#healthcareanalytics – the Next Powerhouse Hashtag

images (2)This year Denise Amrich predicted that the Health Care Analytics market would grow to $10B in the next few years. Of course we know that spending on analytics in is growing like crazy in every industry – we’re all looking for the opportunities that are hiding in our data, but Health Care is a special case.

Health Care is a hot growth industry that is expected to create more than 5.5M jobs by 2020; a boom over the next decade. 2010 saw American’s spend 10x what we spent on Health Care in 1980 (that’s 17% of the US GDP). Considering that the fastest growing occupations in Health Care are in management, we can see why analytics is growing at 24% annually.

Health Care data, accessed and utilized in the right

way, can do a lot of good for the industry, the

community and the individual.

The Changing of an Established Pattern

For the longest time, health providers kept their data on paper that was stored in file cabinets. This didn’t lend to analytics, reporting or market comparisons – and so a culture of local care became ingrained. Now however, consumer and industry requirements demand access to real-time data and reporting. Government regulations mandate it as well.

This leaves these data-rich providers with the challenges of

  • digitizing their data
  • integrating reporting & analytics into their processes
  • protecting the privacy of their patients

Some of the driving indicators that support Ms. Amrich’s $10B prediction for Health Care Industry Analytics include:

The industry is getting more competitive

There are many reasons for this, but being forced is probably a key factor. The Federal Trade Commission has a website set up to promote competition between health providers.

Proof of Improving Care

Capturing some of Medicare’s performance-based bonuses is mighty alluring, says BusinessWeek, but providers must prove that they are meeting the requirements.

Some of the incentives are as follows:

  • The federal Medicare program for the elderly is withholding more than 1 percent of payments and awarding the pool of money to those that meet the federal government’s expectations.
  • A projected $964 million in fiscal year 2013 will be withheld from more than 3,000 hospitals.
  • $300 million will be awarded based on patient surveys and the remaining sum of money will be awarded based on clinical measures. [1] 

ROI on Spending

The Health Care Management and System Society http://www.himss.org/ has health care centric suggestions for determining the value of the IT spend in this sector. IT is just one example of project costs, but this type of data (regardless of department) is being required more and more by governance boards.

Improved Operational Efficiencies

Companies in any industry benefit from streamlining their operations. This is also true of health service providers. Treating more patients, requiring less training for administrative workers and spending less time on ineffective practices saves on the bottom line, improves patient goodwill and ensures beneficial negotiations with insurance companies.

State & Federal Requirements

State and federal regulations require hospitals to report a large amount of clinical information. This includes admissions, readmissions, emergency room visits, wait times, mortality rates and much more

Efficiency Reports in Practice

Score Card reports are an example of this data being put to use.

Providers can track and score departmental and individual key performance indicators (KPIs). Tracking ‘length of stay’ or ‘on time starts’ provides valuable insight. Process improvement and maintenance programs can then be put into place.

What about the Cost?

Score card reports are a fantastic example of the analytics in practice. Utilizing the everyday data collected by providers during the course of operations and improving based these metrics.Priceless…or is it?

One provider employs 8 data analysts in a new data and analytics department. They are dedicated to serving the whole of the institution with these types of reports. Consider that trained data analysts can make more than $110K annually. Multiply that by 8 and you have quite a new expense – not to mention a new bottleneck that has been created.

Health Care Providers store a host of data (much of it personal and private). They are challenged to access, control, analyze and report this data.

Those that do it well will be more competitive and

lead the industry.

Keep Twitter tabs on #healthcareanalytics – it’s going to be a fast-growing discussion.



Easy BI and the Cloud

ImageGreat Expectations is not just a classic by Dickens, it’s also a way to describe what your users think when they consider a subscription to your product. They want cutting-edge technology, security, affordability and ease of use. In fact, ease of use is often pointed to as a major reason for buying a SaaS solution. This creates a new paradigm in software development -> highly sophisticated functionality married to an intuitive user interface.

