Justify Before you Buy: Automated Capture for Clinical Data - Part 4

You finally found the perfect solution to the problem of getting data out of documents and into your EMR or other system. It’s a system that automates this data entry and the workflows surrounding the entire document handling and quality assurance processes. So, now it’s time to go ask for permission (budget) to purchase this solution. 

 In the first three blog posts in this series, we began by detailing the most basic areas of justification that need to be laid out and moved on to consider the more strategic implications of the improvements this type of solution offers. This last blog will dig deeper into areas of great importance for both your department and the entire organization. By including appropriate items from these sections, you express the true value of the solution and its implication on important strategic areas such as risk avoidance, data quality, meeting reporting requirements and providing a more complete patient health record:

Risk avoidance

  • Patient safety – you can mention or even calculate the reduced incorrect clinical decisions or diagnosis error based on missing or error-prone data.

  • Accreditation – with incomplete data or an inability to provide data required for audits, any program risks the chance of losing its accreditation. You can “throw bodies” at data entry backlog in the weeks before the accreditation or you can deploy a system that allows you to keep up with the work and also have the data readily available for clinical decision making. Accreditation often requires QAPI (Quality Assurance Process Improvements) and deploying a more automated workflow and data entry system that measures quality and productivity can give you the insight and measurements to have and prove your improvements.
  • JCAHO critical results reporting process can best be met if the process can be automated. This is best achieved if the required data is structured in fields in a system so that the system can automatically alert appropriate parties. The more discrete results data that you can get into your EHR, the better your automated critical results reporting process will work.
  • HIPAA compliance - manual workflows compromise patient privacy procedures. Having a system that automates the routing of documents and maintains your already-established network security permissions for those documents means you don’t need yet another security infrastructure for your incoming documents. Deploying this type of system automates the handling of documents under these existing security infrastructures.

Data quality and reporting improvements

  • By deploying a system to automate data extraction from clinical documents and move it into your EMR or other systems, the extracted data can be standardized based on your pre-defined criteria. Test codes, Test Names, Standard test components (required and optional) and other naming conventions can be pre-defined so that orders, test components and their respective naming conventions are all entered into your systems in the same way. Additionally, organizations cannot share data effectively (internally or externally) without defined standards for all data.
  • Reporting can be greatly improved simply by having more quality data in a discrete, structured format. This can also improve your organization's ability to simplify clinical analytics and performance improvement analysis and report to public health agencies and research departments within the organization.

Improvements for Informatics and Health Information Management

  • Improving EHR adoption by getting data into the EHR consistently and encouraging clinical staff to access and use that structured data helps with overall goals of the Informatics and HIM departments;
  • When structured data is in EHR, your organization naturally gets the benefits of EHR features – reporting, trending, analytics, full history, alerts, etc. without searching through long lists of attached documents for the ones you need;
  •  Ultimately, this type of system helps provide a more complete patient record.

About the Author: Ellen Bzomowski

With 20 years of experience in data capture and voice recognition, Ellen’s experience has focused on achieving higher efficiency and automation in getting data where it will be most useful to an organization. At Extract Systems, she continues to focus on the same ideas and works to get the word out about how Extract Systems’ advanced data capture and redaction solutions make more data valuable and accessible, while securing anything that is private. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University and lives and works in Boston.