We’ve got the right data, but is it in the right place to help us?

Beware as I sound off about a sensitive topic, but doesn’t it feel like access to outpatient data and lab results is more difficult than ever? The problem remains: a significant portion of relevant patient information is not being presented to the care team promptly in a format that will provide the most benefit. There is a world of difference for time savings and quality of care between having discrete information in the Electronic Health Record compared to having to search for pages of data or documents. The difference is having data immediately available for overviews, reports and trending. Having patience and a good attitude will go a long way while waiting for structured and usable data.

The real truth, however, is that we have the data, but it’s not in the right format we need to access efficiently. If we don't see the data, our first instinct is to place another test order, unknowingly creating duplication and new problems.  If there are delays while the data is being collected, entered, and transformed, we may not realize the information was available for us all along.

 Electronic Health Records continue to pose a host of challenges despite the good intentions of every CIO. What choices do we have when we face decisions daily on where to spend our time; do we catch up with the ever increasing need to enter data, or focus on delivery of care? Moreover, we are accustomed to accessing information instantaneously, and what if data and lab results are missing? Tools are available to remedy this scenario, but often not considered a priority due to multiple projects underway within the IT department.  

What if we had an easy way to eliminate data entry, especially for our clinical team members, and capture all of the information we need from existing data sources? Well, there is good news; we can do this today.  There  are tools offering an easy way to eliminate data entry from the physician and nursing staff, tools to reinforce accuracy, and improve efficiency.  

One of the most useful ways to capture unstructured information is to incorporate advanced data capture for clinical data extraction. Clinical information stuck in documents, such as paper laboratory results and other meaningful unstructured content, can be found, extracted and saved in discrete fields of the Electronic Health Records for analysis, reporting, trending and eventual use in population health databases.

Patience and a good attitude will help while waiting for structured and usable data, but how much longer will we have to wait? Wait no more – come speak to us at Extract Systems about how our growing list of customers is achieving this already and continuing to expand our solutions internally.

about the author: Greg Gies

For 20 years in the software industry, Greg Gies has been helping businesses, government agencies and healthcare organizations achieve their goals and carry out their missions by making better use of information and automating business processes. Greg has held positions in sales, product management and marketing and holds an MBA from Babson College. He works and lives with his wife and three boys in the Boston area.