Health Catalyst Introduces Next-Generation Cost Management Suite to Help Hospitals Thrive Amid Unprecedented Market Disruption

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The next step in the evolution of cost management, the CORUS Suite leverages unparalleled access to patient-level EHR data and costing best practices from world-renowned healthcare leaders 

SALT LAKE CITY (June 20, 2017)—Chief financial officers (CFOs) of hospitals and health systems today are struggling to navigate a perfect storm of financial challenges. Fewer patients are being hospitalized, which reduces fee-for-service revenue. More patients are defaulting on their bills thanks to the increased prevalence of high-deductible health plans. Meanwhile, government and commercial insurers keep launching new and confusing payment models, while the momentum behind full and partial capitation of reimbursement contracts is growing.

The health systems that succeed amid this turmoil will be those that understand their costs, their clinical outcomes, and how to maximize the healthcare value equation. Unfortunately, healthcare CFOs today lack insight into the true cost of the services they provide and their impact on health outcomes. Outdated processes and technologies for managing cost end up leaving them in the dark when it comes to lowering expenses, reducing variation, or negotiating favorable at-risk contracts with payers.

To help, Health Catalyst®, a leader in data analytics, decision support and outcomes improvement, today announced the release of the CORUS™ Suite a breakthrough in cost management technology. The CORUS (Clinical Operations Resource Utilization System) Suite enables CFOs, physician and service line leaders, and clinical and financial analysts, for the first time, to deeply understand the true cost of providing care across the continuum, and to relate those costs to patient outcomes.

“Never in the history of US healthcare has accurate cost accounting been more important than it is right now, and that importance will only grow in the coming months and years, as operating margins continue to be squeezed,” said Dale Sanders, executive vice president of product development for Health Catalyst. “Our CORUS Suite changes that equation by giving health systems the first complete picture of what it costs to provide care, down to the granular level of how many minutes a nurse spent in the operating room during a surgery, or the financial and clinical outcomes of one surgeon’s procedures compared against all others.”

The CORUS Suite is a next-generation cost management system whose significant improvements over current systems include:

  • Integration of EHR data, including patient-level clinical and operational data, as well as departmental and equipment resource-utilization data, delivering the first truly comprehensive view of the cost of patient care
  • Manufacturing-style activity-based costing—with automated and robust data quality and cost validation algorithms—that is scalable and maintainable, freeing analysts to focus on identifying variation and cost-saving opportunities
  • Embedded costing knowledge including best practices, rules, and algorithms from world-renowned academic healthcare institutions, accelerating cost management transformation
  • Dramatically more timely and actionable cost data based on healthcare’s most advanced analytics platform, which supports over 160 source systems including EHR, claims, General Ledger, payroll, supply chain, and patient satisfaction systems

Deep experience in costing and analytics

More than a new market entrant, the CORUS Suite incorporates costing best practices developed over many years by recognized leaders in healthcare cost management, including UPMC, a $14 billion integrated healthcare delivery and insurance system that includes more than 25 hospitals and 600 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites.

The CORUS Suite also benefits from Health Catalyst’s market-leading technology and services, recognized in 2017 as “Best in KLAS for healthcare business intelligence and analytics,” and proven to advance clinical and financial outcomes for more than 400 hospitals and 4,000 clinics nationwide.

“The only way to be successful in the new world of value-based healthcare and population health is to understand your true costs and manage them,” said Robert A. DeMichiei, executive vice president and chief financial officer of UPMC, which is also an investor in Health Catalyst. “To get there, we need access to massive amounts of data from across the care continuum to identify all of the resources used in delivering patient care. The CORUS Suite’s ability to integrate patient-level activity data from the EHR and virtually every other source of clinical, operational and financial data, and to deliver near real-time insights based on that data, makes it a true game-changer.”

Activity-based costing plus real-time insights

The CORUS Suite is composed of two integrated products:

  • Activity-Based Costing—automatically identifies activities and assigns the cost of each activity according to their actual consumption of resources and materials.  Activity-Based Costing enables true patient-level activity data versus the approximations used by standard cost management systems.  Visibility into the number of assessments performed, medications administered, labs ordered, duration of imaging studies, minutes in OR, supplies used, and virtually all other costs, contributes to an exceptionally detailed and actionable view of cost on a patient-by-patient basis.  Flexibility to support multiple cost accounting methodologies (e.g. RCC, RVU, activity-based accounting, etc.) allows organizations to quickly get started and evolve based on their business and available data. The application also includes automated data quality and cost validation algorithms, which makes activity-based costing a reality in complex health systems.
  • Cost Insights – analyzes and delivers early and actionable insights via dashboards that are customizable to the end-user’s role and purpose. Powered by embedded logic and access to the most granular level of activity and costing data for all patients, Cost Insights exponentially reduces the time to compile performance reports, to develop insights into profitability and variation, and to identify cost reduction opportunities.

