Interview of the week: “Analytics in the healthcare industry is in infancy stage” says Tony Mira, Founder and Group CEO, Ajuba International

Since founding Anesthesia Business Consultants in 1979, which became one of the biggest physician management companies in the US, to MiraMed Global Services in 2005, Tony Mira has traversed various paths in the healthcare space. MiraMed is one of the largest healthcare BPOs in the United States, employing nearly 2,000 healthcare professionals worldwide, serving more than 700 hospitals and 6,000 providers while processing nearly $3 billion in payments annually.

His other feat in the industry includes being the President and CEO of PhyServ Solutions, a healthcare outsourcing services company and founding Ajuba International, LLC. a premier global provider of healthcare revenue cycle. The Indian subsidiary of Ajuba International, Ajuba Solutions, based out in Chennai, took a front foot in 2005.

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With a huge industry experience, Tony brings an unparalleled reservoir of industry knowledge, creative solutions and measurable results. AIM interacted with Tony Mira to know about his journey, how analytics is utilized in healthcare space, use of analytics in Ajuba Solutions and much more. Read the detailed interview here:

Analytics India Magazine: Tell us about your journey in the healthcare industry?

Tony Mira: My journey in the healthcare industry began with a demand: a demand for increased and improved services in an increasingly ageing population.  In 1979, my first healthcare business venture was then-named Anesthesia Billing Service (it is now Anesthesia Business Consultants), ABC.  ABC is a billing and practice management company providing services solely to anesthesia and pain management providers.  Since its inception, ABC has grown into one of the largest anesthesia billing companies in the United States.  From my experience with ABC, I went on and founded PhyServ Solutions—my first healthcare outsourcing company—and then Ajuba International—my healthcare revenue cycle management company. Ajuba’s international subsidiary, Ajuba Solutions, based in Chennai, arose out of those ventures.

In 2005, I founded MiraMed Global Services, which is the holding company of all of our subsidiaries.  As a family of companies, we draw from our expertise in processes, infrastructure, and technology, and we deliver complete, customizable end-to-end solutions devised to meet each client’s own unique financial and organizational needs.

What has made our company successful is anticipating the market’s needs and being true business partners with our clients.  Looking forward, I only see our industry growing and evolving.  With the increased demand for healthcare services combined with the desire to reduce costs, it is the innovative and attentive that will survive.  We plan to be on the forefront of such evolution.

AIM:  Would you like to share with us about Ajuba Solutions and how it is a game changer in the healthcare space?

TM: What makes Ajuba Solutions a game changer in healthcare is our real-time responsiveness to each other and our clients.  Through data gathering and analytics, we learned that what is most important to clients, above all else, is responsiveness.  We have built a global organization that can address clients’ needs around the clock.  In today’s day and age, clients cannot and will not wait until the end of the week or month for a response and outcomes.  They want immediate responses and results and we are the company to do that.

AIM:  According to you, how analytics plays a vital role in the Healthcare Industry?

TM: Analytics are the driving force in the healthcare industry.  Analytics drive healthcare delivery, outcomes, and legislation.  [quote]Analytics are a check on the industry; we now have eyes on every aspect of the system: right from when a patient makes an appointment for services through the final stages of recovery and payment.  Analytics tell us how we are doing and allow us to take corrective action promptly, when necessary.[/quote]

Analytics also make our compliance, operations, and client-relations departments stronger.  Every aspect of healthcare, and our business, is strengthened by our effective use of analytics.  Our clients utilize the data analysis we gather to negotiate contracts with hospitals and payors, improve patient experiences, improve their compliance functions, and minimize cost.

AIM:  What have been the key benefits of using analytics at Ajuba Solutions?

TM: In our company, data is extremely valuable and we believe that those who capture and analyze it are the ones who can anticipate where the market is going before it gets there.  [quote]One of our biggest assets in this endeavour is data analysis where we use it both in improving our processes, compliance, and quality and decreasing costs, while also anticipating and identifying risk within our, and our clients’, organizations and react to minimize that risk.[/quote]

Internally, we use data to better understand our employees and how to create a better, more enjoyable work environment for them.  We understand the impact of overtime and how to assist in achieving a better work-life balance. We believe happy employees are the secret ingredient a successful company and we have been fortunate to have this secret ingredient since the beginning.

AIM:  What is your road-map/plans for analytics at your company in the future?

TM: We believe analytics will drive our growth and credibility as a leader in this industry.  To compete in this marketplace, to grow, and to stay viable, every company needs data.  However, the key is not just having it; it is knowing what to look for, what to do with it, and using it effectively.  We believe we have the right people on our team who know how to use the data we compile and receive, and that is why we believe we will always be at the forefront of the healthcare industry.

AIM: How do you think ‘Analytics’ as an industry is evolving today? What are the significant challenges you see in adoption of analytics in the healthcare space?

TM: When we think of the healthcare industry and its current use of analytics, we see that we are very much in the infancy stage.  Healthcare is moving towards an even more increased capturing of data from pharmacogenetics and DNA testing to the daily capture of health data on each individual’s mobile device. This is creating a new paradigm in healthcare. This data gathering will allow us to know more about patients, so healthcare providers can adapt to delivering care. At our company, we are exploring, participating in, and developing these areas and more, including telemedicine.

Of course, the road ahead is not without its challenges.  I do see this immense influx of information could be overwhelming to organizations who do not know how to use it and use it correctly.  Data and analytics are a precious tool.  It you do not know how to use it, it will harm you more than help you.

Srishti Deoras
Srishti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.

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