Ignoring Innovation Means Getting Left Behind

February 23rd, 2016 | Posted by Sarah Jones in Guest Blogs - (Comments Off)

According to this week’s blog post from member company Social SafeGuard, in today’s highly competitive marketplace, innovation is what ultimately sets a company apart from the rest of the market. Innovation is an essential part of any business that does not want to be left behind, and it can come in many forms when it comes to how a company communicates with its customer base.


Social media is currently the most powerful and effective communications tool available. Twenty five years ago the concept of a globally available, user-generated content platform didn’t exist. Today, the utilization of this platform is a key to success for any business. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, innovation is what ultimately sets a company apart from the rest of the market; it is an essential part of any business that does not want to be left behind. Innovation can come in many forms when it comes to how a company communicates with its customer base.

free_social_media_icons_image_ubersocialmediaIn order for a company to effectively satisfy their customer’s wants and needs, they must constantly communicate and listen to them; furthermore, companies must use the findings of this communication to adapt their product or service accordingly. 72 percent of adult internet users in the U.S. are now active on at least one social network, up from 67 percent in 2012 and just 8 percent in 2005. It is obvious that social media is the most effective way to reach and engage with today’s consumer. History is littered with companies that were once dominant players within their industry, but failed to effectively engage and listen to their customers, which eventually led to their demise. Two prime examples of this are Kodak and Blockbuster.

1. The Last Kodak Moment: Kodak was the primary player in the camera industry for almost a century. Kodak was the American technology company known for inventing color film, the handheld movie camera, and the first digital camera. In the late 1990s, Kodak began to struggle financially due to its sluggish transition to digital photography, regardless of the fact that they invented the core technology used in current digital cameras. After 132 years of business, Kodak officially filed for bankruptcy in 2012 due to their inability to adapt to the changing camera industry. All Kodak had to do was communicate with their customers to discover that preferences were changing, but instead they chose to stick with what they had always done, which resulted in a loss of competitive advantage and economic failure.

2. Blockbuster: For many years, Blockbuster was the dominant player in the movie rental industry. Once Netflix, Redbox, and On Demand Cable Services entered the market, trends quickly changed to customers wanting videos instantly and conveniently. Blockbuster chose not to adapt to the changing marketplace until it was too late. In 2010, the company filed for bankruptcy after 25 years of business and the majority of their stores closed shortly thereafter. While Blockbuster still attempts to mimic their competitors in an effort to regain any possible market share, they are now chasing the industry instead of leading it.

Every company must adapt and embrace social media if they do not want to become the Kodak or Blockbuster of their industry. Social media allows people to create, share, or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Unlike traditional communication tools, social media has unmatched reach, frequency, and usability. Social media is the medium in which today’s consumer chooses to communicate. It would be foolish for any company to not adopt a platform that provides a free flow of information with a global reach, where all of their current and potential customers are present, and openly telling the companies exactly what they want.

If Blockbuster would have been proactive and engaged their customers, it is possible they would now have 57 million subscribers streaming videos in over 50 countries, and Netflix would be nothing but a failed startup.

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This week on NVTC’s blog, Michael Canes, senior consultant at LMI, shares why smart energy usage fundamentally improves the way companies do business, and the five steps agencies can take to help their energy management.

energy

Today’s government facility energy managers face the enormous challenge of meeting goals set through legislation and executive order (EO). For the past several years, managers have needed to increase the energy efficiency of buildings by 3 percent annually. But now, agencies also must utilize increasing proportions of renewable energy, 30 percent or more by 2025.

Meeting these benchmarks is necessary to comply with legislation, or EOs, but progressive agencies know that smart energy usage fundamentally improves the way they do business. Operating more efficiently increases program effectiveness.

We follow a five-step approach to help agencies improve energy management:

1. Assess current energy consumption
2. Identify opportunities to improve efficiency and add renewables
3. Analyze the economics of the alternatives
4. Budget and manage the finances of energy investments
5. Ensure the investments are in compliance with applicable environmental standards.

We analyzed alternate means to curb fuel consumption for the U.S. military’s theater of operation, reducing resources needed to supply fuel over hundreds of miles of terrain. Energy efficiency freed up vital resources to be used for other mission-oriented purposes, creating savings in fuel, equipment, and manpower; and increasing operational effectiveness.We currently are working with the Facilities Management and Engineering Directorate at U.S. Customs and Border Protection to provide consistent, up-to-date guidance on how to mesh legal mandates with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards to assure sustainability measures are of value to the government.The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) publishes an annual energy scorecard detailing federal agencies’ progress towards federal benchmarks. The most recent report shows that, while some agencies are progressing, others are lagging behind. The challenge to gain greater energy efficiency can be met, but it requires thorough assessment, a detailed plan of attack, and continuous implementation efforts.For more information, check out LMI’s book A Federal Leader’s Guide to Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE), which equips federal leaders with a succinct guide to specific energy issues in the federal government—the nation’s largest consumer of energy.

Michael Canes, PhD, is an internationally recognized economist with an extensive background in the economics of energy and climate policy. He has published a number of studies related to energy economics and policy. His PhD in economics is from the University of California, Los Angeles.

 

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Most countries have a centralized model for managing healthcare supplies, but there is room for other options. This week on NVTC’s blog, LMI’s Taylor Wilkerson outlines three models that can help you choose the best option for your national healthcare system.


Most countries have a centralized model for managing healthcare supplies, but there is room for other options. The following decision tree can help you choose the best option for your national healthcare system. Note that all three models assume that contracts with vendors have been centrally negotiated to ensure bulk pricing. Determine the best model for your healthcare supply chain with three questions.


