Better Healthcare Data: Three things I learned from customers in 2015

With the final days of 2015 upon us, I would like to thank Extract’s customers and colleagues for your support and engagement this year. It’s been a significant year for our company which I’ll boil down by sharing two exciting milestones:

  • Our solutions auto-captured more than 5 million lab test components for our customers. This number has grown exponentially and that growth will continue in 2016.
  • We developed a Pathology data extraction solution that captures more than 400 fields from pathology reports across 8 different disciplines and converts unstructured data into relevant, discrete information for research.

I’m inspired by our customers’ passion for pursuing better patient outcomes while constantly looking for new ways to reduce the cost of healthcare delivery in this country. Nearly every day I notice anew how our accomplishments are tied to our customers’ drive for innovation. I’m grateful for their willingness to share their stories and reveal healthcare data gaps. This communication with customers is highly beneficial and educational for our team, and frequently helps define and guide the direction of future healthcare data solutions. From these conversations with customers, here are three key takeaways that will continue to guide Extract’s focus in 2016.

  1. Agility is key when capturing and leveraging healthcare data. We go live within the next month with a solution to help a new customer swiftly and accurately parse data from three large cardiology studies. This customer sought one simple and elegant solution to de-identify subjects’ sensitive PHI and highlight terms critical to researchers as they analyze the study data. Extract’s software enables this major research institution to process more documents for one study than they’ve ever undertaken before.
  2. Aggregating healthcare data from disparate sources is not an insurmountable challenge. Early in 2016 we’ll go live with a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center to capture and collect hundreds of data fields from lengthy, dense, unstructured narrative documents, including surgical, pathology, biopsy, flow cytometry, cytogenetic and FISH reports. This automation will help drive successful outcomes in cancer research by improving accuracy and compressing the time it takes to analyze the data.
  3. Improving healthcare data quality is a continuous process. One of our original customers, University of Wisconsin Health, has an appetite for innovation. Extract has been a fortunate to be a UW Health partner, working with its transplant and ambulatory programs to help improve the completeness, accessibility and accuracy of data in the patient record. This year we will implement an automated tool for matching orders to results when processing external lab tests. While we don’t have live metrics yet, we know this tool will increase data accuracy and decrease the time it takes staff to deal with these critical lab results for a more streamlined workflow.

It’s simple. Better healthcare data drives better outcomes. A good friend loves to remind me that “your judgement is only as good as your data.” This same principle applies to healthcare. We will continue to help our customers realize the goal of the electronic health record as the single source of truth for patient information. It’s a goal I can get behind as the president of Extract Systems and as the occasional healthcare patient.

Don't hesitate to reach out if you have a healthcare data gap you'd like to discuss. I wish you all a peaceful and joyful celebration as you usher 2015 out with family and friends. Keep safe, refresh and we look forward to working with you in the New Year!

About the Author: David Rasmussen

With 20 years’ experience leading software companies, David is driven by the challenge to consistently find groundbreaking ways to solve customer problems. He finds it rewarding to hit the customer’s target, but that is only a part of the reward/challenge. Creating and nurturing a great team, building a solid infrastructure, raising and managing capital, avoiding pitfalls, and emerging with a strong value proposition is what the bigger picture is all about for him.