December 13, 2014

HISA Roadshow 2014

Last week I was travelling the eastern states presenting at a breakfast roadshow put on by HISA and sponsored by Microsoft. The key focus of the roadshow was to present case studies of healthcare solutions that had been delivered using the Microsoft Dynamics range of products.

The format for the event was slightly different to the usual scrambled eggs and PowerPoint. Sure there were eggs, but very little PowerPoint. There were 5 speakers and they sat at a table and told their story. They rotated around the tables in 10 minute intervals. This provided an intimate setting which engendered more conversations and a stronger connection with the audience.

Microsoft’s Dr Simon Kos, their “tame doctor”, spoke at each of the events. One of his key messages was about the need for strong case management in healthcare. He spoke about the market penetration of the Dynamics range of products in the health space overseas and his dilemma as to why this was not as evident in Australia. The case studies presented at the roadshow by organisations including Procura, OBS, eSavvy, Microsoft and Simient show that there is a growing number of healthcare organisations that do use Dynamics, and in my view this number is growing rapidly.

At Simient we are seeing a growing market for Dynamics based solutions in health care. Our initial foray into health was in 2011 providing a Dynamics CRM based solution for an out bound call centre that provides public health services. Since then we have provided a number of different health related case management solutions including infant hearing screening, and we are currently working on several projects with wide ranging application from contact tracing for infectious diseases to consolidating siloed clinical systems for a new hospital to providing a system to manage community based referrals. All of these initiatives are based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

So why Dynamics CRM? The product is a great development environment. Rather than using it as a Customer Relationship Management system, we use it as xRM or an anything relationship management system. In a health context this x is generally a patient. It allows us to create data entities and relate them to each other very easily through configuration screens. Each data entity has a form – both web and mobile – it has a standard set of views. The product has a very robust workflow engine. It provides role based security that limits who can see what data down to the field level on a form. It has strong reporting capabilities that make it easy for the end user to create their own custom reports.

The product is easy to integrate with other system. It has a very complete web services API. When a new entity is created, it becomes part of the API. There is effective use of both inbound and outbound email. It includes a native document management interface to SharePoint.

We use Dynamics CRM as a development platform for case management solutions because to code all of these features from scratch would take a considerable amount of time. Where a solution requires these features, it is generally more cost effective to go with the product. When looking at a new system we carry out a fit/gap analysis to determine how closely the product maps to the requirements. We generally get an 80 – 90+ % fit.

As clinicians and health care administrators continue to develop requirements for the systems that they need to be effective in today’s connected environment we are seeing demand grow in the area of strong case management solutions. They see the need to link patient administration systems with clinical systems in a way that shows the breadth of service that is being provided to a patient. These ideas are not new, neither are the tools. The novelty here is bringing them together to provide robust, effective solutions.

Simient is a growing and vital company with a loyal client base. We are always looking for great consultants to join our team. Contact us at Follow us on Twitter @Simient. Follow us on Facebook Join our group on LinkedIn