It's no news that today's US healthcare industry is one of the most complex and dynamic business environments the world has ever known.  Most businesses struggle with the notion of competitive pricing... but those in healthcare face struggles that pale in comparison to pricing concerns most all other businesses face.   For example, healthcare providers must look at numerous complex criteria to determine how much to charge for any given procedure.  Criteria such as limits and caps imposed by insurance providers such as Medicare, market conditions, determination of medical necessity, regulation , and the rising cost of services themselves make the simple question of "How Much Will it Cost To..." very challenging.

The issue of pricing is further exacerbated by the necessity of healthcare providers to do revenue forecasting when looking to the future, and do historical analysis when looking to where they've been.  The complexity of these problems has given birth to new industry of companies that serve the healthcare providers to meet this demand.

One of these companies is a company called Accuro Healthcare Solutions in Dallas, Texas.

In order to meet the needs of their customer base, a significant amount of value was obtained through the strategic use of IT. Accuro leverages IT extensively to solve these problems by maintaining a vast data repository which comprises data provided by numerous data providers that source costs, billing rules, billing data, and more (of course this data has been cleaned of any personally unidentifiable information according the HIPPA guidelines) to Accuro in order for them to compute accurate aggregated cost estimates.  This data is housed in more than 1000 Microsoft SQL Server instances housing more than 13 terabytes of information.  Given this volume, the magnitude of data they process daily is extraordinary.

In order for Accuro's technical team to provide their customers with all the tools they need to do cost estimates, they needed to provide a highly complex serious of search and query screens for their end users to interact with.  The technical requirements of providing this solution was significant in terms of the time that it took to integrate new search fields on the data entry screens and to create the back-end logic to process the result.  This technical requirement often lead them to prolonged delays in implementation.

With the introduction of Visual Studio 2008, we included a new technology called Language Integrated Query.  This technology provided Accuro with new and vastly improved technology to address this issue and dramatically improved their time to market.  At the end of development, they discovered that they were actually able to meet customer needs 500 percent faster by simply leveraging this new technology.

A full case study detailing the scenario can be found at: