With the onset of new workplace demands as a result of the pandemic, lean and agile business processes have been on the rise for healthcare organizations. Included with this is the shift from traditional financial planning and reporting through Excel spreadsheets and on-premise solutions to cloud-based automated corporate performance management (CPM) software tools. These technology-enabled solutions support senior finance executives in their quest to make more timely and efficient data-driven business decisions.
As healthcare organizations increasingly embrace cloud-based systems and data analytics solutions that provide granular levels of detail and nuance for smarter and faster decisions, it is important to ensure these technologies are driving real business value to the organization. At Mission Health Communities (MHC) — a provider of Senior Living and Skilled Nursing Communities — we implemented Prophix Cloud, a cloud-based CPM solution, to standardize and streamline operations across our finance and accounting departments.
Eliminating manual processes
Before implementing Prophix in 2019, MHC primarily used Excel for all financial management processes. We ran into many challenges with this approach, including limitations in being able to dynamically analyze the data generated from our reports. Financial statements were relatively basic and were cumbersome to adjust. Additionally, the budget process took six months and consumed most of the finance team’s time.
MHC had 30 locations at the time; as a result, it took hours to consolidate each community’s budget templates so that the executive team could understand the full picture. Because this was a manual process, the spreadsheets were error-prone, and it was challenging to keep track of template versions, particularly with many teams collaborating on the documents and sharing them via email. To perform any analytics required an extensive process of searching and requesting information from individual facilities and departments. Furthermore, calculating real-time KPIs was nearly impossible, contributing to an organization-wide visibility issue.
By migrating to cloud-based CPM software, we streamlined our financial planning and analysis and financial close reporting activities. Three key benefit areas post-implementation included:
- Increased user productivity. MHC streamlined its internal correspondences and communications channels, as well as its budget input process, which led to significant time savings across departments.
- Improved business agility. MHC leveraged Prophix to support the launch of its PPE tracking project during the most difficult months of the COVID-19 pandemic, automating numerous aspects of this important project. By designing, implementing, and launching the project within Prophix, MHC saved more than $200,000 in avoided personnel costs.
- Improved organizational visibility. CPM enabled MHC to use sophisticated analytics — including variance analysis, risk assessment, and utilization optimization tools — to inform decision-making and drive operational efficiency.
The largest cost area for MHC was the annual subscription costs paid to Prophix, followed by implementation consulting costs. Additional cost areas included time spent deploying Prophix and training accountants, facility administrators, and operations teams on the new system.
Developing a user guide
MHC’s Prophix implementation was primarily driven by the system administrator and daily users. By being proactive during the deployment, MHC built out the system the way we saw fit as opposed to relying on consultants to lead the project. In addition, having employees well versed with the system from the onset improved user adoption, reduced upfront training, reduced consulting costs post-implementation, and accelerated time to value. Because every business is unique and most SaaS deployments are highly specialized, vendor guidebooks are not always suitable to train users efficiently. As a result, MHC developed a proprietary user guide for its onboarding process to fit our specific business needs instead of relying on general documentation.
Ultimately, finance is trending beyond traditional number crunching and analysis. Finance departments are leveraging new technologies that enhance their skill sets, which can cause a positive ripple effect throughout the organization. As we enter the post-pandemic economy, it is essential for finance teams within healthcare organizations to weigh the best advanced technological solutions to match their organizational imperatives, to place their teams in a more offensive position for whatever comes next.
Gino L’Altrella is Director of Financial Planning & Business Analytics at Mission Health Communities, a provider of Senior Living and Skilled Nursing Communities that currently manages and operates 50-plus communities in Georgia, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas and Missouri.