HFM - From the Chair - March 2019

The Value of Financial Analytics


Kevin F. Brennan



When it comes to imagining a better tomorrow in our industry, financial analytics are essential. They can move us from where we are to where we need to be.

Analytics don’t simply help us better understand current and past performance. They also can predict future performance. In short, financial analytics can lead us toward smarter decisions.

Over the course of my career as a health system CFO—including my time at Geisinger in Danville, Pa.—my teams and I regularly turned to the insights provided by data analysis to address challenges and improve performance. One such situation was in conducting sophisticated balance sheet analytics, incorporating historic and forecasted information, while testing the impacts of a variety of scenarios and stress tests. This effort helped Geisinger preserve balance sheet strengths by minimizing risks and investing appropriately. It also helped maintain a AA bond rating for more than 20 years.

HFMA understands the value of analytics for today’s healthcare finance professional. In response, the Association launched the Financial Analytics Leadership Council this past summer in partnership with Kaufman Hall. Composed of the heads of decision support, chief analytics officers, and operational finance executives, the Council meets at least quarterly to address its charge: to drive change in the healthcare industry’s approach to financial decision support. To learn more about the Council, check out the article on page 24 of this issue of hfm.

As the Council works to lead change in this area, HFMA also will provide educational programs and resources for finance professionals looking to harness and use data today. The 2019 Revenue Cycle Conference occurring this month will tackle the topic. Speakers will address how to leverage predictive analytics to anticipate issues negatively impacting the revenue cycle and how to tap into the power of data to make community health efforts more effective.

Then, in June, at the 2019 HFMA Annual Conference in Orlando, attendees will have the opportunity to spend an entire day in a cohort focused on business intelligence, data management, and return on analytics. Stand-alone sessions also will address similar topics.

HFMA also offers on-demand webinars for healthcare finance professionals looking to up their data analytics game without leaving the office. Check out current offerings, including “How Analytics Is Transforming Healthcare Financial Management,” at www.hfma.org.

There’s no doubt that analytics are increasingly important in managing financial performance today. They’re also key to imagining how things could be better tomorrow. HFMA can help you meet the challenge on both fronts.