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Aspen Advisors and The Chartis Group Merge to Create Broader Consultancy

November 7, 2014
by Mark Hagland
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Two consulting firms, one focused on overall strategic planning and the other primarily on IT strategy, combine to better serve the needs of providers in an emerging healthcare landscape

On Nov. 7, senior executives at the Pittsburgh-based Aspen Advisors and The Chartis Group, a Chicago-based consulting firm, announced via a press release that they had come together into a single firm, in order to offer the healthcare industry a heightened level of consulting capability, as the healthcare industry moves forward and requires levels of operational and IT strategic planning, in order to master the challenges and opportunities of the emerging healthcare world. The merger creates a firm encompassing about 250 consultants, about 135 of whom are coming from the Chartis side, and the remainder from the Aspen side.

 “Aspen Advisors will be joining The Chartis Group to create a strategic healthcare consultancy unrivaled in its offering of comprehensive thought leadership and capabilities in strategic planning, accountable care, clinical transformation, and information technology,” the press release stated. “Aspen is a top KLAS-ranked IT advisory services firm that works with healthcare organizations across the country to enhance performance through the strategic and effective use of information technology. Chartis is a leading healthcare management consultancy that works with the nation’s foremost providers on enterprise critical matters.”

In the press release, Ken Graboys, managing director and CEO of The Chartis Group, said, "The healthcare industry stands on the precipice of great change, and no dimension has the potential to be more transformative than information technology and applied analytics. To continue to provide leading-edge healthcare advisory services, we must be able to bring our clients world-class capabilities in information technology and do so in a way that is powerfully integrated with their strategy, their clinical delivery, and their evolving business model,” said Ken Graboys, Managing Director and CEO of The Chartis Group. “And that is why we are so excited that Aspen Advisors will be joining The Chartis Group. Not only is Aspen the top healthcare IT consulting firm in the country, but our missions and cultures have extraordinary similarities. Both firms place the greatest primacy on thought leadership, and both are highly collaborative – with their clients and with each other.”

Ken Graboys

Shortly after the announcement, founder and managing principal of Aspen Advisors, Daniel Herman, and Chartis’ Graboys, spoke with HCI Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland regarding the implications of the merger. “We believe that our industry is at a critical juncture right now, and that as we work with organizations to develop new clinical models, the rise in consumerism due to more out-of-pocket expenses for consumers, information technology is going to be more than an enabler; it’s going to be absolutely essential,” Herman said. And with regard to streamlining workflows prior to a clinical application implementation or a revenue cycle implementation, we’ve seen firsthand the kind of alignment required, as we’ve been working with the Chartis folks on projects together.” As a result, the strategic and strategic IT consulting needs are flowing together naturally, and speak to the obvious logic of this merger, Herman said.

Daniel Herman

Meanwhile, Graboys noted that “We’ve been focused strongly on strategic planning, network development, and clinical transformation, for provider organization clients, particularly among large academic medical centers and among children’s hospitals. And what’s clear is that it’s become impossible to help our clients be at the vanguard without information technology and the management of data being central to the strategy itself. We’ve seen IT evolve from being an enabler to being an asset to being a tool,” he added, “to now, in the most advanced organizations, really becoming core to care delivery. So for us to provide leading-edge consulting services, we have to be able to provide world-class consulting services, and thus, the partnership with Aspen.”

The merger takes effect immediately. For now, consultants will continue to refer to the name of their individual firm, but over time, the Chartis name will become core to the identity of the merged organization, Graboys stated.