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Business Intelligence & Analytics: The Case for the Healthcare Industry

Marketing Team - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Healthcare is data abundant.  It is in every medical practice, every hospital and every healthcare managing entity such as HMO’s, PPO’s, Medicare, MediCal, ACO, IPA’s and more.   In this blog you will be introduced to a real life example of making meaningful use of data and systems to optimize patient care and healthcare services overall.

Recently, Western Integrated Systems installed our Extract, Transform, & Load (ETL) solution with a major Independent Practice Association (IPA) in Northern California.    The challenge the IPA faced was delivering sustained high quality healthcare service levels in a paper intensive work environment.   The IPA sought a new solution to automate their business processes in terms of patient qualification, insurance verification, billing and elimination of excess paper work.

Using the ETL solution from Western Integrated Systems, the IPA has been able to achieve distinct benefits which improved their delivery of services and ability to provide quality care at all levels of their organization.    Specifically the ETL solution has allowed them to do the following:

1. Set up automated procedures, called robots, which identify and extract patient records from a leading primary data source.  These patients are specifically at risk and need further support and follow-up.   Formerly, this process required the completion and print out of PDF documents which were then transmitted to nine separate patient clinics.

2. A second procedure and robot was set up within the ETL solution to process insurance verifications.   The ETL solution was able to identify whether the patient was currently insured, their deductibles, and the time period the insurance policy was in force.  

3. Prior to the ETL, the process was completely manual and paper-based.  Now knowledge workers are freed up to provide more productive and meaningful work to improve the patient experience.  

4. The final step of the verification process is to make available the actual benefits to the qualified patient. 

The Results

Thanks to remarkable productivity gains using automated robots, the IPA has eliminated manual website downloads and they have reclaimed 90% to 95% of an analyst’s time for higher-value work.  The automation provided by the ETL has eliminated 100% of the cost of routine portal downloads, and costly transcription errors have been eliminated. 

The Future

The IPA’s success automating their partner web integration activities has validated their plan to review, automate, and streamline web-based business processes across the organization.

The use of key productivity tools such as ETL solutions are on the critical path, towards successfully implementing effective patient care strategies within the overall healthcare community.

Joe Ferrera

Business Intelligence & Analytics / Team Leader

Office: (916) 736-2191

Cell: (916) 792-4101

Email: joe.ferrera@westint.com

 

 

 

Records Management and Your Company - 2

Marketing Team - Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why should your company be concerned with records management?

In the last blog, I spoke about the state of records management as surveyed by AIIM in 2010, and how it hasn’t materially improved since.  Why?

Successfully implementing and deploying effective records and information management policies requires well thought out governance, people, process, and technology components. The focus must be on integrating the policies within the processes being performed by people and systems for transparent compliance.

Identifying a problem: managing records and information

The first step is recognizing a problem exists. Ask a few simple questions within your organization:

  1. Are records, regardless of where they reside, being managed in accordance with a records management policy and records retention schedule consistently across the organization?
  2. Are legacy systems and legacy media types present within the organization? Are we able to access and retrieve records from these systems?
  3. Do we have a preservation plan for electronic records that will enable necessary data to be retained and accessible for 5 years or more?
  4. Does governance for our records and information include executive commitment by legal, IT, and business area representation?
  5. Is compliance with records and information management policies monitored on a regular basis?

If the answer  is "No" to any of these questions, then there may be an opportunity for improvement and to partner with Western Integrated Systems to identify next steps. 

Cheryl Ahrens Young, CIP, CDIA+, CTT+, APMD

Western Integrated Systems

Southern California Office

Direct:  (714) 997-3700 ext 31

Mobile:  (626) 824-1628

Email: Cheryl.Young@hsmg.biz

Source: Strait & Associates, LLC (2011).  Why Should Insurance Companies be Concerned with Records Management   <http://www.straitassoc.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Why-be-concerned-with-records-management-03302011.pdf>

Records Management and Your Company

Marketing Team - Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why should your company be concerned with records management?

