Administrative Team Members' Important Role in Improving Care Delivery

Abby Miller, MPH
Executive Director of Business Management and Care Delivery Analytics

Not everyone who works at Colorado Permanente Medical Group is a physician. In fact, CPMG also employs more than 150 administrative team members (ATMs). And just as physicians have specialties, our administrative team members specialize in everything from finance and human resources to communications and medical informatics.

One of our valued ATMs is Abby Miller, Executive Director of Business Management and Care Delivery Analytics. Miller initially joined CPMG as a business and project manager. As a business manager, she partnered with physician leaders to drive execution of organizational priorities and initiatives.

“CPMG believes in empowering physicians to do what they do best – to care for patients and practice medicine. We don’t want them to spend their time mired in administrative duties. This is in sharp contrast to physicians who work in private practice and must also manage their business. It’s one of the reasons we consistently hear that our physicians prefer the Kaiser Permanente integrated system to private practice,” says Miller.

Miller leads the CPMG Business Management and Care Delivery Analytics group, which consists of business professionals, expert analysts and project managers who are dedicated to transforming health care delivery.

Business managers offer a different skillset than medically trained physicians and manage important operational and administrative duties that would otherwise fall on the shoulders of physician department chiefs. Their business acumen and analytical thinking add value, and they serve as advocates for their departments’ needs while balancing the implementation of organization-wide goals.

“I think CPMG’s Business Management team is well respected because they are able to build productive relationships with diverse stakeholders,” says Miller. “They work effectively as a team amongst themselves, as well as with physician leaders, front-line physicians and our Kaiser Foundation Health Plan partners.”

The majority of business managers have earned a Master of Business Administration or other master’s degree to provide them with the financial expertise, analytical skills and operational understanding they need to do their jobs well.

Equally important, however, is their ability to address ambiguity, navigate challenging conversations and approach their role with humility.

“They handle numerous requests and logistics for several stakeholders, and it never ceases to impress me how they manage to prioritize and execute so successfully. Ultimately, they’re making a positive impact on care delivery to our members. I think that’s probably the most rewarding part of being a business manager,” adds Miller.

Business managers rely heavily on data and support provided by the Care Delivery Analytics team.  

“Our electronic medical record system allows us to collect, analyze and use data to optimize care delivery to our members. Our analysts track value metrics to ensure we are providing members the best service possible, and to inform us where we’re coming up short. Business managers use this information to help physician leaders make operational decisions. For example, if we see a trend that a certain specialty is struggling to provide an appointment time to members within a reasonable timeframe, we can build a business case to bring in additional resources.”   

The analysts within the Care Delivery Analytics team are highly trained in data analytics tools and logic such as SAS, SQL, Cognos and Excel. Most individuals have advanced training and experience in one or more analytic platforms. These tools and the expertise behind them allow the team to manage large amounts of information and turn raw data into actionable insights.

The analysts are also skilled in the art of translating business requirements into technical requirements. This enables them to accurately and efficiently understand the customer’s wants and needs and pivot that into a tailored analytics package. 

“The Care Delivery Analytics team uses data to have a direct impact on clinical operations, which is why their roles are so valuable,” says Miller. “They’re skilled at telling the right story at the right time using analytics and so they serve as a critical resource in the decision-making process.” 

Other focuses include emerging technologies and collaboration. The Care Delivery Analytics team is always exploring new reporting capabilities such as Tableau, big data platforms and predictive modeling. Strong collaboration with the broader analytic community of both CPMG and our Kaiser Foundation Health Plan partners is necessary to maintain alignment of goals and initiatives.

It is this culture of collaboration that motivates leaders to grow their careers at CPMG. To learn more about Abby Miller’s personal and professional growth at CPMG, read part two of her story.

To learn more about working for CPMG, click here