NCAP Custom Web Application

Background

Northern Colorado Anesthesia Professionals PLLC (NCAP) is a longstanding Fort Collins anesthesia practice founded in 1998.  Today, NCAP is comprised of over 80 board-certified physician anesthesiologists and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, who  provide care to four hospitals and eight surgery centers in the Northern Colorado region.

Because the providers are compensated based on production, which can vary greatly from one shift to another, NCAP early on developed a simple database program to manage the equitable distribution of work among its providers. Through laborious manual data entry, this Access-based routine generated a report of daily assigned workload for each provider, averaged over the preceding 12 months. The resulting bar graph was used as a rough tool for allocating workload as evenly as possible. The short coming of this approach was that assigned workload was not necessarily reflective of the work the provider actually ended up performing, since the surgical schedule is very dynamic and changes many times daily.

As the organization grew, it became obvious that it was time for a new system. NCAP needed a true practice management platform that could be interfaced with the data coming from the practice’s billing platform and the accounting and credentialing platforms. This system would allow them to more accurately report individual production, since the input would come from billing data, rather than prospective assignments.

The Challenges

After reviewing vendor options, NCAP decided on Rocket Jones to build a custom web application for them. Because the complexity of this project was so massive, they needed a vendor with a hands-on approach and a consistent project team. As Rocket met with NCAP’s project lead, Brett Preston (Director of Information Technology), they defined three main goals for the project.

 

  1. Build a more reliable system. The whole software needed to be consistent, professional, and accurate.
  2. Rebuild the scheduling graph.
  3. Automated provider pay packets.

Month-end had become so overwhelming. We just knew that with so many hands touching the process, it was bound to break or fail miserably.

Luke Wagner

Director of Financial Management Analytics, Northern Colorado Anesthesia Professionals

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State 1: Explore + Imagine

Stage 1 was especially important for this project because it involved such complexity. NCAP and Rocket Jones jumped right in and started defining workflow and logic. Rocket Jones had to learn a lot of domain knowledge from NCAP. Then we had to decide the best way for the data to be entered into the software for the pay calculations to occur.

Stage 3: Build + Test

Planning and designing in Stage 2 gave Rocket Jones a solid foundation to begin development, but the process continued to be iterative. Weekly meetings kept NCAP and Rocket on the same page as we worked through logic and features together. NCAP was also closely involved in the testing process; they submitted actual data sets and helped validate the graph. Through extensive testing, we found places that needed changes and improvement.

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Stage 2: Plan + Sketch

After gathering foundational knowledge, Rocket Jones began creating wireframes (blueprints). The wireframes became a great tool for collaboration between Rocket Jones and NCAP. Wireframes brought together all the departments involved in a visual way that was easy to understand. Because of the complex logic involved in compensation, Stage 2 also involved detailed logic documentation along with the wireframes.

Stage 4: Support + Scale

The new web application, called Intelligent Practice Analytics (IPA) launched. In just a few months after launch, providers and staff have transitioned to the new system and seen the results. Luke Wagner described, “People are feeling and seeing the capabilities of IPA, and a lot of fears and suspicions about [the data] are trailing off.” Rocket Jones continues to work with NCAP through an ongoing support contract to maintain the application and plan for new reports and functionality.

Intuitive User Interface

The software’s clear organization and simple design allows easy data access. Reports are easy to run, and they can process in the background while other tasks are being done. Providers can enter activity remotely, thanks to a mobile-responsive design.

Integrated Data Sources

Building custom software allowed NCAP to integrate multiple existing software systems, giving them efficient and comprehensive data in one place.

Reduced Manual Data Entry

Month-end provider pay reporting that used to take 40 hours each month now runs automatically with just the click of a button, alleviating tedious and error-prone manual data entry from multiple departments.

Scaleable for the Future

IPA is robust and scalable for the future as NCAP continues to grow and improve their processes. It has allowed them to look ahead and plan for the future with solid data.

Now that we’ve got reliable data, we have trust in the system. Now we’re starting to feel the ability to ask more questions.

Brett Preston

Director of Information Technology, Northern Colorado Anesthesia Professionals

Download the PDF

Great story, right? If you’d like to read more about NCAP and the process of building their custom software, click below to download the full PDF case study document.

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