Partnering For Success – Provider Achieves Strength in Stability

Case Study: Athens Regional Health System


The proper implementation of healthcare information technology systems is crucial to an organization’s financial health. Athens Regional Health System (ARHS) was in the midst of evaluating performance improvement initiatives in 2014, when a challenging implementation of the electronic medical record launch created an internal crisis. ARHS needed to stabilize its organization quickly in three key areas: interim chief executive officer leadership; interim chief information officer leadership – with a focus on IT stabilization and meeting meaningful use dollar requirements; and performance improvement initiatives that would assist with closing a fiscal year projected $29M gap/$51M gap to 5% margin.


In 2014, ARHS partnered with Guidehouse to assess and implement performance improvement initiatives. They focused on:

  • An immediate income statement improvement of $15M during Year 1
  • A stretch goal of $30M per year in income statement improvements after Year 1
  • Targeted performance improvement initiatives in:
    • Revenue Cycle
    • Supply Chain/Pharmacy/Laboratory Service
    • Physician Services
    • Care Management and Clinical and Operational Effectiveness
    • Labor Optimization
    • Human Resources Benefits/Organizational Structure

In addition, Vital Stats®, a robust analytical tool was implemented in physician services. This tool allows for concurrent evaluation of physician coding practices, collections, productivity and volume statistics. The tool provides detailed data that can be collated and analyzed, concurrently, providing business intelligence that can easily translate into actionable steps toward performance improvement-before bottom line results are unfavorably impacted.

Further, Guidehouse provided coaching and mentoring on daily huddles and staffing to demand. The team utilized the conceptual framework for predictability modeling – this assisted nursing in understanding the ongoing day-to-day challenges of patient demand and the supply of clinical labor to deliver staffing solutions that provide sustainable cost savings.


Additionally, the ARHS and Guidehouse partnership has positioned a new project management group that is poised to ensure sustainability of the current initiatives, and oversee and implement new initiatives. Charles “Chuck” Peck, M.D., the new chief executive officer, will charge the group with additional initiatives based on organizational needs.

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