Improving Operations Begins with Visibility

By    October 28, 2015

We recently came across a remarkable story in The New York Times about a CEO who asked a very simple question: How much does it cost to operate my business?

In any industry other than health care, the answer would have been easy enough to determine. But University of Utah Health Care chief executive, Dr. Vivian Lee, needed to know precise costs for the goods and services that the hospital system was providing patients – an extremely tall order for such a complex environment. As the article explains, hospital staff knew what insurers were paying out to them for services, but most wouldn’t know where to begin if asked what a specific medical operation or exam truly cost.

This presented a tremendous business obstacle, particularly in a time when the U.S. government is pressuring healthcare providers to reduce costs and deliver value-based care. After all, if you can’t measure the efficiency of your company’s operations, how can you improve them? That’s why Dr. Lee put a plan in place to make cost measurement a reality.

At the center of this multi-year endeavor was software: a program that eventually amassed more than 200 million rows of data on everything from the costs of individual lab tests to how much time staff spent working in operating rooms. When aggregated and run through the right algorithms, this data revealed shocking results about how much seemingly cheap and routine blood tests were really costing them on a yearly basis, along with more granular details like how much one minute in the operating room cost.

Empowered by this visibility into business operations, Dr. Lee made a series of smart choices – like requiring residents to justify each lab test – that decreased waste and operational expenses. Unlike its competitors, whose costs keep rising each year, University of Utah Health Care now enjoys an average yearly .5% reduction in operating expenses.

The lessons from Dr. Lee’s project can be readily applied to other industries, including wireless communications. Without visibility into network operations, accurately measuring performance and troubleshooting for network issues and areas of improvement can quickly become tedious and complex. Failure to take on such an endeavor, however, can perpetuate inefficient usage and a draining of financial, technological and professional resources.

Recognizing that not all companies have the time or resources to uncover cost efficiencies using University of Utah Health Care’s methodology, Cambium Networks launched cnMaestro™, our new software for end-to-end network lifecycle management. This platform can be deployed on premise or in the cloud, and fulfills enterprise network operators’ need for full network visibility to streamline usage and potentially save money.

To join the conversation on cnMaestro and what it can offer your company, please visit our newly launched cnMaestro forum.