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    Andy Stonehouse, MA

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    With rising inflation, recruitment challenges and declining reimbursements, it’s become absolutely necessary to optimize the operations of your medical organization. Karl E. Sundberg, FACHE, CMPE, CEO of Catalyst Medical Group, offers some strategies on using real-time practice data to help create more engaged culture through constant improvement and performance monitoring. Sundberg will be appearing at MGMA’s Medical Practice Excellence: Leaders Conference in Boston, held Oct. 9-12, where he will be co-hosting a session on “Creating a Data-Driven, High-Performance Culture.” MGMA recently spoke with Sundberg to get a preview of his session.

    Editor’s note: The following Q&A has been edited for length and clarity. 

    Q: What is the one takeaway you really want to provide attendees with?

    A: My real hope is that they can walk away with a realistic understanding of how to drive the transformation of their cultures into being more data-driven, [and] alignment-accountable. An innovative culture really promotes unlocking the engagement potential of all their staff. I’m a true believer that without really measuring your success and measuring your performance, it’s hard to do that. I’ll share some examples during the presentation where we actually leveraged data to drive improvements. And it spans everywhere from patient engagement to provider and staff engagement, just things as simple as driving down no-shows and trying different approaches with no-show management … leveraging data as the output of how are we actually trending at making this improvement. 
    Q: You’ve worked on optimizing healthcare operations at both hospitals and medical groups. Have you found any common themes, where these organizations need improvement?

    A: I’ve been in healthcare for almost 25 years, some of that in the military. And even there, we’ve been behind most industries in terms of our ability to leverage technology and data to drive performance … and making data very, very transparent across the entire organization, and setting goals that are truly objective for leaders and staff. It’s been a little bit eye-opening, as much as we talk about leadership development an engagement in healthcare and engaging our workforce. How are we measuring whether or not we’re actually having the impact we want, and how do our team members know about what needs to be fixed?
    Q: When you’re at an organization, how are you leveraging data? What are the KPIs you’re examining?

    A: I’m not an IT expert, although I’ve been accused of being kind of a geek. I love geeking out on the fact that we’re seeing so many of these cloud-based [solutions] make accessing data through web APIs, and being able to share it through different tools … we’re getting to a point where there is enough inter-operability between the systems now. The data is there. We’ve just got to be willing to maybe go spend a little bit of money that we haven’t in the past, and maybe go and spend some time really focusing on developing. What are the things we want to be looking at I constantly want to be looking at volumes and utilization data? So, bill rates, no-shows, kept appointments, daily scheduling demand, calls and scheduling expenses on a per-FTE and net medical revenue percent. And looking at each of those as a benchmark.
    Karl E. Sundberg, CEO of Catalyst Medical Group, is a featured speaker at MGMA’s Medical Practice Excellence: Leaders Conference in Boston, held Oct. 9-12. 


    Let us know if there's a topic you want us to cover or an expert you would like us to interview. Email us at

    The MGMA Insights podcasts are produced by Daniel Williams, Rob Ketcham and Decklan McGee. 


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    Written By

    Andy Stonehouse, MA

    Andy Stonehouse, MA, is a Colorado-based freelance writer and educator. His professional credits include serving as editor of Employee Benefit News and a variety of financial and insurance publications, in addition to work in the recreation and transportation fields.  

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