If your best option is a Vendor-Managed Inventory Model, vendors own and maintain the medical supply inventories at facilities around your country and are responsible for inventory fulfillment. Pricing is based on pre-negotiated bulk contracts.

Key Benefits

  • You don’t have to manage transportation or storage of supplies.
  • Since inventories are stored in facilities around your country, your healthcare supply system may be more flexible in times of disaster.

Key Disadvantages

  • To ensure standardized levels of care across the country, this model requires clearly defined management processes and data systems.
  • Analysis is needed to know whether vendor delivery costs would be more and less than one managed by your administration.

If you choose the Vendor-Managed Delivery Model, vendors manage delivery of supplies around your country. Districts, counties, or facilities place direct orders with vendors, with pricing based on pre-negotiated bulk contracts. The pricing includes delivery costs.

Key Benefits

  • You don’t have to manage transportation of supplies.
  • In case of disaster, the flexibility of your healthcare supplies depends on the resilience of your vendor’s delivery systems.

Key Disadvantages

  • To ensure standardized levels of care across the country, this model requires clearly defined management processes and data systems.
  • Analysis is needed to know whether vendor delivery costs would be more and less than one managed by your administration.

If your best option is a Centralized Inventory Model, you hold all inventory in a central warehouse and ship to medical facilities as needed.

 

Key Benefits

  • With all supplies are in one location, you can easily track inventory, even if you have not been able to invest in sophisticated data systems.
  • You may be able to negotiate the least expensive warehouse costs, since you need only one facility.
  • There is lower risk of running out of one type of supply, since overall inventory is larger than when it is stored regionally.

Key Disadvantage

  • In times of disaster, having all supplies in one location could make your healthcare system vulnerable.

Mr. Wilkerson heads the Global Health group at LMI. Mr. Wilkerson co-chairs the Supply Chain Risk Leadership Council and chairs the Penn State Center for Supply Chain Research advisory board. He has an MBA from the University of Maryland, and BE in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University.

Mr. Colaianni works in the Global Health group at LMI and manages supply management systems and policy. Formerly, Mr. Colaianni was an Army officer and managed the medical equipment program for Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Most countries have a centralized model for managing healthcare supplies, but there is room for other options. This week on NVTC’s blog, LMI’s Taylor Wilkerson outlines three models that can help you choose the best option for your national healthcare system. 

 

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Preparing for Genomics and Health Data Analytics

February 1st, 2016 | Posted by Sarah Jones in Guest Blogs - (Comments Off)

This week on NVTC’s Blog, LMI Senior Consultant Daniel DuBravec notes that we need to prepare for personalized medicine and the evaluation of genomic data.


Today’s electronic health record (EHR) systems cannot properly handle genomic data. Interpreting these huge and complex data, particularly in a visual manner, is challenging. Even when EHR systems can access these data, few standards exist for how to structure them to ensure seamless system integration, interoperability, and interpretation. Most medical schools do not teach doctors how to interpret genetic data, and local-level care centers require training on proper data storage and network security.

Precision medicine predicts, prevents, and treats diseases at the patient level. Its growth has created the need for internationally recognized genomic EHR standards and policies, which would protect individuals by ultimately improving patient outcomes. We need to prepare for a future in which medicine is more personalized and better able to evaluate genomic data. 

Real, Inspiring Stories

Recently, I met a colleague whose daughter is suffering from a genetic condition known as Stargardt disease. Sadly, her daughter is rapidly losing her vision. This disease, a form of juvenile macular degeneration, can only appear in children when both parents carry the mutated gene. If the gene had been identified at an early stage, medical practitioners would have had more time to investigate new drug therapies and gene-editing technologies to treat my colleague’s daughter. As part of her interoperable medical genetic record, physicians at research institutions who were also working on her case could have then viewed and collaborated by using this critical information. Hitting close to home, this is one of many stories that inspire us to prepare for the widespread application of precision medicine and genomic data analysis.

Making Genomic Data Useful for Medical Practitioners

The future of patient care requires connecting large external data sets with electronic healthcare records. Precision medicine will customize treatments down to a patient’s genes and behavior. By analyzing genetic data across thousands of people, scientists will discover preventative treatments and cures for challenging health issues.

Given the complexity of health and genomic data, one can analyze the same data in different ways and achieve different outcomes. “Well-designed data visualization could help doctors interpret the data more rapidly, arriving at more challenging diagnoses in less time,” says Erin Gordon, data visualization trainer and graphic facilitator at LMI.

Before developing a framework for integrating and analyzing disparate health data sets, we test our models for validity. “The quality of our medical data models has a direct impact on patient outcomes and daily operations in medical facilities,” says Brent Auble, a consultant with the Intelligence Programs group at LMI. To support LMI’s research into healthcare data management, our team set up a Hadoop cluster, which is a group of servers designed to quickly analyze massive quantities of structured and unstructured data.

Building the Future of Healthcare Analytics

Ultimately, to meet the growth in precision medicine and the use of health data analytics, future EHR systems need to:

  • automatically generate comparisons of multiple genomes,
  • identify and match genetic variants based on known diseases,
  • ensure patient data privacy, and
  • integrate and search medical publications and scientific research for relevant patient data.

Preparation is key in order to predict, prevent, and treat disease as medicine evolves.


Dan DuBravec is a senior consultant at LMI, leading IT implementation projects. Mr. DuBravec holds multiple EHR certifications, as well as a BS in product design from Illinois State University and an MS in educational technology leadership from George Washington University.

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