IBM > Case Studies > Automating Analytics for Enhanced Customer Service: A Case Study on athenahealth

Automating Analytics for Enhanced Customer Service: A Case Study on athenahealth

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Technology Category
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - Cloud Databases
Applicable Industries
  • Finance & Insurance
  • Healthcare & Hospitals
Use Cases
  • Inventory Management
  • Time Sensitive Networking
  • System Integration
About The Customer
athenahealth is a leading provider of cloud-based electronic health records, patient engagement, population health management, and medical billing services for clients in the healthcare industry. The company supports more than 64,000 health providers through its nationwide cloud-based network, athenanet, where real-time data is collected, curated, and put to work to drive performance for organizations of all sizes. The company plays a key role in helping the healthcare sector become more efficient in response to increasing regulatory pressures, maintaining the quality of care while also remaining competitive and delivering the best possible value for money.
The Challenge
athenahealth, a leading provider of support services for doctors and healthcare providers across the United States, was facing a challenge in its internal approach to data analysis. Following a period of rapid growth and multiple acquisitions, the company's existing analytics and reporting solution was falling short of its needs. The company relied on data from multiple sources, including financial and operational data from its own systems and external data. However, the process of gathering data was laborious and technical, leaving little time for actual analysis. The company's analysts were spending too much time manually gathering data, and business leaders had to wait for analysts to generate reports on their behalf. The company needed a more flexible approach that could help it respond faster to changes in rules, regulations, and demands from its customers.
The Solution
To address this challenge, athenahealth deployed a suite of analytics solutions from IBM, covering planning and forecasting, business intelligence, and automated reporting. This set of solutions changed the way that analysts spent their time. The company's CEO, CFO, and COO could now log into the web interface directly and generate reports for themselves, making the process quicker and easier. Even traditionally hand-written reports, such as management reports for the company’s board, could now be significantly automated. Budget data and actuals flowed through the IBM® Cognos® TM1® planning system into IBM Cognos Disclosure Management, which inserted the latest figures automatically into the relevant places in the final report documents. This allowed analysts to focus on writing the qualitative parts of the report, instead of spending all of their time checking for mistakes in the figures.
Operational Impact
  • By automating data collection and analysis, athenahealth eradicated manual work and boosted efficiency. The company was able to refocus on its core mission of continually improving service to customers. The new analytics system made it easier for the company to incorporate new acquisitions, clients, or revenue streams quickly. Additionally, the company could now respond faster than ever before to new regulatory or client demands. With greater insight into its finances and operations, athenahealth could identify areas for improvement and take action to enhance its services in ways that really made a difference to its customers.
Quantitative Benefit
  • Accelerated financial reporting from days to minutes
  • Empowered C-level executives to serve themselves with instant insight into financial data and plans
  • Reduced the time required to import data from the general ledger system, prepare the data and build the report from a day to just 10 to 15 minutes

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