As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year. Wow, what a year it has been! From a geographical standpoint, the Azara team has visited DRVS users, prospects and partners across 36 states. Our team is not just traversing the US; we are fully engaged and working with clients in 24 of those states plus the District of Columbia and have Azara team members permanently located in four of them.
Needless to say, 2017 was extremely exciting for us. Our team grew significantly and our client base blossomed to more than 225 health centers spread across nearly 4,000 sites. DRVS has played a role in a variety of national, state and local programs as well as in the dozens of grants that our customers regularly win. Of all these accomplishments, I most enjoy watching our clients deliver the meaningful (and quantifiable) results that improve care and lower costs across a wide range of domains.
Key 2017 Highlights
User Conference: In early January, 150 brave souls traveled from as far (and warm) as Hawaii to join us at the first Annual Azara DRVS User Conference here in Boston. It was nice to finally put faces to names and voices and watch our staff interact with clients after years of phone and email exchanges. I also enjoyed watching our clients meet and learn from each other. I was overwhelmed and humbled by the enthusiasm and passion of our clients. We are planning for 300 people to join us April 30th thru May 2 next year and while I can’t guarantee the weather, there is a good chance it will be warmer than January. Learn more about the 2018 conference here.
Product Offering: This year we significantly increased the capabilities within DRVS and at the same time polished some of the rough edges. With many of our clients preparing to enter into Value-Based Contracts, the integration of Payer data was front and center and we rolled out new and additional reports for tracking Enrollment & Attribution, Total Medical Expense, as well as enabling better reconciliation of Care Gaps between Clinical and Claims data. We successfully connected to four Health Information Exchanges from whom we are now receiving Hospital Admit/Discharge/Transfer information for patients of our FQHC clients. In late summer, we introduced the Care Management Passport, which provides a longitudinal patient view for users of the system. We upgraded our Referrals Reporting, added new Social Determinants of Health (PRAPARE), and introduced reporting relating to Controlled Substances in an effort to give you better tools to combat the Opioid epidemic. Lastly, we vastly expanded the self-service ability for our client to create custom Dashboards, Scorecards, and Registries and have enabled our DRVS admins to make some mapping updates and changes without requiring Azara support staff.
Growth: Azara increased both its client base and its revenue by over 40%, solidifying and strengthening our balance sheet while assuring we can continue to invest in ongoing innovations.
Staff Expansion: In 2017, we added nine people to our staff, enhancing our capabilities and capacity in all areas of our business.
Expanded office space: To accommodate the staff growth, Azara again expanded its current facilities in February nearly doubling our available office space.
Grant & Program Involvement: This year, we worked closely with our clients to help them meet the requirements and goals of a variety of grants and programs, including HRSA HCCN funding, CDC Million Hearts, AHRQ Healthy Hearts, CMS’ Practice Transformation Network, and CDC efforts to prevent breast, cervical and colorectal cancers.
Reflections on CHC’s
While I can appreciatively speak of Azara’s tremendous progress in 2017, I am also cognizant of the difficult climate in which our clients are currently operating. We stand with you in support of Congress providing a long-term solution for funding Federally Qualified Health Centers and renewing support for CHIP. We remain committed to providing you the solutions you need to quantify your success as legislative and market pressures stand poised to drastically change the way you are required to care for your patients and how you will get paid for these services.
As we wind up 2017, I want to close with a just a few important thoughts:
First, on the business side, while I feel this year was successful on many fronts, I am even more energized for 2018. The breadth and depth of opportunities that we are looking to tackle with our clients and partners next year is enormous. You should look forward to Azara helping you solve new problems and introducing innovative solutions and functionality that can assist you in accomplishing your mission. I look forward to sharing them as they become available.
Next, I expect the heightened awareness around the importance of high-quality data and information in healthcare settings to continue its acceleration. I urge you to look at your data early and often and to find ways to integrate data into your day-to-day operations and delivery of care. A high-performing care team can’t operate to the best of its abilities without good data.
Lastly, on behalf of all of us at Azara, I want to thank you – our clients and partners – for your unwavering support of Azara this past year. We are honored to be able to serve you and your teams as you work tirelessly to assure that no patient – no matter the circumstances – goes without the healthcare services they need. Hopefully, Azara’s assistance in some way helps you better accomplish your mission.
We offer our best wishes for a happy holiday season and a healthy and plentiful new year.
Jeff Brandes is President and CEO of Azara Healthcare