Archive Discovery & Scoping

Episode 24 June 06, 2024 00:17:43
Archive Discovery & Scoping
HealthData Talks
Archive Discovery & Scoping

Jun 06 2024 | 00:17:43

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[00:00:02] Speaker A: Welcome to health data talks, where industry experts offer bite sized tips and trends for managing legacy data. [00:00:12] Speaker B: Thanks for joining us. I'm Amy Holmes from Harmony Healthcare it, and I am joined today by my colleague Jake Carson, who is our solutions engineer. Thanks for being here, Jake. [00:00:22] Speaker C: Yeah, thanks for having me. [00:00:24] Speaker B: So, at Harmony, we manage health data. Most often we are helping our customers by extracting, migrating or archiving legacy records. And Jake, you are integral in that process and work with them very closely. Can you give a quick description of the role that you play at Harmony and what you do? [00:00:41] Speaker C: Sure. So my title is solution engineer. And solution engineer is a little vague, I think, because every department, every company maybe uses solution engineering a little differently. And so at Harmony, I am a pre sale analyst, would, I guess, be a way to describe my role. I work with the sales team and I'm kind of the liaison between sales and operations. And what I do is I help sales and really the customer understand the scope of what the archive is going to be. So I do what's called discovery and I guide the customer through the discovery process and help understand what systems they have, what they're trying to archive, how fast they're trying to archive it, all the technical details. We group that all in a process we call discovery, and I will build out the scope of work for the customer. We'll build the contract out, have it all defined, and package that up and move things through the sale process. And that's kind of how I fit into the picture. [00:01:39] Speaker B: So you mentioned the client discovery and scoping and how you're. So you mentioned the client discovery and scoping and how closely you are involved there. Can you give us a little overview of what that process looks like for us and the client working together? [00:01:54] Speaker C: Yeah, absolutely. So discovery at Harmony is a pretty, pretty well defined thing. So it's not vague. We have kind of, I guess the first point of engagement would be a discovery document we shorthanded to DSD. But what it is is just a list of questions, kind of like an inventory sheet of what you are trying to archive. So let's say you come to us and you say, hey, I need help archiving. Our question is going to be, well, what, what, what are we archiving? So there's a place where you can fill out what the system is, what type of database it runs on. Do you have images in that system you need archived? Tell us about how long you've been on the system, how many patients are in there, how many providers were using. It is an employee system. Do you have employee health records in there? Do you have behavioral health patients? I mean, any. Literally anything you could think of? That's a question about how a system was used. We'll have that in the discovery form, and that's kind of our first point of contact. But what we really like to do in discovery is go a little bit deeper than that. So not just kind of the surface level technical questions, but the actual hard scope of what you need to archive within a system. So I think a good example would be like a ERP system like Lawson. There's a lot of different modules in a lawson. So what I'll do with a customer that brings me a Lawson is, I'll say, what specifically in that Lawson product do you need archived? And we usually ferret that out on what we call a discovery call. So it's something where I'll sit down with the experts. Basically, we call them subject matter experts. They're the ones that use the system every day. They're the ones going back into the system to retrieve and print out medical records or view employee information. If it's a Lawson or employee system, and they're the ones who I interview to understand, what do they need archived out of the system? And what I'll ask normally is, you know, pretend you are going to lose access to the system today. What would you, you know, what would you miss? Basically, what. What if you can't go into the system anymore? Are going to be the key data points that you're going to need to hold on in the long term future. And from there, we'll get a walk through the system and kind of understand all the different screens and data points that either make up the medical record. If it's a health system, you know, make up the reporting needs and all the different kind of nuances and things that make certain systems unique, we'll dive into and understand, and. Sounds pretty daunting, but normally, it's a session that you can knock out in a half hour to an hour and just collaborative back and forth as we talk through what the scope is and what needs to be archived. And that is kind of the gist of what we call the discovery process. [00:04:38] Speaker B: I know when you're working with prospective clients, you know, they're always interested in kind of what that pricing is going to look like. So what are some of the key factors that go into pricing our solutions for potential projects? [00:04:53] Speaker C: Excuse me. Yeah, so there are kind of. I would say there's three main areas that go into pricing, and that's all things we think about. On every single project that we quote, the first one would be, I think it's kind of maybe the most important one, which is what is the data? Or where is the data? And by what is the data, I would mean what type of database does your product run on? If it's an on premise product, it's going to be running on a database. I mean, every application runs on a data structure of some kind which feeds information to the front end. And that's actually what Harmony does is part of our process is going in and getting at that source data, if we can get at the source data. And so that is actually a big call out, I think, is the fact that we're not always going to be allowed to get at that source data. There's a lot of