ASPE Training Allscripts Dental Case Study

Allscripts BA Academy: Daily Business Analysis

Ken Burney is a Senior Business Analyst for Allscripts' EHR Solutions product line. He spoke with us about the value of the ASPE training program as someone who has to deliver functional, marketable software on a regular basis.

Ken has been with Allscripts for 6 years as a business analyst, and was recently promoted to Senior BA after attending the Allscrips “BA Academy delivered by ASPE. He performs business analysis for Allscripts’ Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) product line – specifically systems dealing with immunization registries, patient portals, and Syndromic Surveillance (SS). The major focus of their current release is on meaningful use, compliance, and ensuring value and compliance for the customers of Allscripts. Rapidly changing government regulations and technology shifts have given rise to a host of challenges for their clients. Allscripts has to make sure these challenges are addressed in their products. If not, unsatisfied clients are just the beginning: clients may inadvertently break the law, or be ineligible for payment by the government for their work. It’s a significant area of need for their customers, and Ken is on the front line of providing solutions.

The BA’s job at Allscripts: building healthcare solutions

He spends a lot of time researching government regulations and requirements around healthcare. He spends time with clients, hearing about their ideas and needs, and figuring out what is necessary, what’s necessary to meet government requirements, and what are meaningful use features.

Ken gave a few specific examples of skills he learned during the classes that he uses on a daily basis: he has gotten much better at user stories since training with ASPE. There were a lot of things that seemed simple on the surface, but they really do make a big difference to the end result in terms of clarifying requirements and expectations. The training also taught him techniques to ask better questions. He keeps a quick reference guide at his desk to keep him from slipping back into less effective methods of requirements elicitation, and every time he begins to write, he makes sure his questions meet the standards taught in class. This improvement has allowed a deeper dive into client needs, brought more clarity to what clients REALLY need by focusing on finding the root issues during the client conversation. No matter how eloquently customers frame their answers, ferreting out the real needs can be a challenge. Therefore, on a daily basis, Ken’s most valuable takeaways from ASPE training were the questioning techniques. Different ways to ask questions and consistent writing techniques when formulating questions are examples of skills Ken now uses every day.

The BA as communicator

A lot of the BA’s job revolves around communication. We asked Ken to provide specific examples of communication challenges the Allscripts teams faced when working with technical teams. He explained that the BA is a liaison between the business customers and the technical resources behind the product (developers, testers, offshore resources etc.) They often faced situations in which terminology or industry jargon meant one thing to the customer, but something else entirely to the technical team. So even in cases when the same language was being used, expectations were not met because perceived meanings of the language were different.  There were many examples of situations in which the development team spent time building products that fit their understanding of requirements as defined, but the customer was expecting something completely different. Learning correct BA questioning techniques, consistent language and processes, and tools for identifying the real needs behind the language of others have been valuable aids in his job.

Ken had taken some business training in the past, but the key difference was that his company sent him to public classes where he received instruction with a lot of strangers.  Having the training brought to Allscripts, delivered to all their own teams, lent an “institutional equity” to the experience that has been very valuable.  

Although Ken is a practicing BA on an Allscripts team and mostly uses daily techniques he learned in class, he also has something to say about BA training from the company’s leadership perspective. “If your BAs are very efficient, you’re going to spend a lot less time and money developing your product. You’ll develop it more efficiently, more accurately, and sometimes as a more useful product. And, you can get it to market fairly quickly. I would think that this training would improve the quality of work, speed to market, and hopefully more market share and ultimately more money.”

The training experience

Ken has not yet pursued a BA certification, but he’s beginning to consider it. Besides the confidence and career benefit of holding a credential, he discussed the fact that certification for the BA is sometimes of greatest value to the leadership, because managers and leaders higher in the company may not understand the granular work performed by BA teams below them, but if those teams hold industry-standard credentials it provides assurance and confidence in the capabilities of their staff.

Ken enjoyed the training he took with ASPE. He had three different instructors throughout the program. He told us the experience was engaging, and the instructors always seemed to have a lot of real-world experience on the topics they addressed. He was one of the first BAs to take the classes, and immediately after he took the training, he felt the experience would be valuable both for other BAs at Allscripts, as well as for the organization as a whole. The prospect of a thoroughly trained staff of BAs seemed obvious – whether soliciting requirements, improving communication, or simply getting on the same page with terminology and BA techniques within the company. 

As other BA teams in the company continued to get trained, Ken was preparing for his upcoming software release. Two weeks after we interviewed Ken, his teams were going into code freeze and preparing to finalize the project. There were a lot of new features included, and a lot of complexity to manage. Fortunately, Ken and his colleagues were…and are…well-equipped to bring the final product to market.

Click a section to explore the Allscripts Business Analysis Training Program:

  • Read an Executive Summary
    Get a high-level snapshot of the challenges Allscripts faced with their business analysis practices and how enterprise training helped overcome them.

  • Debbie: Senior Manager
    Debbie is a senior manager responsible for user experience on the HomeCare product line at Allscripts. She manages a team of business analysts who work together on product development.

  • Donna: Clinical Analyst
    Donna is a healthcare practitioner who lends clinical expertise to BA activities. She was new to the profession of Business Analysis until participating in the BA Academy.

  • Jose: Expert Business Analyst
    Jose is a cross-functional BA expert who profiles finance-oriented end users. Previously he worked in the Ukraine as a business analyst for Allscripts' development teams.

This case study is a deep dive into the business analysis training solution ASPE built for Allscripts, which they refer to as the “BA Academy”. Our software and business analysis experts helped them perform organizational process assessments. We also delivered many granular personal assessments for their teams. Once process gaps and skills gaps were pinpointed, a training program was built and delivered that left them with fully functioning business analysis teams. Key departments and leaders also earned industry-standard certifications that guaranteed the most current, up to date skills in this important and constantly evolving software development role.