The next 15%: The Software Enabled Services Concept

Software Enabled Services

  1. Professional service offerings that leverage software to synergistically deliver higher levels of performance than obtainable from either alone.
  2. A next generation construct which builds upon the concept of Software as a Service (SaaS) but involves the actual human delivery of the services.

I am here in Las Vegas at the athenahealth user conference. Jonathan Bush is on the MIC regaling the crowd with his usual unique style of charismatic evangelism (“um…this is a pie chart, lots of lines, lots of things, yada yada yada”). The crowd is a typical demographic of office management set as seen across America – a middle aged office staff crew, mostly women, and mostly worried about the day to day activities of running a practice. They are here, I assume, because they want to learn how to leverage a very powerful practice management and electronic health record software. However, I wonder how many of them understand that what they really have is the most powerful software enabled service (SeS) offering in the industry.

We implemented athenaHealth (both Collector and Clinicals) in December 2009 at a traditional medical practice that Crossover Health manages.  We noted an immediate 5% bump in our revenue through better documentation, we accelerated our collections 5%, and because of new capabilities we were able to modify our staffing which reduced our costs by another 5%. This 15% uptick in revenue is real, noticeable, and has had an immediate impact on our practice.

All these advantages could be had by implementing probably most any reasonable EHR/PM software system. However, the reason I am attending the conference isn’t for this first 15% efficiency gain, its the next 15%. This next 15% is much harder and where I believe our partnership with athena will pay big dividends.  I am attending the conference not to optimize “points and clicks”, but rather to better understand the “nodes and grids”. I am here to learn how to plug in and play up the network effect and power grid that is athenahealth.

Think about it. Our little practice is one outpost in a networked grid of practices “fighting the man” every day. We are all working off the same software, sharing our collective knowledge we gain every day, wearing down the inefficiencies of each practice, measuring and monitoring our improvements, and taking advantage of nearly 2,000 athenistas who work around the clock to ensure that my practice gets Paid More, Paid Faster and with Less Work every single day. I get a monthly Practice Performance Report which compares my little clinic to the best benchmarking in the network, that clearly delineates areas of improvement, and provides a support infrastructure to help me get there. The financial controls on my practice are unprecedented; and only made possible through the network effect of my colleague clinics and the centralized efficiencies inherent in athena’s business model.

The software enabled service approach is well on its way to closing the second 15% gap, and best positioned to initiate the hunt for the third 15%  – the uncharted and untapped area of clinical process and outcome improvement. I can’t wait to see athena apply their patented approach to the measurement, monitoring, and continual improvement of the clinical side of medicine. This will only happen as financial incentives become aligned with excellent clinical outcomes, and no one is in a better position to do that than athenahealth.

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1 Comment

Filed under Conferences, Innovation, Leadership

One response to “The next 15%: The Software Enabled Services Concept

  1. Pingback: “athenahealth, You Ugly”: Creating 8 cow software « Crossover Healthcare

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