As a professional in the healthcare world, whether that be at a family physician clinic, in a hospital setting, a retirement home, and/or home medical care, it might seem frustrating to tend to the overwhelming amount of financial data management and analysis. With regulations, standards, customer service, and most importantly, patient care on your plate, financial reporting and budgeting might be processes that you’d like to put on the backburner. However, a strong financial spine can and should lay a foundation of efficiency and professionalism that greatly and positively affects the rest of your bigger picture to-do list for your organization. This article will zoom in on the impacts that modern, business user friendly financial reporting and budgeting solutions can have on your healthcare business.
While healthcare is oftentimes life-changing, and ideally, at times, life-saving, it is still a sector of the business world. Keeping any business on track, competitive, and hopefully, competitive requires that you consistently manage and analyze your data. That’s where powerful Business Intelligence (BI) tools come into play. Now is a great time to simplify and turbo charge your analytics, streamlining to a fully integrated suite of BI tools that allows you and your team to generate financial statements and/or collaboratively and securely craft budgets that reflect where you’ve been and where you expect to go as an organization. Furthermore, professionals at all levels in the healthcare industry can and should be able to access and understand the analytics of transactional and operational data in an effort to improve and upgrade the service you and/or your colleagues provide. And with today’s premier BI solutions, that is exactly what you get.
Independent software vendors (ISVs) are offering easy to use, powerful, and intuitive BI tools that can be managed by business end users. More specifically, personnel at any level can understand how specific operations affect the bottom line – individually, as a team, or as an entire company, meaning patient satisfaction, quality of care, expenses, and revenue. Data management and analysis can inform more efficient and more effective healthcare practices, which influences the success of what is very much a business. But let’s get more specific to analytics that speak to the nature of your industry.
A complete BI toolbox at least includes robust financial reporting and budgeting, but should address specific healthcare business “problems.” For example, performing claims and payer analysis, as well as service and facility planning, departmental and line of service revenue data visualizations, in addition to routine accounting processing like highlighting account position, debts, cash flow, and cash on hand reports. You should also have a budget management structure in place, revenue cycle improvement, and a system to track inventory, labor, payroll, and supply costs. The healthcare business is complex, and because of that, the list goes on and on when it comes to industry-specific analytics that you should be strengthening for a brighter future for your organization.
While this article is about financial reporting and budgeting for healthcare, it is difficult to ignore other processes and tools in the context of performance management. Depending on the size of your organization and your analytics needs or goals, you should approach performance management more holistically. Therefore, you want to think about how dashboards with healthcare metrics and/or Microsoft SQL server-based data warehousing that consolidates financial, payroll and patient data in one space can affect your ability to improve your business. More specifically, you should implement BI solutions that empower you to reduce costs, improve administrative business processes, acknowledge trends, evaluate service needs, develop specific strategies, increase accountability and patient satisfaction, and distribute ownership to department managers in goal setting and tracking processes. Your shopping process should be focused by these guidelines – and the capabilities you would like to incorporate into a more streamlined BI approach for your team.
There are so many opportunities for you to clean up your operational processes with financial analysis and planning. With the right tools, you can employ revenue cycle management KPIs for admissions, billing processes, payer analysis, and compliance and payment resolution. Planning and forecasting measures can be helpful for utilizing your equipment, staff, facilities and supplies more efficiently. Data visualizations can easily bring professionals at all levels into data analysis for performance management and planning, organically offering ownership in the teamwork of improving the company for a more successful future. BI data stores can provide consolidation of your diverse types of data, as well as avoiding slowing down your transaction servers when querying more substantial data sets. But what qualities should you be looking for in software?
Regardless of the industry, I always advocate the following three things as the most important characteristics you should look for in BI solutions, like financial reporting and budgeting: ease of use, collaboration, and security. I’ve mentioned this in some capacity throughout this article and throughout this blog – BI software should be business user friendly because it streamlines processes, cuts out the IT middlemen, and allows for accessible, manageable, and digestible analytics. Collaboration means richer data analysis because it invites contributors from all areas of the business to chime in and own parts of the process. And finally, specifically in the healthcare industry, security and privacy of sensitive data is requisite. It helps not only externally, but also internally when it comes to collaborating on a budget, forecast, or financial reporting. There’s plenty more to consider, but these three elements should be overarching guidelines to selecting the right solution(s) for your team.
You’ll want to consider options like live integrations versus BI data store integrations (an OLAP cube or a data warehouse), Excel, proprietary, and/or web platforms, hosting onsite versus Cloud deployment, owning outright or SaaS pricing, mobile capabilities, positioning within a full suite of BI tools, and the list goes on, but you have a good head start. Solver, Inc. is happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s easy-to-use Excel, web, and mobile platforms for real-time or data warehouse integrated analysis, planning, and collaboration as the best report writer, budgeting and dashboard functionality for healthcare providers.