applications, and we're seeing it more and more nowadays with kind of the recent applications that these health systems have purchased. Our hosted applications, meaning the data, the actual management of that data is all hosted by the vendor. So the vendor owns it, the vendor maintains that database. Sometimes the vendor is actually taking multiple clients data and merging them together into like a multi tenant platform. And in those instances, Harmony is not going to really be allowed to go pull the data ourselves. So that becomes one of our questions is how do we get that data? And if we're going to be have data delivered to us by a third party, what is that data going to look like? Are they going to give us a full copy of the database? Sometimes that's our preference, sometimes it's not. Are they going to give us CSV flat files? PSV flat files? Is it going to be related data where you get a nice clean medication file? Or is it going to be dump where we are going to have 30 tables worth of medication data and we're going to have to merge together all 30 of those tables to build out what makes up a medication record for a patient. So what that data looks like, who's pulling the data, what format it's in, how the extract looks. That's a pretty big factor that, I mean, that's just one factor, but it's a pretty major factor that plays in the pricing. And the second one, which I kind of mentioned before, it's the scope. So it's far, it's, you know, what are you trying to archive? You know, are we just doing problems, allergies, medications, immunizations? Or do you have assessment forms we're trying to rebuild? Do you have assessment forms that are coming as a document? Are the documents in PDF format? Do you have a bunch of custom reports that you need us to archive for you, which we absolutely have the expertise to recreate pretty much any report you, a customer may have in their system. We can rebuild that in the archive. What product features do you need to kind of keep the use of the, you know, have the archive fall in line with the use that you have current day in the system? So scope is a pretty big point as well. Kind of. Maybe a more minor point, but in terms of pricing, but I think is worth mentioning, is kind of the logistics side of the fence. So are there any deadlines that we need to be aware of? Like, do I need that? Does the archive need to be done and deployed by a certain date because you lose access to the system? December 31 or something like that? That's something we'd like to be aware of. It can affect the pricing if we have to pull resources to make sure we can get something done on time. But even if it's a more minor piece of the puzzle, it's definitely a good thing to discuss and make sure there's no surprises or got you down the road, because what we don't want is anything that is assumed or expected to not be communicated, and then it ends up being a problem down the road. Part of why we go through the discovery process is to kind of make sure we talk about everything. [00:08:31] Speaker B: So, Jake, obviously we've been doing this since 2006, so I know that we have continually refined our scoping and discovery process over the years to where we feel really confident about it. Could you talk a little bit about the benefits of how we've defined our scoping process? [00:08:50] Speaker C: Yeah, absolutely. So one of our core values at harmony is do the right thing. And that's something I kind of internalize as part of my role in helping in the discovery process. And doing the right thing, to me, means getting it right up front, and getting it right up front means maybe sometimes taking a little bit longer to ask the hard questions, because defining the scope is hard to do. Sometimes we'll talk to customers who are still live on their current system, and they're not even retiring it for the next year. But to save money and continue to be efficient health organization, they've decided they want to have the archive plan set in place. So here we are having our discovery scoping process one year before the product gets shut down. But having those conversations, getting to the point where we're having a defined scope that's been mutually agreed upon, that's going to do a couple things for us that I think really help both us and the customer. And one of it's just reducing the risk of underquoting and over quoting what they need. We don't want to underquote and undersell anything. And our goal is not to just give the best and lowest price. We want to give the right price. And so making sure we don't miss any key reports, miss any gotchas, like, oh, yeah, here are all these documents we forgot to tell you about. And then over quoting. You know, if you, you know, if you just need a civic, we don't want to try to sell you a Lamborghini. So we definitely account for that as well in our discovery process and getting deeper and seeing, oh, okay, well, we've, you know, we've been static on this application for ten years. Maybe we don't need all of these extra products and features. We can just save this core data and we'll be good. And also in the discovery process, we are allowed to get a little more nuanced in understanding what the needs are. So our archive, if no one listening to this knew this, our archive is custom built, really based on the customer's needs. We don't try to jam every archive, every clinical data source into a template. We have templates that are system specific. So if you come to us with an ECW, you're going to get the ECW template, but you're not necessarily going to have all your clinical data jammed into a clinical template. If you come to us with a behavioral health system or a home care system like a McKesson or Cerner beyond. Now, those are systems that we will look at and build a data source that very closely resembles, I mean, down every single data field that existed for the medication field, for example, we'll make sure that gets properly mapped out and built out so it's in a readable, easy to understand format that in a way kind of resembles what the source system was. So that customizability, not being a one size fit all solution, I think, is a