As we look around within our companies today, it is obvious the pace of business is not getting any slower. If anything, it's increasing. We can thank evolving technology for enabling us to be connected and productive around the clock!

The result of our productivity is being felt by CIO's and Records Managers within our companies. These individuals are expected to manage the volume of both physical documents as well as electronically stored information. For example, in one industry all 50 states have enacted a combined 950 statutes and regulations that include a reference to how records are to be retained and made accessible. Now with the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, some companies must be prepared to provide timely responses to requests for information. Failing to comply with any one of the regulations or statutes can result in a company being fined, facing sanctions or in a worst case scenario having their license revoked.

We entrust our IT and records management departments to keep our information in order, while also enabling us to decrease the time it takes to find and retrieve information. Add to this our expectation that they will ensure our companies maintain compliance with legal and regulatory requirements and keep us out of trouble.

Companies must have ready access to their information in order to provide timely responses to requests for information by regulators and consumers. Let's consider for a moment the number of businesses and individuals who ask us for information daily and the broad spectrum of locations where we have to go to find this information. As we reflect on that scenario, it should not be surprising to hear that studies have shown knowledge workers spend 25% of their time searching for needed information.

Industry Trends

Back in 2010, AIIM, a non-profit enterprise content management association, conducted a study to evaluate the management of electronically stored information. In 57% of the responding organizations, senior management reported more or much more awareness of records management risks to the business.

Yet, with the increased awareness of records management risks, only 43% of respondents believe that they have achieved integration of their records and information management policies across their organization. The impact of not having proper management over information is being felt. For 31% of respondents, a lack of complete electronic information has been an issue with regulatory authorities and for 35% it has been an issue in a court case.

In the latest polls taken within the industry, these numbers have not improved significantly. 

How does your company compare?   

Cheryl Ahrens Young, CIP, CDIA+, CTT+, APMD

HSMG / Western Integrated Systems

Southern California Office

Direct: (714) 997-3700 ext 31

Mobile: (626) 824-1628

Email: Cheryl.Young@hsmg.biz

Information Governance Captures Attention

Marketing Team - Thursday, August 21, 2014

 

 

 

 

Records and Information Managers’ responsibilities are rapidly changing as more regulations and new sources of information are introduced into the business environment. 

They must manage all types of information: paper, electronic as well as digital assets. Information Governance is the guiding principle in narrowing the gap between collaborative communications and corporate records, as well as managing information throughout its lifecycle.

Understanding this growing challenge, Western Integrated Systems (WIS), in partnership with Fujitsu Corporation, recently hosted the first ever Information Governance Practitioner Certification Program for our clients.

“I believe education and training are important in strengthening our on-going partnership with our customers,” explained Ray Hughes, Director of Operations.

The program created by AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management), the global community for information professionals, defines Information Governance Standards and outlines requirements and necessary steps in creating an Information Governance program.  The professional trained in Information Governance increases the efficiency and overall security of the organization’s information assets and mission-critical records.  

Although tuition for Information Governance Certification is normally more than $1,000, the costs were underwritten by Fujitsu, a premier provider of scanners and related document capture hardware.

Pamela Doyle, Director of Training from Fujitsu, taught the day-long course. She provided a road map on creating an IG program. She showed students how to develop an Information Governance policy framework. Some of the steps include: understanding the requirements, defining the scope, securing executive commitment, and communicating the policies for successful program adoption.

Because of the complexity and cost of the program, attendance was limited. Upon successful completion of the online test, participants will earn an Information Governance Practitioner Certification.

This was the first Information Governance program offered by WIS and based on participants’ input, we will be offering it in other geographical areas to serve more of our clients.  

If you are interested in more information on the Information Governance Practitioner Certifications, please contact Cheryl Young at (714) 997-3700 ext 31 or email Cheryl.young@westint.com.

