Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
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What are the typical benefits of your solution?
Response: Leveraging Health Catalyst’s proprietary methodology and design for data engineering, known as the Late-Binding™ approach, Catalyst will integrate and unlock the client’s EMR, financial, patient satisfaction, and other data sources. This rich data will become the bedrock upon which meaningful analytics are created to support the client’s understanding of areas of excellence within the system as well as areas that need improvement.
Once the client’s data is aggregated and exposed, we will apply Catalyst’s analytics to use the results of these analyses to drive improvements in care delivery while reducing costs. Catalyst professionals will empower the administrators and clinicians to identify and implement concrete solutions to achieve these objectives.
This approach makes us very different from other vendors. It allows organizations to save valuable time and money by quickly forming the necessary infrastructure to allow for analysis that can begin addressing the clinical, financial, and operational topics of importance to your organization. This approach is also reflected in the investment commitments that we ask you to make with our company. The basis of our approach is that as you achieve value, you will want to make further investments with us to go even further with your initiatives.
To illustrate this value and difference, allow us to share two specific examples of successes other hospitals have enjoyed based on the Health Catalyst difference. Health Catalyst has successfully worked with many of our customers to reduce both hospital mortality and readmissions. In one specific example, one of our customers saw a 22% reduction in septicemia mortality rates and a savings of $1.3 million in just the first 12 months of working with Health Catalyst. Using Health Catalyst tools, another hospital partner identified that the incidents of readmissions for Heart Failure (HF) patients was a significant challenge for them. Together, we worked on a program to reduce HF readmissions, and after just six months, they enjoyed a 21% reduction in 30-day HF readmissions and a 14% reduction in 90-day readmissions. These are both powerful examples of the unique approach and difference that Health Catalyst brings to bear for our customers.
Does your solution provide versioning support, including rollback versioning?
Response: Yes. Catalyst provides content versions and continual upgrades. In the event that the solution needs to be rolled back to a previous version, Catalyst provides that capability.
Do you provide consulting services?
Response: Statements of Work (SOWs) will be customized to your need and will be bid in a fixed-cost manner. As your team needs our specific implementation or care process improvement assistance, we will build an appropriate SOW to help with each specific project. Again, at all times we will be teaching and training your team to become fully self-sufficient so that it will become possible for you to expand your EDW/analytics platform without always requiring a professional services SOW from Catalyst. As long as you need or want our assistance, we will be available to support your efforts via professional services SOWs. However, we have a strong desire to teach our clients how to use our tools, create new applications, and manage their own data-driven care process improvement teams.
Is there a help desk escalation process?
Response: Yes, Catalyst will log and monitor help desk support calls, and they will be escalated to the appropriate person based on the SLA agreement.
How are customizations handled with major and minor software releases?
Response: In the event of a minor release, customizations are usually not effected. In the event a customization could be effected, Catalyst will work with the HPH team to minimize the impact. For major releases, Catalyst provides scripts and other tools to assist in the conversion to the new version. In some cases human interaction will be required.
What is your support escalation process?
Response: The engagement executive acts as the overall program manager and primary point of contact between the client and Health Catalyst, including handling escalations. He or she acts as the facilitator of a cross-functional team of technology and clinical resources from both Catalyst and the client that are needed to execute the project. He or she is the primary logistical program manager, managing the master project plan, including budget, contracts, resources, travel, delivery, acceptance, and key checkpoints. He or she also works with the Catalyst clinical team to bring in the appropriate Catalyst clinical experts for key meetings and checkpoints.
How often are upgrades released?
Response: Core platform updates are delivered every six months and contain significant feature upgrades and improvements along with bug fixes. Service releases are delivered quarterly and address key bug fixes identified by customers. Hot fixes are critical fix events and are issued as soon as that type of issue is identified. Content updates happen whenever Source Mart and Subject Area Mart content updates are needed. With Source Mart content, updates occur when a new version of the source system is released or when a new portion of the source system is added to the supported Source Mart content. For Subject Area Mart content, updates occur when medical definitions or evidence change (CMS definitions, ICD-10 transition, new medical evidence) or when Catalyst clinicians, data architects, or client clinicians define new intellectual property to share with licensed clients. Catalyst will provide a Service Level Agreement for details regarding escalation, RTOs (response time objectives), and SLAs based on client needs. The details of the escalation procedures are finalized and documented in the client’s statement of work.
How do you define releases?
