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At a glance

Piedmont Healthcare’s Community Connect program wanted to make it easier for physician clinics to make informed business decisions using the financial data in their electronic health records (EHRs). We created a custom, interactive reporting solution that gives clinics clear insights into their finances—and saves them time and money.

Industry shift

The healthcare industry’s shift to electronic health records (EHRs) is not only making the healthcare experience more efficient for patients and physician clinics—it’s helping physician clinics provide better care for patients, and it’s improving how they run their businesses.

That’s why Community Connect—a health program run by the six-hospital health system, Piedmont Healthcare—launched its Community Connect Epic EHR. Participating clinics no longer have to call, fax, or ask patients to fill out separate health forms whenever they see a new doctor within the program—they can access and share all their patients’ data in one community portal.

Reporting challenges

As Piedmont began planning an expansion of its Community Connect EHR offering, it recognized the need to first address a growing pain: its financial reporting solution. Customers—physician clinics in the Community Connect program—had been struggling to access all the important financial data in the new EHR that they needed to successfully run their businesses.

Customers could only receive static, uneditable revenue reports—and only Community Connect’s IT team could create them. If users wanted to adjust a financial report in any way—for example, adding “location” or “patient” as variables—they’d have to request a completely new report, every time.

“The IT team became a big bottleneck for customers wanting many different custom reports, quickly,” says Alexandra Scott, Slalom solution principal. “It wasn’t scalable or manageable.”

The word was out on the inadequacy of the platform’s financial reporting capabilities—so much so that it became a barrier to getting new customers to join Community Connect.

Piedmont needed a flexible solution that would empower its customers to get the important data they needed while freeing up IT from being a bottleneck.

“We needed a team to not only come in and do analysis of the needs across the entire customer base, but to translate the insights into something that would be sophisticated and forward-thinking,” says Jeff Lambert, executive director of Community Connect. “We were in a reactive mode in terms of how we were delivering support and data to our customers.”

That’s where Slalom came in.

Purpose-made reports

After conducting interviews with Piedmont and its customers, Slalom used the results to evaluate Community Connect’s existing technology options, identify gaps, and develop a strategic approach.

Together, we created the Financial Overview Dashboard—six user-friendly Tableau templates that Community Connect customers can access, query, and filter data through, on-demand.

“Slalom went to our customers and asked them what they needed, and then continued validating that we were on the right track,” says Lambert. “They built a prototype and went back to our customers and said, ‘This is the direction that we’re going with the solution based on what we heard. Does this look correct?’ It was all about customer engagement and really listening to what customers wanted.”

“We’re able to be more proactive. We’re able to start thinking about what we want to do next, to be more strategic.”

Jeff Lambert
Executive director, Community Connect

Users can organize data through flexible filters and parameters to display it in the most meaningful ways—and adjust and tweak as necessary. They can also save and reuse filter and parameter options to save time and effort on future reports.

“They can slice and dice the reports however they want,” says Scott. “And they can easily find all the financial data they need to manage their unique practices.”

But what was even more innovative than the templates, says Scott, was that the solution successfully integrated Epic with Tableau—something that hadn’t been done at that scale before.

Users can now go back and forth between the Epic and Tableau reports seamlessly, reviewing information in one report and making changes in the other as necessary. No more printing and comparing reports—all the financial data is in one place.

Laptop tableau Laptop tableau

Tableau + Epic

Tableau helps anyone and everyone see and understand their data.

Epic software helps boost physician and patient efficiency through electronic health records.

Together, they enable physician clinics to access, share, and gain insights from data—faster than ever before.

“They feel like they were heard”

40% increased productivity

One Community Connect member said she expects the Financial Overview Dashboard to increase her productivity by at least 40 percent, says Lambert.

“Our customers are very satisfied. And they’re satisfied because they feel like they were heard,” says Lambert.

“We had people hugging us, saying we won the lottery for them, saying it was groundbreaking,” says Scott.

In addition to the Financial Overview Dashboard, Slalom created communications, customer training materials, and knowledge transfer documentation, so the Community Connect IT team can go out and train physician clinics on how to use the new Financial Overview Dashboard. We also delivered marketing materials for Community Connect to promote and explain its new offering to potential customers and gave recommendations on how Community Connect can optimize its user community going forward.

“I had a great relationship with everybody from Slalom that worked on the project. They were like members of our internal Piedmont team. They were professional, really sharp, and just good folks to work with,” says Lambert.

Putting hours back into the day

Community Connect’s internal IT team now has time to focus on creating new offerings for administrative and clinical reporting needs, rather than tackling the backlog of inbound reporting requests.

“We’re able to be more proactive. We’re able to start thinking about what we want to do next, to be more strategic,” says Lambert.

“The flexibility of what Slalom put together was very helpful and not just intuitive of the needs we have now, but flexible enough to take care of future issues that the practices might encounter,” says Dr. Brownsworth, CEO of Piedmont Clinic.

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