The Senturion Analytics Services team is an important component of Sentry’s commitment to providing superior products as well as delivering value-added services. Comprised of a multidisciplinary group of experienced healthcare business analysts and data experts, this team supports and augments an organization’s existing resources by analyzing their clinical, operational, financial and supply chain data in order to identify opportunities to strengthen revenue integrity, reduce cost and improve care outcomes. In the next three months we will be highlighting several team members to learn more about their various roles and how their passion for helping clients sets Sentry apart. This month we’re talking with Brian Wedderspoon, Vice President of Analytics Services.
Sentry: Tell me about your background before Sentry and what brought you here?
Brian: I’m originally from Madison, Wisconsin, and got my start in healthcare working for a reputable revenue cycle consulting firm that was later acquired by Huron Healthcare. After nearly six years of working with large U.S. healthcare delivery system clients to transform and optimize their revenue cycle functions, I moved on to attend Georgetown University where I earned my MBA. From there I went back into consulting, this time serving public sector clients with Deloitte where I worked with the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) on strategic and operational initiatives, including the transition to ICD-10 coding. Eventually my wife and I made our way back to Madison where I spent a short stint managing the large independent physician practice for which she worked, before being drawn into the exciting world of clinical analytics with a local growth-stage population health company. A couple of years later I reconnected with a former colleague who introduced me to Sentry, where I have been now for just over a year.
Sentry: What is your current role with the Sentry Senturion team?
Brian: I am the Vice President of Analytics Services. I am responsible for the people and professional services that support Sentry’s analytics products, including DataNext and Agilum. Agilum at its core is a healthcare cost accounting solution that contains financial analytics and decision support tools to manage and improve profitability. DataNext is a pharmacy-focused analytics tool that helps our clients identify and address opportunities to lower costs, capture additional revenue, manage utilization and improve quality of care. It was developed in response to what we saw as a major market need to connect the dots between pharmacy costs, utilization and patient outcomes. I manage the Senturion Analytics Services team which is uniquely positioned to execute and deliver both the routine or custom analytics our clients demand.
Sentry: What are the most common challenges your clients face and how do your solutions work for them?
Brian: The most common challenge our clients face is in the area of costing – determining how and which resources are being used. We can focus on an individual patient – the nursing care, supplies used, time in the emergency department or ICU – and compare the patient costs to the revenue generated. We can also take this to a service line or organizational level. Our clients need to understand their businesses inside out and our solutions and expertise help them achieve this. To build and maintain these models and processes is very challenging, but that’s where our solutions thrive. We give our clients the tools, data and analytics support needed to help improve their businesses.
Another common challenge is in the area of pharmacy. There are an enormous number of drugs available today, the prices for which are highly variable and unpredictable. We can help our clients identify and manage the variation in their business that results from movements in drug prices and shifting utilization patterns. What makes us unique is our ability to connect specific drug information, including individual National Drug Codes (NDCs), to patient events within and across our longitudinal data set. The breadth and depth of our data supports a universe of analytics endeavors.
Sentry: Is there a particular client challenge that stands out in your mind?
Brian: We’ve had a great relationship with a hospital in the midwest. They’ve been very engaged and we have helped them on a number of fronts including pharmacy and supply chain. Our DataNext solution, for example, identified a data integrity problem that was symptomatic of a process breakdown within its centralized purchasing and distribution function. They were able to quickly root-cause diagnose the problem and assemble a remediation strategy to fix the issue. It was very rewarding to have helped identify a multi-million-dollar issue right out of the gates.
Sentry: What do you think sets Sentry apart from the competition?
Brian: I think at least two things set Sentry apart from the competition:
- Our expansive data includes real-time drug procurement information at the NDC level, which, when combined with proprietary algorithms, allows us to connect the dots between drug purchasing, utilization and outcomes within or across facilities.
- We understand that no single tool can support every analytic endeavor and therefore, offer our analytics services to customers to help them get the most from their data. Sentry’s Senturion Analytics Services team works with customers to understand their precise needs to build, scope and execute analytic projects that answer tough questions and produce key insights.
Sentry: What is the best part of your job with Sentry?
Brian: Working with some of the best and the brightest data and technology experts in the industry to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing our customers, but doing so in a way that is tailored to our unique client needs and environments.
Sentry: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, and for your dedication and hard work with the Senturion team!
Read more about the Senturion Services team here.