Lincoln-based National Research Corp. has been growing at an average rate, year on year, of 15 percent in the last 10 years of its 31 year-history ad, in addition to adding 80 employees in the past four years, it most recently underwent a four-part corporate rebrand, partly, as a means of reflecting the broader health care industry focus on addressing the needs of patients across the continuum of care by repackaging its data and analytical solutions to help its clients improve their performance.
"We started first with developing our updated mission: 'Empowering customer-centric healthcare across the continuum,'" said President and Chief Operating Officer Susan L. Henricks. "This mission statement reflects the fact that our services provide assistance, data, recommendations or comparisons or care-from the acute care hospital to the nursing home to the physician clinic to the hospice service.
"The National Research Corp. mission statement is an outward view to our clients, members, and the healthcare industry as a whole. It is also a guiding light for the associates of National Research in Lincoln, Seattle, Toronto and San Diego."
To its associates, National Research reports more than 80 percent of it's 380 employees, at around 310, are based out of its capital city headquarters at 1245 Q. St., which also represents an increase of 60 associates since November 2008.
Aside from its Lincoln associates, 35 employees are based in its Seattle facility, 20 in Toronto and another 15 in San Diego, with roughly a dozen employees working from remote offices scattered across the country.
While there may be more developers, for example, in a specific office, it was noted the bulk of new hires have been in the tech and business development realms.
When speaking to its clients, Founder and Chief Executive Officer Michael D. hays said they span the broad health care spectrum - with 9,500 client organizations that are characterized as "providers" ranging from hospitals and doctor's offices to long-term care and home health agencies in the U.S. and Canada - with much less work, at about 100 health insurance companies as clients, in the payer arena.
"There are three different ways that we grow business: First foremost, by providing more services to our current clients," Hays said, moving on to its business development process of bringing on new clients. "The third - and distant third - would be through acquisitions."
While Hays said there have been four or five acquisitions since he started the business in 1981m there was no such activity in 2012.
"About 50 percent of our growth is form increasing the size of relationships, and 50 percent of that growth is derived from work with new organizations," he said.
Specifically, the company netted 35 percent and 15.3 percent gains in net income and revenue during the third quarter over the same time period year prior.
"If you were to look over the last 10 years of our organization's history, you would see an average 15 percent revenue growth year over year," Hays said.
Henricks spoke more to its recent efforts to market and align its products with its clients and prospects, adding that, aside from revisiting its mission statement, the company refreshed its values.
"The values are absolutely consistent with the values of National research from the time Mike Hays founded the company 31 years ago," she said.
To that, according to Henricks, the values encompass a focus on its associates (vital to its viability), a positive, "can-do" approach, acting with integrity (while providing a top customer experience and remaining accountable to delivering quality offerings in the marketplace), with an emphasis on reinvesting in the organization and accomplishing more.
"These values represent the type of culture we are and the type of culture we are always trying to be," Henricks said. "The third stage of the rebranding encompassed updating our product names and the product categories to be more meaningful to our clients and future clients; for example, NRC Picker Physician has been rebranded to 'Physician Engagement'; MIV Program and Legacy have been rebranded 'Resident and Family Experience.'
"Our goal was to make it more clear to our clients and future clients where we offer solutions to help them in the business of healthcare. In addition, this step allowed us to take a hard look at which of our products, when put together, provide even better solutions for our clients and future clients."
To some of these aforementioned solutions, according to National Research, Physician Engagement entails conducting surveys as a means of providing "effective and independent assessment of the primary predictors of engagement" -¬ as highly-engaged doctors are tied to more positive patient experiences and clinical outcomes.
With regard to Resident and Family Experience, these surveys measure what matters most to residents of long-term care communities and their loved ones, as a means of gaining insight to address where to invest in improvements that will lead to positive outcomes.
Hays also alluded to another product, Illuminate, which has been packaged as "Patient Outreach Programs," encompassing four key components: communication system, nurse training and education, patient outreach, and reporting and process improvement.
The goal? "It helps hospitals manage their readmissions," Hays said. "This is a national initiative."
For example, its "Alert tracker" sends up a red flag when there are patients in need of extra discharge attention, alerting the health care facility/client to triage the patient; in turn, staff can resolve any clinical or service issues promptly.
This harkens back to broad efforts to reduce the costly and crippling impacts of a patient being frequently readmitted to the hospital or other health care facility.
"Historically, when someone would get sick and needed care, they would go to the hospital - but that's a very expensive place to receive care,' Hays said. "The industry has, over time, been pushing those patient out to the most appropriate care setting.'
For example, he alluded to patients being discharged to short-stay facilities, or those with regimented rehab programming, in addition to the option of home health aides - care within a structure that diminishes the likelihood of the patient returning to the hospital quickly.
To home care, Henricks addressed its "Home Care Elite" offering - an annual compilation of data National Research undertakes in partnership with healthcare news and analysis organization Decision Health.
The partnership, according to Henricks, results in a list of the top home health providers in the U.S.
As the final of its four-pronged rebranding efforts, Henricks also alluded to updating its website - as a means of making "it even easier to understand what we do and for which part of the continuum of care," she said.
Hays said such efforts represented one of the first efforts of the year, but were predominantly completed before August or September of the year.
And Henricks indicated the business has substantial momentum going into the New Year.
"National Research has a long history of meeting its financial goals," she said. "During 2012, all of the growth was organic, which is very positive."