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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

Adventist Health: Curing Inefficiency with the Cloud

Guest Author

Emma YuBy Emma Yu, Product Marketing Director, Oracle

At Adventist Health, serving the underserved is a way of life. The not-for-profit healthcare organization operates 20 acute care hospitals in the western United States, many of which are in rural areas with no other local healthcare providers.

Like other healthcare organizations, however, Adventist Health faces major challenges as it balances its patient-care objectives against the industry's push toward modernization.

“To be financially viable, we need to keep growing," said Matthew Savard, director of analytics for Adventist Health’s financial planning and analytics team. "If you're not growing, you're dying." As a result, Savard said that Adventist Health was focused on growing revenue from $4 billion in 2016 to $6 billion by 2020—combining organic growth with a series of acquisitions and joint ventures with other healthcare systems.

At the same time, Adventist Health recognized the need to achieve economies of scale by centralizing support functions. "Standalone facilities are just not able to achieve the economies of scale that are necessary in order to continue to operate," Savard said. "We're focused on staying in the rural communities, but in order to support that business model, we have to be very efficient."

Savard said Adventist Health applied the same logic to its increasingly antiquated financial IT functions: separate solutions for GL, planning, and cost accounting. Some of these systems were more than 30 years old—forcing team members to spend long hours on tedious management and maintenance tasks. The antiquated systems also lacked modern analytics, forecasting, and planning tools.

According to Savard, Adventist Health wanted a modern finance system that would support the organization's strategic shift toward "one Adventist Health," with centralized support functions and a holistic planning and decision-making model. Adventist Health also wanted a solution that it could implement quickly and that users would embrace, while retaining features that served the unique planning needs of a healthcare organization.

Working with implementation partner Deloitte, Adventist Health started its Oracle Cloud journey in July 2017, when it went live with Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud and Oracle ERP Cloud. Beginning in March of 2018, in partnership with interRel, Adventist began implementation of Oracle Analytics Cloud and started work on implementing Oracle Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud and Oracle Enterprise Data Management Cloud.

“We're looking to continue to invest in our EPM Cloud solutions to bring all of our systems together and make them work seamlessly together," Savard explained. "We've made a significant investment in cloud technologies, and we want to make sure we're leveraging the efficiencies that we can get in there."

The first stage of the implementation helped by showing exactly what was possible: Using Planning and Budgeting Cloud, Adventist Health’s team immediately cut its planning and budgeting timelines in half.

"We no longer have problems with in-market teams making changes that we're not aware of that could impact our consolidated budget," Savard said. "The cloud makes each of our team members more efficient—giving us a centralized platform to get data into the tool and to tighten that planning cycle," and to maintain control over the data feeding the budget planning process.

At the same time, Savard added, Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud has eliminated most of the tedious maintenance tasks associated with Adventist Health's legacy applications. "Any time I can free up [our planning team] and allow them to get into those other spaces, there's a huge benefit to our organization."

Savard is also looking forward  to using Oracle Enterprise Data Management (EDM) Cloud.

"We have at least six different cloud platforms that we've implemented at this point," Savard said. "And we see EDM Cloud as the fabric that will stitch the hierarchies together across all of those platforms." The organization's current data management efforts involve multiple teams performing tedious and inefficient maintenance, increasing the risk of reporting errors.

"We have staff members on the front lines that rely on our reporting tools to make them effective at the operational components of their responsibility," Savard said. "If I can provide financial tools that make them more efficient at their job, they have more time to focus on our patients."

As Adventist Health continues its Oracle cloud journey, the organization gets a better idea of what the future might look like with a truly holistic cloud in place: being able to put patient care first by having the tools to manage costs, make decisions, and allocate resources more efficiently—and with greater precision—than ever before.

"We selected Oracle Cloud because of the full spectrum of cloud solutions Oracle offers," Savard stated. "It is really a benefit to us to be able to move away from where we were before, with individual vendor solutions, to a single shared platform with Oracle—planning, cost accounting, ERP, HR, accounts payable—all in a single solution platform. It's really key to our overall strategy of one Adventist Health."

Watch the video to learn more from Adventist Health.

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