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EXL Acquires Blue Slate Solutions to Enhance Business Process Analytics in the Healthcare Payer Sector

EXL recently announced the acquisition of Albany, NY-based Blue Slate Solutions. Blue Slate, founded in 2000 by CEO Rick Barnett, has from its inception focused on data driven business consulting and services. Today, with a staff of 35, it focuses on developing simplified data models and business processes for health insurers (~85% of its business, including large insurers and Medicare contractors), although its list of ~20 clients covers other areas as well, such as the finance and media sectors.

Blue Slate’s “Data Unleased” value proposition is based on the benefits of leveraging enterprise data that may be locked in disparate applications and databases across an organization.

In the healthcare payer space, trouble often arises when information needs to be aggregated and synthesized from different databases to assemble reports on claims and reimbursement trends, etc. Many databases have been developed for insurance firms with the intent of protecting sensitive data related to beneficiaries and healthcare provider care while analyzing outcomes and trends.  Enabling reasonable data protection is of course necessary, but this frequently impedes the informational exchanges that can enable improvements in patient care.  Furthermore, data warehouses that enable informational exchange are not valuable until the warehouse has been populated with report outputs properly defined and mapped.

Blue Slate’s approach focuses on building databases that address frequent business needs first, and the reports and informational outputs that serve those needs. Warehouses are then built around the prioritized set of business needs, delivering utility from inception and with iterative testing embedded in the development process. Blue Slate also has experience in healthcare provider sales and service, as well as strategic planning around the informational services that its databases deliver.

So what does this acquisition mean for EXL?  EXL gains a specialist onshore staff that has domain experience of analytics in the U.S. health insurance sector and will be able to leverage Blue Slate’s consulting experience, contacts and skillsets. In particular, Blue Slate has established relationships with nearly a dozen Blue Cross & Blue Shield organizations. The addition of Blue Slate enhances EXL's corporate positioning on its deep analytics capabilities.

Over the next few months, EXL will be scoping the demand from its clients that can be serviced by Blue Slate’s capabilities. This may be followed by a measured expansion of Blue Slate business from EXL’s resource base.  Expect also to see Blue Slate develop additional business outside of healthcare, supported by EXL.

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