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Case Study

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At Compassion-First Data Discovery is Core to the Business

Compassion-First Pet Hospitals is a growing network of specialty, emergency and hybrid animal hospitals located throughout the United States that offers a wide range of specialties, including integrative oncology, cardiology, and ophthalmology—while also investing in novel technologies rarely found in veterinary medicine. Compassion-First’s growing base of 30 hospitals receives referrals from 15,000+ veterinary clinics annually.

Compassion-First was founded by 40-year industry veteran John Payne. His mission is to create the “Mayo” clinic of the animal health industry, providing the very best medicine and outcomes to pets and their owners, while also transforming the financial performance of the hospitals enabling a continuous investment in innovation and quality.

With each acquisition, Compassion-First inherits a wide variety of information technology systems (practice management, financial, medical records) and data (business/clinical, structured/unstructured). This presents a number of challenges as Compassion-First rapidly moves to integrate the new hospitals while pushing to accelerate the strategic initiatives that are focused on improving evidence-based decision making and cross-hospital collaboration.

To tackle this problem, Compassion-First turned to Michael Welsh, Vice Chairman of the European Social Entrepreneur Fund and tech industry investor/veteran. What has transpired is a partnership with Compassion-First in the funding and creation of a new insights-as-a service organization called xtendCare that Mr. Welsh has also agreed to guide as Chief Executive. The xtendCare group has been aggressively building a data and decision science capability that leverages a best-of-breed technology stack. During the “buildout” they paid particular attention to the successful paths already charted by notable world-class human health initiatives—such as the big data analytics company Explorys (note: Explorys was a spin out from the Cleveland Clinic and was then acquired by IBM).

“We have three primary domains where we are developing our data/decision analytics capability and IP: evidence, insights and outcomes,” says Mr. Welsh. “In the last few months we’ve made significant inroads in overcoming the data fragmentation, data quality and silos that have existed in our hospitals. We are now focusing on solutions that extend our reach to more sources of data (evidence) that helps us rapidly deliver insights and transforms the quality and speed of our decision-making.”

Compassion-First had evaluated a number of data preparation platforms in an attempt to solve their business issues. However, it was clear that a data preparation platform without integrated discovery was never going to meet the requirements of the analysts. To tie this solution all together, Welsh turned to Unifi. “To make our data valuable we need to make it frictionless,” explains Welsh. “This means the metadata describing our data must be rich, clean, and constantly improving to facilitate the discoverability of data and thus its value.”

One obvious use case that Welsh highlights is diagnostic tests. When a price change occurs from the supplier or diagnostic lab it may take several weeks or months for all of the hospitals and individual clinics to reflect the impact of that change in all the systems. It’s not just about increasing the cost –but being able to assess the impact of the cost on client access, profitability, etc. “Unlike human healthcare where there is often an insurance policy, animal care is a cash business,” explains Welsh. “You pay your bill when the services are performed. Not having real-time insight into the effects of COGS on various treatment protocols can have a significant financial impact on a hospital’s bottom line, veterinary compensation and most importantly the ability to afford the delivery of the highest quality of medicine. As of now, veterinary hospitals across the industry do not have the capabilities in place that would allow them near real-time visibility and insights –so without a doubt profitability is impacted.

By deploying Unifi in their enterprise, Compassion-First will be able to deliver roll-based, self-service analytics. Because the data is organized, clean and readily available, hospital executives and staff will be able to derive valuable business and clinical insights more quickly that will facilitate smart “evidence-based” decision making. Even predictive analytics will be more accurate and delivered sooner. For example, accurately forecasting how many veterinarians to schedule in an emergency room based on various external trends and historical patterns gleaned from the medical records.

Once all the Unifi’d data is available and readily accessible to the hospitals, Welsh can offer the “Insights as a Service” capability to other organizations in the animal health and life sciences industries.

Company
Compassion First & xtendCare

Challenge
Rapidly integrate new hospitals into the network by connecting to fragmented IT infrastructure systems

Solution
Deploy Unifi to bring together structured and unstructured data and create a dynamic data catalog to facilitate discovery across the client network

Result
Frictionless data, readily available to analysts and business leaders across the organization

“To make our data valuable we need to make it frictionless.”

— Michael Welsh, Acting CEO, xtendCare