Response: Core platform updates are delivered every six months and contain significant feature upgrades and improvements along with bug fixes. Service releases are delivered quarterly and address key bug fixes identified by customers. Hot fixes are critical fix events and are issued as soon as that type of issue is identified. Content updates happen whenever Source Mart and Subject Area Mart content updates are needed. With Source Mart content, updates occur when a new version of the source system is released or when a new portion of the source system is added to the supported Source Mart content. For Subject Area Mart content, updates occur when medical definitions or evidence change (CMS definitions, ICD-10 transition, new medical evidence) or when Catalyst clinicians, data architects, or client clinicians define new intellectual property to share with licensed clients.
What tools do you provide for metadata management?
Response: The Catalyst platform includes a Metadata Management set of tools in the Atlas application. Atlas is Catalyst’s web-based metadata management tool. Atlas stores, searches and displays metadata, including data mart, table, and column descriptions for both the source systems and source marts. Data architects use Atlas to manage and manipulate the metadata that is critical to the operation of the Catalyst EDW.
Atlas includes a Google-like search capability that allows users to search all metadata for terms and returns exact lexical matches as well as similar text matches found in the metadata system.
In addition, Atlas manages the metadata for the mapping of tables and columns from source systems to source marts in the data warehouse. As such, it is a critical tool for the development and maintenance of Source Marts. Click here to learn more about Atlas.
What type of metadata do you provide?
Response: We provide business, technical, and process metadata. As part of the platform, Catalyst provides a metadata tool that allows business data stewards to modify, enhance, and augment business metadata. Technical metadata is also created and used by the platform to run the ETL. Process execution metadata is generated by the ETL processes and is used by the management tools.
Describe your approach to project management
Response: Health Catalyst has provided detailed information throughout this RFI document to deeply address this question. At a high level, we will assign a Vice President, Engagement Executive, and Technical Director to oversee the clinical and technical deployment of Catalyst’s solution. Those individuals will manage the daily, weekly, and monthly project reviews and status reports for both organizations on an ongoing basis. This process has been remarkably successful at every Catalyst client.
How long does it usually take to implement your solution?
Response: For the initial installation, the core and (existing product) Source Marts take 3–6 months to implement. The choice of products varies after this point, but we target major deliveries approximately every two months. If we develop a new Source Mart, the time frame will vary based on a few items, such as the number of tables and columns, the source system database type (Oracle, Cache, SQL Server, etc.), and the technical details of how the source system identifies changed data. For a detailed explanation of our implementation timelines, see Keys to a Successful Health Catalyst Data Warehouse Platform and Analytics Implementation.
Do you provide distance learning capabilities?
Response: Recognizing the shortage of analytics professionals within healthcare and the usefulness of having access to those professionals and their expertise, Health Catalyst has created Health Catalyst University. We have developed more than 42 subject areas that are offered to our user community and company employees. We would welcome an opportunity to discuss methods for advancing our mutual interests in elevating information technology and data analytics among the healthcare workforce.
Which implementation services do you provide or outsource?
Response: All services offered in Health Catalyst’s proposal are provided by in-house employees. Catalyst does not subcontract or outsource any of our services in order to strengthen our product offerings and maintain quality control.
Describe the team the client will need to provide
Response: A typical Phase I implementation will require the following roles from the client:
|#||Role (Percent Allocation||Responsibilities|
|1-2||Data Architect (80-100%)||Work Group team memberRequirements analysis
Data modeling/database design
|Technical strategy (e.g., tools, processes)Tool evaluation and procurement
End user support and consultation
Visualization (BI) development
|1 per source system||Source system Application Administrator (20%–40%)||Source system content expertise
Report development and distribution
|Data validationAccess facilitation|
|1||Database Administrator (10%–30%—30% at startup)||Database environment configurationSecurity policy implementation
Database backup and recovery
Database system performance management
|Database version managementDatabase error management
|1||System Administrator (10%–30%—30% at startup)||Hardware installation and configurationStorage
|Operating system configuration and version managementNetworking management
Support for the following environments:
ADW, visualization, and ETL
Later phases will require identification of client Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) when implementing Advanced Applications. For a detailed explanation of our implementation timelines, see Keys to a Successful Health Catalyst Data Warehouse Platform and Analytics Implementation.
Describe your implementation team and their roles
The Health Catalyst process is based on solid quality improvement processes blended with 20 years of experience with leveraging data into outcomes. Health Catalyst tries to be as pragmatic as possible. For both our development and implementation efforts, we adhere to the Agile methodology. The Catalyst team is completely engaged with the client team in rolling out the platform.
