The Key to Aligning Missions at Academic Medical Centers

edited January 2023 in Blog

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Disjointed manual spreadsheets are common pain points expressed by our higher ed clients. You may be able to consolidate all academic departments using the same templates on separate tabs, but what if you have a completely separate operating unit with an entirely different model? Or perhaps you have a legacy system in place that can’t handle the complexities of various planning methodologies used by different groups and requires heavy reliance on IT to make any sort of adjustments.

This is exactly what Anaplan resolvesit provides a single platform to support comprehensive planning across all enterprises. It is a unique platform that provides the flexibility to accommodate multiple use cases, and better yet, continues to grow and evolve by model builders within the functional group. In higher education, Connected Planning plays a vital role in aligning its academic and health care units – academic medical centers.


Based on truED Consulting’s experience partnering with academic medical centers, there are three complexities that academic medical centers face and Anaplan helps address through its platform capabilities: (1) data integration and staging, (2) unique modeling requirements, and (3) consolidation.

Data Integration and Staging

How do we manage hierarchies and data from multiple systems that feed both models? The Data Hub. It is the “source of truth” for all of the hierarchies and data that is used in the spoke models. In addition to financial and HR ERP systems, such as PeopleSoft, Banner, or Workday, academic medical centers require integration with hospital record systems such as EPIC and Cerner. The Data Hub allows model administrators to manage metadata more effectively and validate data before being pushed to its spoke models.


 Unique Modeling Requirements

Academic units and hospital units have inherently different funding models. For academic units, traditional revenue streams include tuition revenue, grants, and auxiliary income. For hospitals, key revenue sources are patient care revenue. These revenue streams will involve varying levels of detail. Tuition modeling requires student enrollment data, whereas patient care revenue modeling incorporates volume drivers such as inpatient/outpatient visits, number of discharges, patient days, and RVUs.


Compensation is the largest expense for all, but again, have different planning needs. With payroll data sourced from HR systems, units may follow similar planning frameworks that include the ability to plan by employee/position, fund with multiple sources, apply merit assumptions, and add new placeholder positions. However, additional use cases that are unique to academic and hospital units include planning for adjuncts, nurses, and beds.

Despite these differences, there are some areas that have dependencies. For example, inter-company transfers between the two units can be modeled seamlessly using Anaplan’s native model-to model integration. This allows data to be pushed between models without any lag or manual intervention.

Anaplan’s Connected Planning capabilities enables academic medical centers to incorporate consistent and continuous planning that extends beyond the finance domain into other areas of medical center-wide planning and analysis.  This has recently been identified by Gartner as an emerging trend with Anaplan at the forefront of pioneering extended planning and analysis (xP&A).


How do these complex models co-exist? In Anaplan, there can be multiple workspaces set up for different groups. Within a workspace, there can be multiple models. This means that units across institutions can have their own “environment” to work in without affecting others. For example, hospital units can create various what if scenarios and strategic initiatives such as a new emergency center, that would only be visible to their users.

Typically another workspace is created for consolidation. This is where academic and hospital data is pushed or “submitted” to the consolidation model when finalized. Consolidation models include reports that combine the various missions across academic medical centers including patient care, research, teaching, and other. There are also re-mapping activities to cross walk between hospital and academic financial reports so that comprehensive GAAP financial statements can be produced. With this holistic view, the central budget office is able to layer on strategic initiatives to see impacts to the entire institution. For example, at the University of Rochester, being able to integrate their academic and medical center plans was a huge win and they are now looking to expand their user base by rolling out their centrally managed model at the department level.

Institutions’ modeling needs are always changing, and Anaplan’s robust, scalable, and flexible platform supports the unique modeling requirements of different groups within an academic medical center, while maintaining consistency of hierarchies and data with the Data Hub and providing the central budget office and upper-level management a comprehensive view of the institution.



  • @sophiepae Great post and terrific insight into the Higher Ed use cases. And, thank you for bringing up the data hub experience. I find that a well designed data integration layer makes all the difference in long term usability for all the spoke applications. Just curious though, you mention the master data is "pushed" to the spoke applications. Do you recommend the team responsible for the data hub sets up the integration with spoke applications, meaning the data hub team writes the import actions in the spoke application? Or, should each owner of the spoke application ask for what they need (assuming a saved view) and allow them to build the integration themselves? I found that once you get to 2 or 3 spoke applications it's nearly impossible for the data hub team to keep track of what the needs are. Seems better to just let the spoke app owners be responsible. What is your experience like?

  • It is fantastic that hub and such new experiences are introduced to academic medical centers. I am not a student at the medical university, but my sister is just in her first year. Anyway, she expects these aligning missions. Last week, she used the help of the free-papers service for an essay about anorexia-nervosa. And the website  writing included such data about this project, too. The sick were recovering faster under the supervision of students who used unique modeling requirements and data integration and stanging.