Dan Rogers - New Sacramento Metro Chamber Ambassador

Marketing Team - Friday, August 08, 2014

Western Integrated Systems is proud to announce that the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce has selected Dan Rogers as their newest Ambassador.   Dan is our Government Account Executive based in our Sacramento Office.

As a Metro Chamber Ambassador, Dan plays a vital role in member retention, recruitment and communication. Each Ambassador makes a commitment to ensure that member needs, questions and concerns are heard and addressed by the Sacramento Metro Chamber. The efforts of the Ambassadors such as Dan keep the Metro Chamber in alignment with the desires of the membership of the organization.

Being an Ambassador provides Dan additional visibility and networking opportunities, as well as professional and community recognition through active volunteering and direct relationship building with members and the Metro Chamber staff.   

Dan has been an active Ambassador of the Chamber since he joined the Metro Chamber earlier this year. Dan is extremely valued for his enthusiasm and for his innate ability to champion both the Chamber and business contacts he meets.

For more information, Dan can be reached at dan.rogers@westint.com / 415 989 1777x15.



Real Issues When Using Spreadsheets for Business Analytics

Marketing Team - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

If you analyze data, chances are you use spreadsheets in some capacity in your organization. Spreadsheets are easy to use for simple data analysis and calculations, and they allow you to visualize tabular data via charts and graphs.

However, spreadsheets have limitations that many business people are not fully cognizant of.  Relying on them for sophisticated data analysis and business decision-support can be inefficient.

Even small spreadsheets can contain thousands of links, formulas, and cell references, creating many of opportunities for error. Even in simple spreadsheet calculations, a cell reference that is off by even one row or column returns different results than what you expected.

Let's take a look at some common pitfalls when using spreadsheets for business analytics. We’ll also look at how business intelligence (BI) is a more reliable method for business decision support.

Erroneous Calculations

Spreadsheets are inherently risky because they typically are updated manually, and error-checking is extremely challenging.  A calculation can easily become broken in the course of adding or updating data. An error in one cell can snowball throughout your data. Don’t believe spreadsheet errors represent a significant risk? They are blamed for:

- A $6 billion derivatives trading loss at JPMorgan Chase. Investigators found that the model that underpinned the hedging strategy operated through a series of manually completed spreadsheets that should have been automated but never were.

No business can afford to base important business decisions upon something that can contain mistakes.

Increased Security Risk

Spreadsheets are frequently distributed via e-mail. Unfortunately, both spreadsheets and e-mail suffer from weak access-control capabilities, so you could easily expose unsecure data to both employees and non-employees. Did your spreadsheet with the comp plans for your sales team just get forwarded to your competition? Even password-protected spreadsheets can easily be compromised by free or inexpensive third-party tools (just Google “how to crack a spreadsheet password”).

Another security hazard is that with spreadsheets, anyone can change the data.  Also, there is no built-in audit trail. If someone edits a formula or data, there’s no recording of who made the edit and why. There is also no archive or roll-back capability.

Spreadsheets Simply Cannot Handle Large Data Sets

As they grow in size, spreadsheets become slow and unwieldy, resulting in lost productivity as users wait for queries to complete. Links and formulas commonly break, and ensuring formula validity becomes more and more problematic, if not impossible. Spreadsheets are designed to handle data across two dimensions; analyzing more than this involves creating pivot tables or manually creating views of additional dimensions, which is fragile, time consuming and error-prone.

In addition, reports that must be updated daily (or more frequently) present significant problems when maintained as spreadsheets. Users must manually manipulate them to append the latest data and delete or archive the oldest data. Formulas must then be copied and validated to transform the raw data columns into the final data elements that are displayed in the report.

Spreadsheets are not Intuitive for Your Average Business User

Most business users can use functions such as “sort” and “sum,” but find it difficult to create a moderately complex formula. For more advanced analysis, business users must often lean on the “power users” within their organization to get the job done, which wastes time for everyone.