A typical Catalyst engagement team consists of the following:
Response: The engagement executive acts as the overall program manager and primary point of contact between the client and Health Catalyst. He or she acts as the facilitator of a cross-functional team of technology and clinical resources from both Catalyst and the client that are needed to execute the project. He or she is the primary logistical program manager, managing the master project plan, including budget, contracts, resources, travel, delivery, acceptance, and key checkpoints. He or she also works with the Catalyst clinical team to bring in the appropriate Catalyst clinical experts for key meetings and checkpoints.
Technical Lead (Technical Director)
The technical lead has the primary responsibility of ensuring that the technical implementation is executed according to plan. The technical director will ensure that all source systems feed into the data warehouse and that all of the Catalyst applications are implemented in a timely manner. The technical director serves as the primary point of contact for all technical issues. He or she is also the primary trainer of the client’s technical resources.
Data architects implement the Catalyst technology as well as serve as consultative resources for the client’s technical teams. Data architects participate in training and development as well. Each implementation team has at least one permanent Catalyst data architect, and the team is augmented for specific projects. A typical Phase I install brings in at least three data architects in addition to the technical lead.
For a detailed explanation of our implementation timelines, see Keys to a Successful Health Catalyst Data Warehouse Platform and Analytics Implementation.
Please describe your training approach
Response: Recognizing the shortage of analytics professionals within healthcare and the usefulness of access to those professionals and their expertise among process improvement user teams, Health Catalyst has created Health Catalyst University. More than 42 subject areas have been developed and are offered by Health Catalyst to its user community and company employees.
Training of the client’s resources begins at kickoff with a review of guiding principles and data warehouse standards and continues throughout the implementation. As data marts are implemented, Health Catalyst partners with client resources both in the implementation of existing software and the development of new software. Work items are shared between Health Catalyst and clients so the client becomes intimately familiar with our software, architecture, and methodologies.
Health Catalyst uses a train-the-trainer model, and with little training effort, end users can explore visualized data and modify criteria dynamically to view data as they desire. As products are rolled out, Health Catalyst’s engagement executives and technical staff members demonstrate the products for key stakeholders in the institution. We also work with our clients to determine appropriate attendees for this application-specific training.
Catalyst has two training tracks:
- Technical training (for both technical and analytics resources)
- General training (for technical, clinical, and administrative project resources)
Catalyst has determined at a high level that it is better to cross-train the technical and analytics team than to separate training sessions. Health Catalyst has found that data architects are more successful in their core data architect roles when they understand and can even perform basic analytics functions. Likewise, Health Catalyst has found that analysts are more successful when they understand the underlying data structures implemented by the data architects.
Catalyst has two types of training:
- Formal content training
- Individual, side-by-side, on-the-job shadowing and coaching
Catalyst has a formalized set of training courses for each audience. These are grouped and tracked by phases in order to ensure greater client success. At the end of each phase, an assessment is done by Health Catalyst to determine the skill and knowledge base of the client’s technical and clinical resources.
The following are the key technical Health Catalyst courses grouped by phase:
Health Catalyst University
|103||Agile Development Principles|
|105||Lean Tools and Principles|
|125||Clinical Content System (or Clinical Tool Training)|
|130||Tool Training (or Analytics Tool Training)|
|135||Source Mart Master|
|170||Adaptive Data Warehouse Guiding Principles|
|172||Technical Infrastructure Principles|
|173||Mater Reference and Master Data Management|
|175||Move to Production Process and Checklist|
|176||Security and Data Stewardship Principles|
|204||Process metric Visualizations|
|205||Summary Dashboard Visualizations|
|208||Understanding Variation (advanced)|
|209||Statistical Process Control|
|210||Cohort Technical Definition|
|212||SAM Metadata Management|
|225||Visualization Best Practices|
|226||Visualization Style Guide 203, 204, 205, 225, 226|
|235||Knowledge Asset Management|
|325||Setting up a KPA|
The following are the key general Health Catalyst courses grouped by phase: General Training (technical, clinical, administrative roles)
|101||Challenges in Healthcare / History of Medicine|
|105||Lean Tools and Principles|
|109||Anatomy of Healthcare Delivery|
|114||Phase 2 SAM Overview|
|116||Phase 2 Roles/Responsibilities|
|201||Complex Challenges in Healthcare|
|202||Introduction to Metrics|
|211||Healthcare Financial Costs, Savings, and Cost Recovery|
|295||Fingerprinting and Soliciting Input|
|297||Implementation Plan Best Practices|