CATEGORY: Business Intelligence
REVIEWER: Cindy Fisicaro, business systems manager, and Linda Philipp, programmer/analyst, for Radiology Imaging Associates.
BACKGROUND: Radiology Imaging Associates (RIA), based in Denver, Colorado, is a partnership of more than 74 sub-specialized, board-certified diagnostic and interventional radiologists, committed to the delivery of high-quality medical imaging. Our radiologists practice at Aspen Regional Hospital and eight Denver-area hospitals. They also staff RIA's Invision outpatient radiology imaging centers, providing state-of-the-art equipment and 11 convenient locations throughout the south metro area.
PLATFORMS: Datawatch Monarch Pro is used on a number of PCs and laptops at RIA, most running Windows 2000 with SP4, equipped with at least 128MB RAM, 80MB hard drive space and a Pentium-class CPU.
PROBLEM SOLVED: We use the VitalWorks healthcare IS system for billing and scheduling, but the system does not furnish us with the comprehensive reporting that we need. Datawatch Monarch enables us to easily access the data we need by transforming various VitalWorks canned reports into live reports and data without programming. For example, we use Monarch to mine data from various insurance company (IC) schedules to match against payments and then identify overpayments and underpayments. The policy numbers are pulled in from another report, and this data is then exported into an Excel spreadsheet and shared electronically with the insurers to avoid the arduous process of resubmitting claims. Monarch is also used to produce data on accounts with overdue payments by mining and combining data from several different reports. The data is then sent as an Access database to an outside collection agency. Before implementing Monarch, some of this data had to be programmed by the collection agency from a report format file, and some data had to be manually rekeyed from printed reports into the collection agency's system.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Monarch lets us directly transform our existing VitalWorks reports and other incoming reports and data into live data without programming. This immediate, trouble-free access to healthcare data has enabled us to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in underpaid and overdue claims. The healthcare billing and collection function requires specific, time-sensitive data to be accessed, filtered and combined from a number of VitalWorks reports and other sources. Monarch Pro's external lookup, filter and report formatting features fulfill this critical need, ensuring the accuracy of billings and collections, identifying trends in problem areas and otherwise easing the accounting process. We also rely on Monarch for frequent ad hoc reporting for our CFO and doctors. They use their individual reports to track costs, perform trend analysis and negotiate contracts. This past year, in particular, we enabled a lot of self-service reporting. We're considering adopting Monarch Data Pump Server Edition to fully automate our data processing and information delivery.
STRENGTHS: Two especially powerful Monarch Pro features are multiple external lookups and project files. We mine data from a wide variety of VitalWorks reports, joined with data from multiple external sources, to quickly and easily manage a wide range of critical business functions. The purpose of a project file is to save time by reducing the number of steps required to restore a previous Monarch session. This saves substantial time and effort, especially for repetitive analysis work.
WEAKNESSES: Monarch handles reports with lines containing up to 1,000 characters per line, but some hospital data we receive can be even longer. However, we have begun addressing this with the "prep" utility, which accurately breaks down such lines into smaller pieces.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Despite staff training for other reporting applications, we have found nothing better than Monarch. It leverages our existing VitalWorks reports and other data sources at a small fraction of the cost of more complex alternative solutions. It is so intuitive to use that many of our users are self-taught. We just purchase the license, load the application and then move forward.
DELIVERABLES: We use Monarch to produce daily, weekly, monthly and annual reports. We also produce many one-off reports; in one six-month period, we counted more than 400 different reports run by the systems team alone.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support has been excellent. Monarch support is readily accessible and quick to resolve problems. The online user forum is also a great support resource. The Datawatch user conference is top-notch.
DOCUMENTATION: Monarch can be run by itself most of the time, but the online help reference is easy to follow and helpful. There is also a learning guide with step-by-step lessons to get up and running quickly. We learned to use the product completely based on the documentation.
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