Health Catalyst supports the CORUS Suite with professional services from veteran healthcare consultants who have financial, clinical, and operational experience, and have worked with community, academic, and large, integrated healthcare systems to drive outcomes improvements.

Old approaches to cost management miss the mark

Unlike the CORUS Suite, many of today’s cost management systems rely on both outdated technology and antiquated costing methodologies. Their use of charge codes, RVUs (relative value units), and other limited measures of cost produce an incomplete financial picture, leaving gaping holes in knowledge that threaten an organization’s financial sustainability. Those systems that claim to support activity-based costing mostly lack access to the rich patient-level activity data, costing best practices, and automated data quality and cost validation algorithms that are needed to truly implement activity-based costing.

The CORUS Suite’s unparalleled integration of data solves both of these problems and incorporates all three of the key elements required for true insight into costs: data from multiple enterprise systems, deep services, and robust technology.

Common headaches relieved

The exceptional cost management capabilities of the CORUS Suite have the power to solve extremely common problems for healthcare leaders across the C-Suite and at the department level.  Some commonplace scenarios include:

  • Manufacturing-style activity-based costing that is scalable and maintainable, freeing analysts to focus on identifying variation and cost-saving opportunities. A large, integrated healthcare system decided five years ago to build its own activity-based costing system. Unfortunately, the platform wasn’t scalable and could not be cost-effectively maintained.  End users could not easily add or maintain new cost drivers, add newly acquired hospitals, or add upgraded data sources such as their new inventory system, or ambulatory EHR. Every month, it took six FTE business days to close out the books, eating into time that the analysts could have devoted to identifying and participating in driving outcomes improvements. After implementing the CORUS Suite, the majority of the health system’s activity-based cost processes have been automated and now run overnight. Clinicians and physician-financial/operational dyad service line leaders have greater transparency into the cost driver definitions and algorithms, making data validation and modifications easy to perform. The health system has saved millions of dollars through improvements identified by the CORUS Suite, and has freed their analysts to focus on identifying variation and cost-saving opportunities.
  • Integration of clinical and operational EHR patient resource-utilization data, delivering the most complete picture of any procedure’s true cost. A large academic health system had been using charges as the basis of costing for the operating room. Knowing the organization now had the CORUS Suite, the operating room (OR) director wanted to find out what her true costs were.  She asked finance to look at the EHR clinical and operational source data to find the specific times and all personnel resources used in the OR during surgeries. Finance was able to use the CORUS Suite to quickly identify precise patient times, resources, and true labor costs. They were also able to leverage updated costs for supplies with the link to their supply chain data sources in the CORUS Suite. Upon comparing the cost for each surgeon with data on labor and supplies, they discovered that the physician with the shortest time was using additional staff. The physician-finance dyad lead worked with the surgeons to determine best practices and reduce clinical variation based on a review of time, resource costs, and clinical outcomes.

Explore CORUS Cost Management Suite in Live Webinar, June 21

Join the Health Catalyst product development team for a live CORUS Suite webinar on Wednesday, June 21 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.  Attendees will view a live demo and participate in a live question and answer session.  Register for the webinar here.

Case Studies and Product Information Available for Download

Data sheets detailing the CORUS Suite’s features and benefits are available:

Case studies of the CORUS Suite’s impact at UPMC are also available for downloading:

  • A Service Line Approach Improves Women’s Health at UPMC – detailing how the CORUS Suite contributed to a) 20 percent reduction in inpatient LOS for hysterectomies (over a 3 year time period), b) 34 percent reduction in open hysterectomies, c) 28.3 percent reduction in 30 day readmissions for hysterectomies, d) a 25 percent improvement in their contribution margin.
  • Service Lines and Activity-Based Costing Reveal True Cost of Care for UPMC – detailing how the CORUS Suite contributed to a) $42 million of cost reduction opportunities (approximately 2 percent of targeted service line cost), b) $5 million in supplies savings, c) Transparency toward identification of contribution margin variation for specific procedures, d) up to 97 percent improvement in time to access information.

About Health Catalyst

Health Catalyst is a next-generation data, analytics, and decision-support company, committed to being a catalyst for massive, sustained improvements in healthcare outcomes. We are the leaders in a new era of advanced predictive analytics for population health and value-based care with a suite of machine learning-driven solutions, decades of outcomes-improvement expertise, and an unparalleled ability to integrate data from across the healthcare ecosystem. Our proven data warehousing and analytics platform helps improve quality, add efficiency and lower costs in support of more than 85 million patients for organizations ranging from the largest US health system to forward-thinking physician practices. Our technology and professional services can help you keep patients engaged and healthy in their homes and workplaces, and we can help you optimize care delivery to those patients when it becomes necessary. We are grateful to be recognized by Fortune, Gallup, Glassdoor, Modern Healthcare and a host of others as a Best Place to Work in technology and healthcare. Visit www.healthcatalyst.com, and follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook. 

Media Contact:
Todd Stein
Amendola Communications
916-346-4213
tstein@acmarketingpr.com