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4/4/2011
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Lawson Offers Analytics Tools For Healthcare Organizations

Supply chain and staffing are among the operational areas that Lawson Analytics for Healthcare may help providers gain insight and identify potential cost savings.

Lawson Software has unveiled new data analytics software to help its healthcare customers get a better insight into their staffing, operations, supply chain costs, and other metrics as they deal with healthcare reform and other industry demands.

While financial pressures on healthcare organizations aren't new, healthcare reform is intensifying challenges as hospitals deal with the emergence of new accountable care organizations, related changes in reimbursement for care, and other new developments.

The ability of healthcare providers to improve process efficiencies, optimize supply chains, and hone in on labor costs can help provide savings while reimbursement schedules from Medicare and other payers begin to change in the wake of healthcare reform legislation.

Lawson Analytics for Healthcare extracts data from Lawson systems, such as enterprise resource planning applications, as well as non-Lawson applications, including workforce management systems from other vendors, helping hospital administrators, clinical managers, and other authorized users to measure, monitor, and ultimately find ways to improve financial and operational performance.

The software comes bundled with a series of healthcare operational metrics, but customers can also set up their own queries and measurements, said Bob Ainsbury, VP of industry strategy for Lawson Healthcare.

The analytics software can help healthcare providers maximize terms in supplier contracts by providing insight into whether, for instance, clinicians are ordering supplies that are eligible for volume discounts, to analyzing whether supply deliveries are on-time and accurate, said Lawson VP of healthcare product management Ingrid Svensson.

Catholic Health East, a non-profit integrated health delivery network that operates more than two dozen hospitals on the east coast, is using Lawson's new analytic software to do just that, said Jerry Driscoll, director of supply chain systems at CHE.

CHE has been using Lawson financial, HR, payroll, and supply chain software since 2003. Late last year, CHE began working with Lawson to roll out analytics software to gain insight into how efficiently its supply chain operates. The software allows CHE managers to more accurately and quickly spot and resolve problems -- such as figuring out the reasons why deliveries of medical supplies are late to any particular hospital, and then addressing the issue with clinicians or vendors, depending upon the source of trouble, whether it's in ordering the supplies, shipping or related to other factors.

Having insight into the details of supply chain processes is helping CHE address inefficiencies, and will ultimately lead to savings, said Kim Martin, CHE manager of Lawson software development. For instance, when the root of delayed deliveries or a particular medical supply is discovered and resolved, there's less reason for clinicians to special order supplies that need to be expressed shipped from alternative vendors at higher cost.

Lawson's analytic tools can also provide nurse managers with insight into labor costs and productivity, helping to better budget for times that are predicted to be busier for clinicians, such as flu season, Svensson said.

While Lawson mulls over an unsolicited $1.8 billion takeover bid made on March 11 from Infor Global Solutions, the new Lawson Analytics for Healthcare software is the latest move by Lawson to deepen its presence in the healthcare sector. In early 2010, Lawson paid $160 million to acquire Healthvision, developer of the Cloverleaf line of data integration and health information exchange software. Lawson said more than 1,400 healthcare customers use its software, and about 600 of them are users of Lawson's ERP applications.

"The HealthVision acquisition expanded Lawson's reach into system interoperability and data integration -- basically the foundation for transferring data from disparate systems into a single data repository," said Svensson. However, the new analytics capabilities were not part of HealthVision's products, she said.

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