Justify Before you Buy: Automated Capture for Clinical Data - Part 2

You finally found the perfect solution to 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. Now it’s time to go ask for permission (budget) to purchase this solution.

In our first blog, we began by detailing the first and most basic area of justification that needs to be laid out, medical assistants’ time and additional staffing requirements. While these are an essential part of your justification, if you stop here, you have not fully laid out the tactical and strategic improvements that this type of system offers your department and organization.

The second area for ROI justification should look at how you will be able to better care for your patients and avoid costs down the road for data errors:

Quality of Care improvements:

  • Better data means better decisions: timely reporting and easy access to results means clinicians can make better decisions for their patients.

  • Tactical: Estimate the reduction in time for them to be available to clinicians and estimate how much time clinical staff saves in just needing to find data in the EHR and not search through paper or documents attached to the patient record.
  • Strategic: Estimate how much this data is made available to clinicians in other departments to help that same patient and add the value of this to your ROI arguments.

Automated prioritization of more urgent patients – by having results for priority patients automatically move to the front of the line, clinical staff can focus on them with their data being expedited.

  • Tactical: Estimate the number of critical patients you have at any given time in your department and the reduction in time that results for those patients will be made available compared to today’s procedures. Estimate the value for that reduction in time (and efforts) to make those results available.
  •  Timely response to abnormal values: this is best accomplished when data is in your systems and alerts can be automated
  • Tactical: Lay out the number of tests and diagnostic procedures that require critical results reported in a timely manner and how this automation will improve the ability to accomplish this in the established timeframe in a consistent manner. Established how built in reporting from the solution will allow you to measure the improvements in this area.
  • Strategic: Establish whether or not this new automation could be a test for improving this across other departments as well. Show the value of the consistency and measurability of an automated procedure and extrapolate the potential benefits to others over time if appropriate.

Avoiding the Costs of Data Errors

  • Downstream costs, or the cost that errors cost throughout the rest of the organization if not caught soon enough, should be assessed into your ROI calculations.
  • Uncaught error costs are naturally the hardest to actual quantify as you will never know that they happened, but you can factor, based on industry standard data, what they might be.
  • Data errors within data errors used for treatment become data errors in data used for research. Better quality discrete data for research can improve your organizations ability to do more and better quality research.

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.