Developers have cloud app standards these days and they seem to defer to SDKs like Twitter Bootstrap (http://twitter.github.io/bootstrap/ ). This is good, because users become familiar with standard cloud app functionality and this helps lower the learning curve. It also demonstrates that cloud application developers are devoted to the principals that make the cloud so exciting – one of which is ease of use.

So developers now work hard to develop intuitive interfaces so that there is no training required. A major goal is to sell subscriptions the eComm way where new users get up and running with no support (better on the user and cheaper on the provider). This is hard work. Developers work closely with designers and run multiple usability studies to ensure the best UI experience.

Here is the good part – well, for us in this article, it’s been horrible for developers up till now.

 Reporting is “expected” by app users, and these analytic applications have historically been so complex that report builders need multi-day trainings. One exec at a prominent BI provider confided in me “we build things to be complex because we think they should be”. Yikes! How does that help the cloud app developer who has worked so hard to create an easy to use product?

When a developer of cloud applications looks for a reporting and analytics engine to incorporate with their service, they also have expectations. Their expectations are simple “Do as we do. Work as hard on ease of use as we have”. What they find is often surprising – BI that is hard to integrate, hard to use and expensive. This doesn’t fit into the cloud model.

Providing services that help application developers meet their client’s expectations should be priority number 1 and that means ease of use is at the top of the list – for all services, even reporting & analytics. 

~Brian LeBlanc


Atomic Tower provides the next generation of reporting & analytic services 

Analytics – Creating a Positive Return to Society

It’s exciting to see how much attention Social Entrepreneurship is getting. For so long, programs that could do good in the world languished due to the lack of funding. Not so these days, as ‘Positive Social Change’ has become a criteria for many funding sources.

My question is: Did you know that reporting and analytics can have an enormous effect by creating a healthier more stable society?

Often when people think of reports and analytics, they picture boardrooms and “profit & loss” graphs. But do they picture doctors and social workers saving lives and helping families? Lets take a look at a major societal challenge and how analytics has played an important role in overcoming it.

Prescription drugs are creating a serious problem. Drug overdose death rates have never been higher. In the 2008 alone, 36,000 people died in the US from drug overdoses – triple the 1990 figure. Prescription drugs were the cause of most of these deaths.

Doctors have identified an epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse. The numbers from the CDC are eye-opening:

  • Nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses are caused by prescription painkillers.
  • There has been a 300% increase since 1999 in the sale of these strong painkillers.
  • These drugs were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008, more than cocaine and heroin combined.
  • The misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers was responsible for more than 475,000 emergency department visits in 2009, a number that nearly doubled in just five years.
  • More than 12 million people reported using prescription painkillers nonmedically in 2010, that is, using them without a prescription or for the feeling they cause.

 How Do They Get the Drugs?

Almost all prescription drugs involved in overdoses come from prescriptions originally; very few come from pharmacy theft. Most are prescribed by primary care and internal medicine doctors and dentists, not specialists.

To Fix This…

The CDC recommends that State benefits should consider monitoring prescription claims information for inappropriate use. HERE IS WHERE ANALYTICS STEPS IN.

Taking a data-driven approach

Analytics are helping doctors decide which painkillers and dosages to prescribe based on the patient. Timothy Martin in his article for WSJ “When M.D. is an Algorithm” says that it is important to advise those that haven’t been thoroughly educated on how to treat pain.

The benefits are just as astounding: Help lower health-care costs and Identify Potential pain-killer abusers before they get hooked.

While insurance companies are taking notice by adding analytical or predictive-modeling to their workers compensation divisions, I feel it is society that benefits: the individual, their families and their communities.

Where else can creative use of data inspire positive social change?



Thanks to these two sources who provide a lot of the content that you read above:

Enslaved to your Legacy

My Saturday mornings are awesome and kind of routine. At least until it snows, I like to have my coffee on the deck with the WSJ and whichever tech rag came this week. It’s like a treasure hunt for me as I look for articles on cloud computing or reporting & analytics – there is almost always something that helps stimulate creativity in our product. Today we struck oil though.

Why is reporting so important in the cloud? WHAT is the tie in between cloud computing and reporting?

Folks sometimes struggle to understand these questions and I sometimes struggle to explain it. But thanks to my Saturday routine and an article in Information Week, I think I can clear this up.

