Valer Voices: How OHSU is Setting Industry Benchmarks in Prior Authorizations

When Great Isn’t Good Enough; Valer creates customized approaches for OHSU

Valer Voices: How OHSU is Setting Industry Benchmarks in Prior Authorizations

Spend any time around Ryanne Laurence or Joe Whipple from Oregon Health & Sciences University’s (OHSU) patient access team, and you’ll quickly sense that these two are passionate, talented individuals who are creating the curve in the industry.

It’s been two years since OHSU implemented Valer, and we got a chance to sit down and talk through their discovery process, the optimization they’ve experienced, and what’s next. OHSU was already at the front of the pack when it came to streamlined processes, well-trained teams, and high levels of output. But they weren’t immune to the staffing challenges that so many have faced, nor were they complacent, as Ryanne puts it, “Patients aren’t going to stop coming, insurances aren’t going to stop making new policies…how do we, as the employer, as the manager, as the innovative IT world…how do we make it easier for the end user?”

They wanted more automation, more visibility, and even further reductions in manual errors. When Ryanne first came on board with OHSU, she was tasked with finding a software solution to optimize their prior authorization workflows. “What it came down to was who was willing to really collaborate with us…I wanted someone who would hear our pain points and be able to work with us to find some type of solution,” says Ryanne.

Creating customized approaches for their clients is one of the hallmark traits of Valer.  “We’ve been able to work with the Valer team to build it to the specifications of what our team sees and feels is appropriate,” Ryanne further explains.

After two years into their journey with Valer, they have some impressive stats to share. When it comes to lead times, they were sitting at a respectable 4-5 days. That quickly jumped to 7 days and yet, when they most recently pulled their numbers, they saw an unprecedented average lead time of 13 days. This increase in lead time is building the margin that benefits the patient access teams, the providers, and most importantly, the patients.

How did they achieve these lead times? Through increased productivity.

“I’ll speak specifically to our diagnostic specialty. In reviewing their productivity, we have a standard of 45 authorizations a day that we expect our team to touch and work through, and when we recently pulled our numbers, we saw that our average was actually 54 a an increase of 9 per day.” Ryanne says.

She also went on to explain that they saw an 11% increase in diagnostic orders which they were able to accommodate without a staff increase. “There are very much tangible results, but there are also results that we’re seeing that we can’t pull a report and show you, but we feel it,” Joe shares about how Valer has improved staff morale.  “Using the Valer tool has given [our employees] more transparency in their own work. They go in and can specifically see the authorizations they’ve submitted and see the outcome,” Joe says. “We all want to know that we are being successful.”

Ryanne agrees and says, “When you talk about empowering employees, you can empower these folks who are already wonderful, great employees working as hard as they can, but it just shows you when you give them a tool that can make their work streamlined or more efficient, it’s going to benefit you and benefit your patients.” Joe and Ryanne also feel that Valer and OHSU ultimately have aligned goals.

“As a company, Valer is very much in the exact same mindset as we are, that patients come first,” Joe says. This points back to the genesis of Valer, co-founded by a pediatric surgeon fed up with the barriers in prior authorization and committed to finding real-world solutions. This alignment in goals creates a partnership atmosphere. “There is no better word for it; it’s a partnership instead of a vendor relationship. It’s very much, ‘we’re in this together, let’s get it right together,’” says Joe. Steve Kim, Valer’s CEO agrees, “We very much see it the same way.

It’s the only way to get work done.” What does the future hold? Is touchless authorization on the horizon? Watch the full interview with OHSU to see where Valer is headed.