big selling point of the discovery process because that allows us to understand what the needs are and kind of clearly communicate a scope that aligns with the system early on. And one other thing I think might be important to mention is the benefit of defining requirements before we start the project. It really just makes the project that much smoother. It's one of those things that once you've, you know, a lot of our returning customers get fully on board with is just having those conversations. Sometimes they're tough conversations, right? You know, you tell these customers, hey, you're you know, you might, you have 100 reports you run every day right now when the system's static, you may not need 100 reports. Maybe there's ten must haves and having that conversation to think about, what are these ten must have reports? Make the project go smoother, faster, easier, when we actually get into the archive, build, and we're validating what's in the archive. So all of that, I think, is one of the benefits to our discovery process. [00:12:38] Speaker B: So, Jacob, can you talk a little bit about this process that we've defined and how our clients have reacted to it? [00:12:47] Speaker C: Sure. Yeah. Our process, like I kind of have gone over our process is, I won't say a lot of work, but it is some work you're putting in sometimes before there's even a contract in place. So, you know, we'll get customers that maybe sometimes will question, well, why are you asking me all these questions? Are all these details really important? But I think some of the benefits you see by going deeper into these conversations come I'll give an example of, like we mentioned earlier, having these systems that are hosted by the source vendors. You know, one of the parts of our discovery process is understanding what the deliverable is going to be from these vendors and, and not just saying, oh, you know, we know they're going to give you the data. So leaving it at that, we'll actually say, hey, vendor, do you have example specifications for what data you're going to be exporting? Um, because I think what we found sometimes, like take a system like Cerner, for example. Um, you know, we've seen exports come back from Cerner that have been incomplete, have been missing data, whereas when we have the chance to dig in beforehand, share those example specifications, look at those together with the customer, they can, they can say, oh, well, that's not going to work for our medication detail. We're going to need a lot more than that. And then we can have those conversations beforehand. So we don't get to the point in the project when we've gotten a full delivery of data from the source vendor, and then all of a sudden we have this archive built based off an incomplete data set, and then at that point the project timelines have to be extended because we have to then receive another set of data delivered from the vendor. So that's just one example of many ways that doing this discovery. We've brought clients on board with the process because they understand that these are really important things to have worked out beforehand, if that makes sense. [00:14:37] Speaker B: So Jake, can you give us some examples of where our scoping process turned out to be beneficial and really helped out a client. [00:14:46] Speaker C: Yeah, so we've had customers too, that they've been maybe working with one of our competitors or another archive product, and that hasn't asked all these questions that we asked beforehand and hasn't gone to that deeper level with the vendor to understand what's in a system and specifically how they're going to get that data out of the system. You know, a good example would be a system like NextGen, which just has a bolt on dental application. You know, we have a customer that was working with another vendor and they did not go to that. The other vendor did not go to that deeper level to understand that. Oh yeah, they have dental images here, odontograms. That really the only way to get that odontogram data out of the system is to print it from the front end. Maybe they assumed that the vendor would just pass them those odontograms as PDF's. Come to find out the vendor was not going to do that. So where does Harmony fit in? Harmony has an entire team devoted to printing out records from the front end of systems. So that's an example of where we were able to save the day by going to that deeper level in pre sale discovery, where we saw, oh, we need to include some automation scoping out of the front end to get the odontic arm records out, which for the archive we save as PDF's. But our expertise there is in one, it's identifying those Gotchas. We identify the Gotchas in discovery where you just skip over your archiving vendor may miss those things. And then maybe the second point is that we do have the tools and the resources to get at that data when even the source vendor doesn't have a path or a solution to export that data. Odontograms is one of, I don't want to say 100, because that's, you know, probably a little too many, but probably one of dozens of different examples of types of data that we have the ability to get out, you know, via front end automation, via screen scraping, via our back end data capabilities that we've, you know, we've worked with dozens of different types of databases, so we have a lot of expertise and experience to offer there. [00:16:49] Speaker B: Well, that's great. Thanks, Jake, for giving us this overview of our scoping and discovery process and the benefits of it for us and the client, just to make sure we're all on the same page. And we have smooth project delivery. So thanks for joining us. [00:17:06] Speaker C: Oh, absolutely. Thanks for having me. [00:17:09] Speaker B: And to our audience, thanks for tuning in. Be sure to join us next time for another episode covering tips and trends for managing health data. [00:17:19] Speaker A: That's it for this session of health data talks. Check out helpful resources at Harmony, hit t.com and follow us in your favorite podcast app to catch future episodes. We'll see you next time.

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