In the October 8 addition of this magazine, there is a piece by Chris Murphy titled Mistakes.
He is describing the top mistakes made by corporate IT groups. And yes, one of them answers the above questions.

I’ll copy part of mistake #5 here:

Mistake: Struggling to get off legacy systems
One IT team…described its change management challenge:
“We began a legacy system replacement early last year. Going 
into one of our larger locations, we thought we were cruising. But
we had failed to truly understand the complexity of management reporting
they had developed internally over the years. So when we swapped the 
system, all their custom reporting broke. It was big-time scramble mode
to review, design, and buil the reporting they were expecting. 
In all, a six month project delay…”

When I read this I see a connection between a company attempting to take advantage of 3rd party cloud offerings to streamline their business while they reduce costs (Nirvana), but they run into the same problem – LEGACY REPORTING.

With Atomic Tower, the cloud application vendor would have been able to hurdle this challenge with no delay in roll-out. 

With more cloud computing companies (like Workday) targeting the enterprise as they consider upgrades on their large SAP or Oracle deployments, this scenario is going to be repeated over and over. Atomic Tower is here to help these companies understand the roadblock that lies ahead of them and then to cruise right over it.

Saturday morning well spent.

Simple, Isn’t It?

Recently I began using Scrible Toolbar . This is an awesome tool to add to your browser.
I do a lot of reading and research on the web and I love that I can highlight and annotate web pages that interest me. I can also save these pages in a way that makes it easy for me to get back to the information that is so important (creating tags). It’s fun to use and was easy to set up. This is the way of the web nowdays.
Easy to use tools that add outstanding value is what we have all come to expect. We think “I wish I could do <insert desire here> and we find the right tool by doing a quick search (this is how I found Scrible). Then we try it out because it is easy to use.
NOTE: all I had to do was to
a) create an account → 10 seconds
b) install the Scrible button (drag it from the page to my browser toolbar) → 0.5 seconds.
Continuing with this example, I was using Scrible in less than 5 minutes of having found it at NO RISK to myself. I didn’t have time or money invested. If I had decided that I didn’t like it (but I do) I would only have had to delete the new browser button, DONE!!!
Now Scrible is a B2C (business to customer – I’m the customer, Scrible is the business), but shouldn’t B2B’s treat each other that way as well? I think so. That is a big part of Atomic Tower. We think that cloud application developers should be able to integrate a report engine in much the same way that I tried out (and loved) Scrible.
I would not have given Scrible a second look if I would have had to give them $100 up front, asked for sales to call me back with an account, had someone come to my house and install a server in my closet and promise me that I’d be using the product next month. Why should app developers have to put up with this? 
At Atomic Tower, one of our top priorities is ease of integration. We know the challenges that cloud service providers face and want to enable you to get your feature rich product to market ASAP and with as little distraction as possible.
Atomic Tower – We Power the Cloud

Big Data


Recently, the Wall St Journal ran an article titled“So, What’s Your Algorithm?”. In this feature, Dennis Berman describes how the amount of data businesses stores is growing and thatderiving value from that data is becoming critical to business innovation. This is exactly our point.


 Data is the resource that fuels business today. It provides insight into existing markets and helps to identify new market potential. So as companies rush to adopt the next stage of computing (cloud applications), there must be a plan in place to maintain control and unfettered access to all of the data that is no longer being housed within a corporate infrastructure. Our report engine, Tower Reports, meets this critical need.


No Training

ImageWhen you think of a report designer, what comes to your mind?  Do the terms “ease of use”, “do it yourself” or “out of the box” come to mind? Well, if you haven’t been usingTower Reports, then probably not.

Tower Reports is revolutionizing report design with our no training interface. No training is what the cloud is about. Not only do cloud users benefit from the low cost of ownership, they also expect smart design.

The cloud is about making the complex accessible. Service designers are building applications that get users started right away, and so do we withTower Reports.

So, forget about travelling for a multi-day training session at a cost well over $1,000. We harness the complexities of data analysis and report creation and put them back in your hands.