It’s also complex to update data. Users must manually recreate transformations and debug any calculations each time the data is refreshed. Merging data from different sources is difficult, time-consuming and filled with the potential for errors.

Business intelligence as a solution

While spreadsheets are useful for simple ad hoc calculations, when they are used for purposes more appropriately addressed with a BI tool, they can expose your company to reputational and financial risk, lost productivity and significantly slower time-to-insight as information workers struggle with the limitations of spreadsheet-based reporting and analysis.

Greg Taylor

Technical Operations Manager





New AIIM India Chapter

Marketing Team - Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Western Integrated Systems Announces
The Opening of New AIIM India Chapter

In our continuing effort to expand our regional and world-wide footprint, Western Integrated Systems proudly announces the opening of the new AIIM India Chapter on June 12, 2014 in New Delhi.    AIIM India will serve the ECM clients and community across India and provide up to date information, networking opportunities, business certifications, and education to the local ECM community in India.

India is viewed as a relative hot-bed of new technology and IT development skills. Offshore resources are becoming more and more critical as the world becomes interlinked in terms of networking and telecommunications.    Staff resources located in India now routinely perform data entry and Q/A on documents and images transferred via FTP from the United States and then route the completed documents with metadata back to the US for use by the user community, at a fraction of the cost of the same service in the US.  

AIIM India will provide the conduit for new information regarding ECM solutions, business opportunities, networking and training and will cover the country of India with its population of 1.2 billion individuals.   The new AIIM India executives, Mr. Samir Dhingra (President), Akshay Sukhwal (Vice President), and Prachi Bhatnager (Treasurer) are available to assist clients within India as well as in United States and Canada.



Western Integrated Systems wishes AIIM India the best of luck in its formation and congratulates the AIIM India team on its new Chapter to serve the ECM community across India and is proud to sponsor this enterprise.   Western Integrated Systems will continue to expand our regional and world-wide footprint to service ECM clients with solutions that raise the bar on productivity, quality, and level of service.

Al Ramsay
Secretary - AIIM India (New Delhi)
(425) 681 4689






Al Ramsay - New Docent at Burke Museum

Marketing Team - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Al Ramsay, Market Operations Manager for Western Integrated Systems, was recently selected as a Docent by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle WA. This continues the long legacy and track record of public service and community support embraced by Western Integrated Systems as one of our key cultural and business drivers.

The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture is located on the campus of the University of Washington and is Washington State’s oldest museum and was founded in 1885. Al will specifically focus on scout education programs and merit badge activities, including geology, life sciences, anthropology, archeology, and other program areas which relate to scout advancement.

According to Cassandra Sandkam, Docent Manager at the Burke Museum, "Al was selected to be an on-going Docent at the University of Washington Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, due to his commitment level to the scouting organization and their merit badge training programs and because of his other Docent work with the Woodland Park Zoo, Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, and The Museum of Flight. Al will make an excellent addition to the Docent team because of his passion for education, youth development, and community service, so we welcome Al as a permanent Docent to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture".

All partners, customers, and prospects are encouraged to contact Al Ramsay for a tour of the Burke Museum and a review of the artifacts contained at the facility in Seattle.  

Al Ramsay
Market Operations Manager
al.ramsay@westint.com
425 681 4689 

See: http://www.burkemuseum.org/

Western Integrated Systems Opens 3 AIIM New Chapters / Asia Pacifc Rim

Marketing Team - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

As part of our continuing initiative to grow the ECM industry across traditional boundaries in the USA, Western Integrated Systems recently assisted in the formation of 3 new Chapters of the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) (www.aiim.org) in the Asia Pacific Region. The new Chapters, AIIM India, AIIM South Asia, and AIIM Australia New Zealand will contribute to the knowledge and education of end users and position AIIM as the foremost educational resource in the ECM space across the Asia Pacific Rim theatre of operations.

