Ellen Murphy: Balancing spending on capital projects with incoming revenue is no easy task for healthcare organizations that are facing mounting margin pressures. To better oversee budgets and spend strategically, many organizations are leveraging technology for their capital projects. I'm your host, Ellen Murphy, and today I'm speaking with Danielle Sullivan, manager of revenue analytics at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Today on the Workday Podcast, we're exploring how healthcare companies can use technology to better manage their capital projects. Welcome, Danielle. Thanks so much for joining us. So to jump right in, could you please just start off telling us a little bit more about Roswell Park and your role there?
Danielle Sullivan: Thanks for having me. My current role at Roswell Park is the manager of revenue analytics, but prior to that I was the finance transformation manager. And what that means is I was one of three primary finance leaders responsible for the implementation of Workday within the finance module and the areas underneath that. So that includes capital projects.
Murphy: Great. And then, also curious if you could take us on the Roswell Park journey and how you're using Workday to manage your capital projects. We're just curious about how you were handling that process before Workday.
Sullivan: We went live with Workday in January of 2021, so that included the capital projects module. Prior to Workday, we were using a legacy system. We had a lot of inefficient processes. We were heavily paper based.
We had manual sign offs on key documents, if you can believe it. We were printing a lot of paper, storing invoices in filing cabinets, things like that. And we had inconsistent processes across departments. So some departments were entering project numbers into our legacy system, and some were not, and those were being tracked manually in spreadsheets. Manual spreadsheets required manipulation, extended our close period, and required additional manual journal entries.
Murphy: That makes sense. When you were considering your options for digitizing your capital projects management, what were your main goals? I'm sure that getting off of the paper-based system, but anything else you can add on to that?
Sullivan: Yeah, absolutely. So we wanted consistency between departments while still meeting their individual requirements. And we wanted to, obviously, eliminate paper and build efficiencies into our close process, shorten our close period, and then also give that self service to our end users and provide the transaction transparency that allows them to review the data on their own on an ad hoc basis, so during the month they're not waiting for formal reports at month end.
Murphy: That makes sense. And can you tell us a bit more about the process for identifying the goals? Who were your main stakeholders, and how did you get those folks all together to agree on those goals?
Sullivan: Yeah, so collaboration was very important to us from the beginning. We wanted to make sure we had the right people in the room, essentially, to ensure we understood the needs of our key departments using or spending capital funding, so we met with what we call key stakeholders across the organization, so these are primary users within our departments that are most responsible for our capital spend. And we're working with them through the planning phase to understand the requirements. We're showing them initial configurations. We’re getting feedback, making changes.
Basically, making sure they're on the same page and involved in the implementation process so that when it comes time for go-live, they're happy with the end product, and the adoption level is much higher.
Murphy: OK. Great. And how did you decide that that was the best choice for you?
Sullivan: Yeah, so specific to capital projects, we selected Workday. In total we did a full suite big bang implementation of finance, supply chain, HR, and payroll. But when looking at capital projects specifically and our pain points in that area, we're kind of determining, “does Workday meet our needs to have the full process within one system, or should we explore other options outside of Workday?” And I think, obviously, we ultimately came to the conclusion that the Workday projects module was giving us what we were looking for, and allowed us to make the improvements and changes that we wanted to essentially implement to build those efficiencies.
Murphy: And having the connection with other departments, I'm sure, was really helpful too. So how has this new process affected the broader healthcare organization? What other benefits are you seeing there?
Sullivan: Our mission at Roswell is to eliminate cancer's grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope. Now, when you think about capital projects, you're kind of like, at first glance, "How does that align with the overall mission of the hospital?" But if you look a little closer, I think when we're managing our capital spending efficiently, we're able to review data timely, make better decisions. We're providing the infrastructure, the technology, the equipment that our medical staff needs to be able to keep their focus on our patients and provide the best possible care to those patients.
Murphy: Right. That makes sense. You don't want your clinicians having to worry about that. They just need to worry about patient care.
Murphy: Great. Do you have any advice for other healthcare organizations as they look towards moving their capital projects management to the Cloud as well?
Sullivan: Yes, I think the biggest piece of advice I would share is just that collaboration aspect, whether it be, as I mentioned, with your departments in the organization – involving them in the implementation – but also across work streams. So capital projects are extremely cross-functional, with touch points with supply chain, and in some cases HCM, if you're looking at time tracking and capital-labor tracking. And just involving those groups early and often so that you can be successful and you're not reworking too much along the way.
Murphy: And did you have any pushback from a particular group or any kind of challenges? I'm just curious, how did you get those folks to work together or any advice in that area too, how you got HCM, supply chain, finance, all those folks to work closely together.
Sullivan: I think we had some lessons along the way, specific to time tracking and tracking labor within the system. We probably involved our HCM team a little late, so they had configured the bulk of their time tracking module, and then we're throwing projects into the mix, so I think I would have involved them sooner. We worked through those challenges, and we came up with a solution that works for everyone.
Murphy: Great. Awesome. We've been talking about capital project management in healthcare with Danielle Sullivan from Roswell Park. Don't forget to follow us wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. I'm your host, Ellen Murphy, and I hope you have a great workday.