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Duke Health Sector Management Second Annual Informatics Conference: Business Intelligence in the Health Care Age

Podcast Preview: David A. Watson


David A. Watson
Chief Operating Officer

Meghan Lockwood
Duke Health Sector Management MBA Program


Meghan Lockwood

Hello, everyone.

The Duke Health Sector Management and Master of Management in Clinical Informatics Programs are on the cutting edge of new business intelligence in healthcare technology. Its upcoming "Second Annual Informatics Conference: Business Intelligence in the Healthcare Age" is bringing together the best minds in business, education and information systems to discuss innovative business strategies that will move the healthcare market forward.

Joining us to preview the conference is David Watson, the COO of MedeAnalytics and a featured panelist.

Welcome, David. My first question to you today is: What makes informatics an issue of great concern to the health management community?

David Watson

Informatics is particularly important now given both the focus on clinical quality and cost combined with the impact of the recent legislation in the United States. The common themes of affordability, accountability and value that President Obama, Secretary Sebelius, Don Berwick and others have espoused make data and therefore informatics an absolute imperative if you’re going to play forward with any effectiveness in healthcare.

Meghan Lockwood

Great and my second question today: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges as well as the opportunities of utilizing business intelligence in the industry for which you represent?

David Watson

The biggest challenge is with respect to BI, or Business Intelligence, are ones that interestingly enough have been faced in other industries already and healthcare can learn quite a bit from the experience of others whether it’s financial services, manufacturing and distribution, pharmaceuticals and others.

The key is to make it truly actionable within an organization which means that you’re bringing appropriate, relevant and salient insights to light in a timely manner so that management can make decisions on that basis. It requires a lot of domain expertise. It requires collaboration with clinical partners and the need to have an evidenced-based approach to medicine and using all that as a basis to have fact-based discussions, rather than anecdotal discussions, as a basis to change behavior within healthcare is fundamentally a change management problem for the industry.

Business intelligence is simply one of the tools to expose information. It’s what leadership does with that information to change behavior and achieve a different set of outcomes than we’ve had in the past is the heart of the challenge.

Meghan Lockwood

Fantastic. Can you provide us with a specific example as to how MedeAnalytics utilizes business intelligence to best service your customers in the marketplace today?

David Watson

We have a variety of clients in the marketplace that use different solutions within our analytic capability. From those that use this in the revenue cycle to evaluate self pay and other characteristics in an ever-more complex revenue model in healthcare in order to identify bad debts and resolve them sooner with a better financial outcome for the healthcare organization, or getting better information at point of registration so that you have much better performance throughout the revenue cycle. To the other side of our solutions where we’d provide clinical performance management analytics so that a chief medical officer, chiefs of service can look at performance of the physicians and have the consequential conversations around your patients, your profile of treatment, the results you’re getting both from a quality and a financial perspective is where our clients shine the best.

We’ve got hundreds of clients in the US. We also have clients in the UK that even though it’s a national health model, have many of the same questions, and need many of the same answers as our health delivery system does, and our clients use that to have those ah-ha moments on a daily basis and to drive improved financial and clinical performance as a result.

Meghan Lockwood

What one key message are you most looking forward to sharing with those scheduled to attend the Informatics conference at Duke on April 27th?

David Watson

I think the key message that I would like to leave for the attendees is that healthcare is an extraordinarily promising area for business intelligence and analytics because of the proliferation of the various performance requirements as laid out in healthcare reform legislation and the HITECH Act. Things like VBP, or Value Based Payments; ACOs, the Accountable Care Organizations - simply moving transactions around is not enough.

Getting the insight that analytics provides into clinical performance, costs and other elements of your healthcare operations are going to be critical to improving clinical outcomes, improving financial performance for the organizations that we serve and for healthcare generally.

Meghan Lockwood

Great and my final question for you today: What makes Duke University’s Second Annual Informatics Conference appealing to you?

David Watson

Duke’s conference is particularly appealing to me because it brings together a very interesting cross section of players in healthcare with very different likely agendas, but around a common theme of how to use analytics to better the performance of the organization and better the care that they produce for their patients and members. I think it’s a great venue for a really interesting discussion and the speakers and the content are all extraordinary and should provide a lot of insight to those who participate.

Meghan Lockwood

Thank you so much, David, for that insight.

This concludes our podcast preview of the Duke Health Sector Management and Master of Management in Clinical Informatics Program's conference. To register or to learn more, please visit us online at www.dukehsmevents.com.

Thank you for listening, and we hope to see you on April 27th on the Duke Campus at the "Second Annual Informatics Conference: Business Intelligence in the Health Care Age - The Meaningful Use of Meaningful Use Data."

Upcoming conferences

For more information, please contact:

Ana Quinn
Associate Director, Business Development
Health Sector Management
Master of Management in Clinical Informatics (MMCi)
Phone: 919-660-7900