-rich decision-making environment. For instance, by using referral models, Analgesic can now analyze the monthly and annual referral volume geographically, as well as by insurance-type distribution, to go after smarter and more profitable business. A key performance indicator such as dollar-in per referral varies from one state to another, and with Cognos 8 BI, it is possible to spot significant variances even between different counties.

While referral models enable the management team to manage the company’s business volume more effectively, other analytical models provide insight to the management team for a clear understanding of how to sustain and increase business volume.

“For instance, any sudden drop in the business volume trend can be traced back easily through root-cause analysis, including individual sales rep’s performance, reduction the number of sales calls, reduction in the number of samples shipped to the clinics and doctors’ offices, seasonality, or employee retention ratios,” states Klovos.

Since the successful inception of Cognos 8 BI in January 2007, Analgesic Healthcare has reported a 3.5-percent increase in its year-to-date revenue, and an 11-percent increase in its year-to-date billing volume.

One of the other main benefits Analgesic received from the use of Cognos 8 BI was its rapid deployment to the enterprise and wide acceptance by the business users. The product provides all BI capabilities to Analgesic business users in a zero-footprint browser, meaning that users can access the capabilities online, without requiring any installation on their local computer. This capability enables Analgesic employees to use their familiar browser environment to gain access easily to the information they need to drive decisions. The IT value in this approach was obvious: no installation or compatibility concerns, no costly upgrades, and the freedom to support a user community that was not tied to specific computers. The Cognos 8 BI zero footprint enabled broad, cost-effective rollouts to the users without consuming IT resources.

“BlueNET has been an important cornerstone of this success. The close working relationship between the Analgesic management team and BlueNET consultants significantly contributed to the overall success of the project,” says Roy Edgerton, CEO of Analgesic Healthcare.

The huge success of the first implementation created positive awareness across the entire healthcare corporation. As a result, dozens of on-going Cognos initiatives involving BlueNET have been deployed in different areas of Analgesic. As the next big deliverable, Analgesic will be launching its Metrics Management portal, which will allow KPIs to be monitored through Cognos 8 BI and make metadata visible to the executive team through Metrics Studio.

Klovos sums up her Cognos experience by stating, “Previously, it was a huge burden for us to gather daily reports and figures from various departments in order to review the prior day’s activities for our daily status update meeting. With Cognos 8 BI, I can launch my email and print out my attached Cognos reports when I come to my office in the morning to obtain a clear and complete picture of yesterday’s business performance. In other words, Cognos 8 BI now sets our agenda for the meeting. By simply looking at the different colors in our Cognos dashboards, we can clearly identify areas of concern each day. Cognos has really enabled us to hold the pulse of our business on a daily or sometimes hourly basis.”

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