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Allina Health, Health Catalyst Combine Analytics Resources

January 6, 2015
by David Raths
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Goal is to become ‘living laboratory’ and national showcase for outcomes improvement

Minneapolis-based Allina Health has signed a 10-year agreement valued at $100 million to combine analytics technology, clinical content and personnel with Salt Lake City-based data warehousing and analytics vendor Health Catalyst. 

Allina Health is a $3.7 billion not-for-profit organization whose more than 90 clinics, 12 hospitals and related healthcare services provide care for nearly 1 million people across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. The 10-year agreement marks the culmination of a relationship that began in 2008, when Allina Health became Health Catalyst's first customer.

Penny Wheeler, M.D., president and CEO of Allina Health, said the agreement would accelerate outcomes improvement for those served through Allina Health and create a roadmap for broader outcomes transformation across the country. "We have made significant progress with care outcomes improvement over the last six years, and we now believe we can take our efforts to the next level by leveraging the experience and know-how of both organizations and our shared history of innovation and transformation,” she said in a prepared statement.

The Allina employees currently working in data warehousing, analytics and performance improvement technology will become onsite Health Catalyst team members in phases beginning this month. (Health Catalyst has committed to retain all of the former Allina Health staff.) Also, Allina will gain access to Health Catalyst's full technology, content and deployment expertise to accelerate outcomes improvement at Allina.  The partnership's governing committee will annually identify a prioritized list of improvement projects, each designed to provide measurable care improvement and financial value to Allina, and as success is realized, both partners will share in the economic benefits.

Allina said it would become a "living laboratory" and national showcase for outcomes improvement, featuring the latest developments in analytics-enabled improvement from Health Catalyst's portfolio.  

"As payment models continue to transition away from fee-for-service, it becomes increasingly vital for health systems to deeply understand their data in order to pinpoint inefficiencies and then reduce those inefficiencies," said Duncan Gallagher, chief financial officer of Allina Health, in a prepared statement. "This partnership is designed to accomplish that goal in a measurable, scalable, repeatable manner." 

Each year, the committee governing the partnership will agree to a prioritized list of data-driven improvement projects with specific, measurable outcomes goals for each project. Economic rewards will be based on the attainment of these goals. "We expect that this process of using analytics to prioritize projects, in combination with risk-sharing economics, will encourage far more focus and alignment than is found in traditional health system-vendor relationships," said Gallagher.