 

AIIM South Asia was opened in January 2014 and focuses on the countries of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The first presentation given on April 23rd covered international ECM standards and digital capture strategies and was hosted by the new President of AIIM South Asia, Mr. Derek Lee, based in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Speakers included Eugeniya Popova from ABBYY in Moscow Russia and Mr. Robert Blatt from Electronic Image Designers of Los Angeles CA and both met with significant acclaim from the end user community which had registered for the event.

 

More recently, the AIIM India Chapter opened on Thursday June 12th in New Delhi India at the Foreign Correspondent Club and opened to significant acclaim and interest on the part of both the vendor and end user communities. AIIM India will continue to champion and support the mission of ECM growth and education across all of India. Specific photos of the opening of the Chapter can be found at the following Facebook link:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1499599413604162.1073741833.1491673197730117&type=1

 

Prachi Bhatnaker (Treasurer) and Samir Dhingra (President) at launch of AIIM India - Foreign Correspondent Club Delhi (June 12, 2014)

'

Finally, AIIM Australia New Zealand is under formation and will open July 1st and cover the major cities and markets of Australia and New Zealand, including Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Wellington and Auckland. Already 14 senior industry leaders have joined the AIIM Australia New Zealand Board and they bring a wealth of experience and ideas to the Chapter and will be responsible for the Chapter growth and direction.

More information regarding these specific AIIM Chapter initiatives across Asia Pacific is available from Mr. Al Ramsay / AIIM Chapter Secretary / Asia Pacific. Any Western client, prospect, or business partner is encouraged to contact any of these AIIM Chapters if they anticipate travelling to these locations across the Asia Pacific Rim region.

Al Ramsay

Market Operations Manager

425 681 4689

al.ramsay@westint.com

 

 

Automated Forms Recognition - Observe, Adapt, Overcome

Marketing Team - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A major Northern California County engaged Western Integrated Systems to streamline the flow of client applications and supporting documents and reduce cycle times for paper documentation. Our investigation revealed that the county employees were struggling with the complexity of managing over 1600 different types of documents in multiple languages. Inefficient mail handling procedures had also proliferated, due to the cost and difficulty of making changes to the old data capture process. The result was a slow and painful data capture process that became less relevant every year.

External forces were also at work. The County staff were also facing unpredictable work volume increases resulting from Healthcare Reform changes and a reoccurring seasonal influx of migrant farm workers. The County needed a data capture system that was not merely accurate, but easily adaptable.

The County chose to update their old data capture process to replace Separator Sheet based, manual document classification with a solution utilizing Kofax Transformation Modules (KTM). They would use KTM to auto-recognize the form types and make the determination automatically of each specific form within a batch of case documents and index them accordingly, without the need to buy pre-printed separator sheets and without the need for manual intervention.

To do this using typical imaging software would be a mammoth task and the resulting process would be out-of-date before it was even deployed. It would have been built on classic deterministic, logic-based software and making any changes would be costly and difficult to both develop and test. Luckily, learning software like KTM produces probabilistic results using training data. KTM adapts based on experiences to enable effective responses to changes which cannot be predicted and planned for. It is very much like the way the human brain adapts to change.

Because Probabilistic Learning Software is changed via training, no big project effort is needed to update it. When new forms arrive, KTM learns to recognize them in the future. Admins simply define how the system is to respond when it sees a document type again. As new "lessons" are added, the system gets more and more accurate. Internal document experts provide the raw material that makes KTM's automatic classification system perform better and better over time. In doing so, they pass on their capability to identify key process documents to KTM. KTM then automates. That raw material consists of good representative samples of documents that are not being auto-classified correctly.

As the number of document types increases in many business processes, it can quickly become impossible for workers to keep up with the changes. However, the County’s new KTM can easily manage a vast number of rapidly changing document types in an assortment of languages. Like most learning environments, the County’s EBSD classification system depends on observations, leading to feedback and testing... that drives decisions which result in action. This is critical because rules don’t learn… and logic doesn’t adapt easily to change.

Thomas Jones

Senior Technical Engineer

Western Integrated Systems

 

 


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