Streamlining project planning with Forecast
Management Consulting Portland, Oregon 20+ employees healtheps.com
Medical practices in the U.S are plagued with ongoing challenges from regulations, health insurance reimbursement and contracting, new disease outbreaks, to name a few. There are all sorts of distractions that may distance physicians from helping the patients in need. Luckily, experts like Jill Arena are addressing these complexities and helping to make the day-to-day lives of physicians easier.
Jill is Managing Partner at Health e Practices, a firm that provides consulting and revenue cycle management services for healthcare practices of all sizes and specialties. She is the brains behind making business operations run smoothly and increasing client satisfaction to scale the business.
When you’re responsible for dealing with this level of complexity, you can justifiably expect it to be reflected on your projects and data. Jill turned to Forecast for exactly this reason: to get data as precise and as readily available as possible across two verticals the business operates in - consulting and revenue cycle management.
We sat down with Jill and her assistant Isabelle to discuss the benefits of having a single source of truth for their projects and resources.
Since starting out in 2010, Health e Practices had accumulated a lot of different tools for project, resource, and time management over the years.
“At some point, we started to feel unwieldy, with our projects all over the place,” Jill recalls.
Combine it with a cross-functional team working across two different verticals, and even the most apathetic analyst wouldn't mind an alternative. Eventually, Jill admits, an out-of-date spreadsheet they used for resource management would give them only a sense of who was working on what.
As there’s always the danger of too much admin work lurking when you outgrow tools, the Health e Practices team started to look for a full-suite solution that would let them unite project operations and manage them all in one place.
Jill was especially interested in project management functionality that could match their need to run both fixed price and hourly based projects. The software had to integrate with Quickbooks to replicate time tracking and show ROI for each client. All of this, of course, wouldn’t be possible without built-in timesheets and resource schedule.
The thing that stood out about Forecast’s solution was the connectivity and the ability to create projects, duplicate them, and generate templates that could be used for clients with similar projects, enabling Health e Practices to scale faster.
“Forecast has given us the ability to demonstrate the value we produce to our clients and magnify it with the associated data.”
Some projects in the Health e Practices portfolio are ongoing, so the flexibility of building templates based on several configurations with pre-populated milestones, tasks, and estimates was a huge benefit to the team.
Isabelle reported that it saved her at least three hours of admin work every time when planning projects. Instead of creating project plans from scratch, she can now duplicate one of the pre-created templates and voila, the project can be set to running, with a few minor modifications. So far, Isabelle has built 31 project templates which the company uses on a regular basis. “This represents huge time savings!” Jill adds excitingly.
Having ready-made project templates has been a significant time-saver for everyone in the company. But besides streamlining project planning, Jill finally got the overview she was looking for. Now she can see the timeline, scope of work, budget, and invoicing for each of the 25 projects they’re working on all in one place. Not only has this helped Jill to understand the status of operations at a glance, but it’s also illustrated the amount of time and effort spent on various projects enabling her to better understand the progress of each project and share relevant insights with stakeholders.
"Forecast has given us the ability to demonstrate the value we produce to our clients and magnify it with the associated data," mentions Jill.
In part, Jill is responsible for reporting to make sure the business doesn’t go off course. Previously, she recalls, it was almost impossible to share real-time insights with clients, outlining the volume of work, what had been done up to this point, and how many hours they put into projects.
“Now that everyone tracks and registers time spent on projects and tasks, and this data is directly connected to projects, we’re able to see project progress up-to-date,” said Jill.
Getting a project overview isn’t enough for any consulting business. At the end of each month, you have to invoice the clients.
Influenced by the complicated nature of the healthcare industry, the revenue cycle management projects carried out in Health e Practices are a far cry from standard, and so is their invoicing. This is where Forecast’s customizability stood head and shoulders above the rest, tackling complexity and organizing data.
"The customer experience team at Forecast advised a solution to a specific problem of ours that involved billing physicians and clinics based on a percentage of the payments we handled for their clients. As a workaround, we started tracking expenses against a project that had estimated costs, which allows us to see the break-even point quite clearly," says Jill.
Now that projects are accurately outlined and dynamic, the Health e Practices team can focus on the business without having to spend too much time on admin heavy tasks. Jill points out that she’d recommend it to every project-oriented company that wants to keep tabs on what’s happening in the business and optimize processes.
"After implementing Forecast, the key thing we've accomplished is reducing the time my team would spend on admin tasks."
“Forecast centralized a lot of information and gave project managers a view from the project’s baby stages right through to the budget and profitability. It’s one encompassing system for everything."
“We've got a cockpit for running the business with a superior project overview and world-class resource management.”