Spectrum Health Partners Analytics Specialists Tame the Data Beast

“Too much data, not enough information.” This statement, widely known as the data paradox, is facing all industries, but especially healthcare organizations, which shoulder steep risks as they try to manage the pandemic, staffing shortages, marketplace changes, increased regulations, payor denials and thin margins.

How do you make sense of data generated from all levels of an organization? How do you know what’s working or not? How do you plan for what’s next?

Seth Sharpe, MBA, and Mike Caruso, MBA, FACHE, are the key Principals at Spectrum Health Partners who perform analytics services. Both have decades-long experience in top financial and operational leadership roles, and each have more than the so-called “10,000 hours” in their field to master their craft.

“I put in 10,000 hours early in my career,” Seth Sharpe said. His professional experience now spans more than 30 years, with a track record of performance improvement achievements in revenue cycle, physician realignment, restructuring, labor management and departmental process redesign.

After earning an MBA, Seth worked for a software company for five years installing decision-support systems in hospital business offices. “That’s cost accounting and reimbursement modeling,” he explained. “I learned how the accounting part of things drives the operations, and vice versa. I worked directly with the operational and financial numbers and saw how they fit together, and how everything runs. I learned to see patterns that indicate problems and opportunities. I still use these techniques to this day.”

Mike Caruso has more than 40 years as a healthcare executive and consultant focused on team-based strategies to drive sustained operational success. “We provide operational efficiency and analytics services for distressed organizations, be it physician practices, healthcare systems, or individual community hospitals,” Mike said. “We help with everything from strategic planning to realigning Human Resources Departments, to a productivity analysis to FTE-grade step systems and such.”

“I look at every line of business,” Mike continued. “Is it productive or not productive? Sometimes it’s difficult to determine the status when there are shared costs across multiple areas. Are service lines profitable, and you can’t live with one or do without another?  If you have one, sometimes you have to have others to support that service line. It’s difficult sometimes to determine your true costs.”

In addition to internal factors, Mike talked about external forces that put pressure on healthcare organizations. “You can’t change the market,” he said. “In many communities, you’ll see lots of uninsured patients, a tremendous amount of Medicare/Medicaid. The payor systems are the same – and you can’t change the demographics. These communities aren’t in a market with an influx of new businesses and populations. Hospitals in these kinds of markets are working with a lot of constraints as they try to survive. We investigate, create reports and give recommendations to the CEO, the executive team and the board to tweak their operations.”

Spectrum’s teams partner with an organization’s decision-makers on a project-by-project basis or for ongoing, long-term initiatives. Their work provides insights to enable strong planning, budgeting, physician relations, payor analysis, service line analysis, restructuring and other initiatives.

To learn more about Spectrum’s Analytics and Performance Improvement Services, click here.

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