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Testing the Limits

A Fortune 500 bio-tech company transforms the way complex medical testing is delivered to patients


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Abstract

A global biotech firm needed to transform its advanced diagnostic testing business to fend off competitive threats and enter new markets. The anticipated results? Development of new testing services will be accelerated from as long as 18 months to as short as three months. The firm will also be poised to enter emerging fields such as health information exchanges and personalized medicine.

The Challenge

This company provides hospitals and physicians with highly specialized diagnostic testing far more advanced than the services offered by standard medical labs. Its vision is to use the in-depth results from its cutting-edge tests to fuel development of new diagnostic services, and to position itself as a key player in emerging areas such as health information exchange (HIE) and personalized medicine. In addition, the company wants to improve its customer service capabilities. It expects these strategic moves to help its business stay ahead of the large national franchises that do standard medical testing, as well as niche service providers invading the market, and hospitals establishing their own advanced testing capabilities in house.

In some ways, the company was a victim of its own success. After growing rapidly through a series of acquisitions, it found itself with a collection of independent businesses each operating with a different set of systems and processes. This siloed approach was costly and inefficient. Even worse, it prevented the company from using its test results to drive research and development innovation, which was a strategic necessity. Also, the company’s laboratory operations had become a bottleneck and were struggling to handle peak daily testing volumes. This made it hard to deliver timely and responsive customer service.

How We Helped

The company’s vision was to transform how it does business and serves customers. In particular, it wanted to change the way complex, high end laboratory services are delivered to patients.

To enable this ambitious vision, the company needed to transform three core elements of its business: (1) customer relationship management, (2) laboratory operations and (3) billing/reimbursement. It also needed to overhaul its IT infrastructure to support the transformation effort.

Deloitte helped the company develop a transformation strategy and implementation road map to achieve its strategic objectives. We also helped it manage the implementation. Specifically, we supported the company in its key activities to:

  • Analyze, streamline and standardize business processes and operations
  • Implement a variety of new systems and IT platforms such as a customer relationship management system (Siebel), business intelligence tools (Cognos) and a security and identity management platform (Tivoli Access Management).
  • Integrate medical devices, specialized lab applications and legacy systems
  • Architect and implement a new technology infrastructure, including WAN upgrades, a new integration platform and a new data center
  • Design a service-oriented architecture and enterprise data model
  • Manage vendor-led system implementations for billing, laboratory operations, document management (including integrated faxing) and system development tools

The Deloitte team was composed of specialists in strategy and operations, technology, security and privacy and human capital. We also tapped deep industry knowledge in diagnostic laboratories, clinical enterprise solutions and revenue cycle management. Team members from India played a key role, helping the company develop the numerous custom interfaces needed to integrate its diverse collection of specialized systems and laboratory equipment with its new standard software platforms. We also worked with more than a dozen of the company’s vendors from six countries.

Solution

The company expects their new customer relationship management system and standardized processes to dramatically improve its customer service and satisfaction levels. For example, physicians will be able to get real-time status updates on tests they have ordered, instead of waiting hours or days for a customer service representative to dig around for information and then call back.

Billing and reimbursement activities are being standardized and outsourced to an application service provider that will aggregate transactions and file reimbursement claims. The company expects this to help them reduce overhead costs through economies of scale. In addition to improving accounts receivable performance, the company expects this approach to help it reduce the number of denied claims by providing deeper insight into why claims are rejected.

They expect the new streamlined and standardized pre-natal and oncology laboratory operations to improve capacity and throughput, eliminating the current bottleneck and providing faster turnaround for diagnostic tests. Specialized equipment and medical devices in each lab will be linked to a new enterprise-wide laboratory information system, to enable the company to introduce new diagnostic tests and expand its testing services. They expect these changes to also provide the foundation for an improved genetic counseling business.

The company expects improvements to its IT infrastructure – including better data governance and stewardship – to enable enhanced data quality, management reporting and analytics to help increase information sharing and give executives and managers the information they need to make better business decisions.

Finally, the company expects the transformation from a patchwork of individual labs to a laboratory network to accelerate the development of new testing services from as long as 18 months down to as short as three to six months. From this improvement, it anticipates gaining a distinct advantage over its competitors and dramatically improving customer service and responsiveness. These changes will help position it to capitalize on emerging trends that are changing the way health care is delivered.

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