On the Shoulders of a Giant: Our Deal with Intermountain Healthcare for Clinical Variation Management

Today we announced a key partnership with Intermountain Health where they will deploy our Clinical Variation Management software to accelerate the process of developing, deploying and measuring care process models. The reason that the partnership is so significant is that Intermountain is the undisputed leader in the clinical variation space – and for them to choose us represents a major validation for our product.

To put Intermountain Healthcare’s leadership into perspective, they have a Harvard Business School case written about them. Across the river, MIT’s Sloan Management Review has written about the culture of data. They have a New York Times Magazine article written about them. President Obama even talked about them in a speech to Congress.

Intermountain’s successes are manifold, but most keen observers would note that care process models represent the engine of success. Intermountain began measuring clinical variation back in 1986 covering a range of procedures. In 1991, they had a breakthrough in reducing variation when they put a new guideline directly into the clinical workflow – making it part of order sets and other routinized activities, essentially making it the default care model for the system.

The financial implications were staggering. When Intermountain began to calculate the saving from their approach in 1995, it totaled more than $30M and with widespread application would easily top $100M.

Intermountain was delivering better care at lower costs before anyone had even uttered the term value based care.

With this approach underpinning the culture, the business model and the approach to medicine, Intermountain has continued to refine and extend that work in a scientific and calculated way.

Over time we will talk more about what we did specifically to win their trust and earn their admiration, but at the heart of our joint press release is the concept of accelerating the work that they are doing. Using our application for managing clinical variation, Intermountain can develop candidate pathways in a fraction of the time it takes them today while discovering enhancing their understanding of medicine in the process.  

This win was not achieved overnight. In fact, we have worked on this problem for well over a year. Our initial partner Mercy (St. Louis) pushed us to improve every facet of the product from the ingest layer, the user experience and the adherence measurement component. We wouldn’t be writing about this exciting win without them.

This is not just a big day for Ayasdi and our clients, it is a big day for value-based care. Value based care is happening for a number of reasons, not least of which is CMS. To successfully make the transition to value-based care you have to understand clinical variation in the way that Intermountain understands clinical variation. Without that knowledge of what is transpiring in your hospital, without the commitment to manage variation it is very hard, indeed potentially impossible to succeed in delivering on better care at lower costs.

We are excited about what the coming months have in store for us in the healthcare vertical. We see today as a tipping point. If you are on this journey – let’s talk about what we can achieve together.