Profile: Advisory Board Co (ABCO.O)
17 Apr 2014
The Advisory Board Company, incorporated on August 9, 2001, provides best practices research and analysis, software tools, and management and advisory services to the health care and education industries. The Company offers programs rooted in best practices in three key areas: best practices research, software tools and management and advisory services. Its management and advisory services programs assist member institutions’ efforts to adopt and implement practices to improve their own performance. The Company’s membership-based model, in which members participate in its research and analysis on an annual basis, is central to its strategy. This model gives it privileged access to its members’ business practices and strategic plans and enables it to provide detailed best practices analyses on current industry issues. In addition, through its executive member relationships it align its research agendas of its existing programs to address its members’ problems, and also develop and offer new programs and services to meet its members’ needs. The programs offer a standardized set of services, allowing it to spread its fixed program cost structure across its membership base of participating organizations.
As of March 31, 2013, the Company offered 57 distinct membership programs across three models best practices research, which is focused on identifying best-demonstrated management practices, critiquing widely-followed but ineffective practices, and analyzing emerging trends; software tools, which allow members to pair their own operational data with the best practices insights from its research, and management and advisory services, which provides strategic and operational support to member institutions in order to achieve clinical quality and financial performance goals, as well as, assisting member institutions’ efforts to adopt and implement best practices. Its programs include best practices research studies, executive education, content databases and online tools, daily online executive briefings, original executive inquiry service, business intelligence and software tools, and management and advisory services.
Best Practices Research Programs
Each of the Company’s best practices research programs is targeted at a specific member executive and addresses for each year the member’s specific strategic challenges, operational issues, and management concerns. Each program includes access to studies, executive education, databases and online services, and executive briefings. Each best practices research program typically publishes two to four best practices research studies or modules annually. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013 (fiscal 2013), it published a total of approximately 70 best practices research studies. It designs each study and module to present the conclusions and supporting best practices in a graphical format, enabling the intended audience to quickly assimilate the 100 to 250 pages of research content.
In addition to the Company’s research studies, it delivers an executive education curriculum based on its research to member institutions nationwide through four channels: general membership meetings, presentations conducted on-site at member organizations, on-call access to experts and frequent teleconferences. In all four settings, it uses interactive discussions to provide a deeper understanding and facilitate practical application of the best practices it has identified. During fiscal 2012, it delivered education services to approximately 2,400 member organizations, reaching more than 43,000 executive and managerial participants through more than 250 member meetings, over 2,300 on-site seminars, and over 200 Web conferences.
The Company offers a range of databases, Web-based content, and online tools and calculators to increase the utility of its content, analyze an organization’s performance, and assist the adoption of best practices at member institutions. Each research program maintains a section on its password-protected member Website, including such items as best practices, executive modules, online data, audit toolkits, and market forecasting instruments accessible only to members of the program. Through the Website, members of each program may search and access the electronic library of research studies, review executive education modules, view meeting schedules, and communicate with its staff and other members. Its editorial teams review the nation’s health care news drawn from over 100 sources, including daily newspapers, news wires, magazines, clinical journals, social media, and city business journals, and summarize relevant industry business and clinical news in a daily news digest, which is posted to its Website and sent via e-mail.
Software Tool Programs
Each of the Company’s software tool programs are anchored by Web-based business intelligence and software tools, which are updated with member-specific data. The program’s members have continual access to these tools through the Internet. The tools provide access to specific performance improvement metrics at its member institutions, pulling data from disparate legacy information systems through standardized data extracts and, with analytics and metrics informed by its practices research, transforming hard-to-access legacy data into performance reports and benchmarks offering actionable insight for managers and executives. Members in these programs receive best practices from its research and from peer organizations through member meetings, teleconferences, and benchmarking, and, in addition, engage in regular interaction with members of its staff who are tasked with helping its members analyze their data and with suggesting tactics for improving performance.
The software programs are renewable and address perennial problems in areas in which the Company has developed knowledge through its research programs. These include, among other areas, revenue cycle efficiency, assistance with physician management, supply and other cost optimization, throughput in the emergency department and surgical suites, utilization management, workforce management and optimization, and quality of outcomes. In addition to online dashboards, the tools are built to be flexible and easy to use, offering members ad hoc querying, performance alerts, drill-down analysis, and comparative benchmarking.
Management and Advisory Programs
The Company provides members with support in managing certain processes and installing the best practices profiled in its research studies within their own organizations. In these programs it offers members a standardized package of management tools and on-site curriculum derived from content, data, and documents gathered through working with other members. It has two types of management and advisory programs. The first is an advisory service, in which it provides a standardized package of management tools supplemented by on-site sessions to educate executives and line managers in their use. The programs are designed to help members organize, structure, and manage an internal project team and to develop the action plans for installing those best practices. The second is a management service where it provides a leadership team with tactics and operating metrics to manage a portion of a member’s operations on an interim or long-term basis. In these programs it places a seasoned group of senior level executives on-site for an extended period of time to provide hands-on, practical expertise and to deliver long term value, optimizing the financial and operational performance of its members.
The Company competes with Accenture Ltd., Accretive Health, Inc., Aetna, Inc., Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc., athenahealth, Inc., Cerner Corporation, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Emdeon Inc., Epic Systems Corporation, Huron Consulting, Inc., OptumHealth, McKesson Corporation, McKinsey & Company, MedAssets, Inc., Navigant Consulting, Passport Health Communications, Inc., Premier, Inc., and Thomson Reuters Corporation.
Advisory Board Co
2445 M St, NW
WASHINGTON DC 20037