American Healthways Case Study

Nashville-based American Healthways, Inc. is the nation’s leading and largest provider of specialized, comprehensive disease management, care enhancement, and high-risk health management services with over one million lives under management nationwide. In December 2001, the organization announced a 10-year strategic alliance with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBSMN).

The Objective: The objective of the alliance is to change the face of health care by filling existing gaps and reinforcing the patient-physician relationship by providing critical communication, timely information, and a uniquely human approach that produces healthier patients and reduces the cost of care.

The Challenge: As part of the agreement with BCBSMN, American Healthways was to provide a dedicated nurse care enhancement center (CEC). The company needed its new CEC to be operational within 90 days, be close to its client operations in Minneapolis, and have access to a labor pool of healthcare professionals, including LPNs, RNs, and dieticians.

American Healthways selected the Call Center Solutions Group (CCSG) because of its focus on call centers as well as the group’s experience with demographic analysis. For American Healthways’ specific needs, CCSG leveraged its geographical information system to identify where healthcare representatives lived and worked – places such as residences, nursing colleges, and hospitals. In addition, because CCSG is part of CB Richard Ellis, American Healthways was confident the group could find the best real estate opportunities in its targeted labor markets.

The Solution: CCSG delivered a site selection study that identified a number of viable candidate communities and conducted tours of the finalists. The winner was Minneapolis suburb Eagan, MN: population 63,557. Eagan had the healthcare demographics needed to successfully staff American Healthways’ CEC and provided an environment where the company could successfully grow with the community. Moreover, CCSG was able to identify a “plug and play” call center facility and negotiated a favorable contract for the property. That meant American Healthways could get up and running very quickly, one of their key objectives.

The Result: As always, the goal of American Healthways is to improve patient health, enhance the fundamental care experience, and reduce the cost of care. With their new 23,120 square-foot CEC staffed with qualified healthcare professionals, the company has been able to do just that.

From the initial 30 clinicians that opened the center to the more than 150 employees who staff it today, American Healthways has not only successfully recruited nurses in the area, it has delivered award-winning work from this location. In 2004, the company was presented with the AstraZeneca-NMHCC National Partnership Award for its innovative relationship with BCBSMN. The care enhancement center also continues to grow. Plans are already being made to lease an additional 11,000 square feet for expansion purposes.

[From the February/March 2005 issue of AnswerStat magazine]