Data analytics are getting increasingly more important as the healthcare industry is moving towards a more value-based care mission. In a recent article, experts pose the question, how will analytic tools evolve and what’s next? To answer this question, they weigh in on major industry shifts.
Do you ever find yourself asking "how could we still be processing so much paper and faxes in the year 2017?" Sometimes, it can feel like there are mountains of paper that need to be climbed and processed with no summit in sight. There are EMR's, Care Everywhere, FHIR, HIE's, reference lab interfaces, and hundreds of other ways to exchange information electronically. But here we are…still seeing hundreds or even thousands of actual faxes per day in clinics and HIM departments.
What is compliance and why it’s important in Healthcare?
It is a way for healthcare organizations to prove that their patients are their number one priority. By proving the quality of compliance, organizations can prove that year over year their quality in care is constantly improving. By being able to prove compliance is important within an organization, there is a direct correlation to better patient satisfaction, more patients, better opportunities for successful outreach, and staying in business.
In a recent topic covered by NPR in Health News, titled Electronic Health Records May Help Customize Medical Treatments, expresses how healthcare is continuously uncovering the benefit of population health and the potential for a database of medical records to be mined in order to help shape an individual’s treatment.
I have recently talked with a few healthcare executives. They, like everyone else I know, are careful about what they say about the effect a Trump presidency will have on healthcare. This could be that they are being politically correct but it’s possible they don’t know what Trump is actually going to do. It is clear Trump’s pre-election rhetoric has softened in many areas. Only time will tell what his real intentions are.
While I've never worked directly for a healthcare organization, I'm proud to say that I've spent the last 13 years working for two great companies who are making great strides to improve these very problems. At Extract, we are working tirelessly to get more data into the EMR discretely and marching towards ridding the EMR of the hide-and-seek for critical clinical data that is buried in scans, faxes, and unstructured blocks of text.
No, this isn’t an article about buying cars. Although it may sound like it, I'm actually talking about clinical extraction software. There are some striking parallels when comparing car purchases and data extraction software purchases.
Aside from the fact that modern cars are essentially computers on wheels—on average containing thirty computers and millions of lines of code—buying a car is similar to the purchasing process of choosing an extraction software in a more practical way.
Recently, Andy Slavitt, the CMS acting administrator, announced that CMS will likely end the Meaningful Use program this year.
Does that mean that the hopes of an internet-worked healthcare system that’s able to seamlessly share health information are completely dashed before interoperability truly got off the ground?
There’s no question that users rely on the EMR In Basket for day-to-day workflow management. The “In Basket” or “Inbox,” depending on what EMR you’re using, provides a centralized location to receive notifications and important patient information, such as admission and discharge notifications, new lab results, refill requests, patient calls, appointment reminders, patient portal communication and much more.
What I know for Sure:
Discrete, trending data is the bread and butter of a specialty clinic.
Hunting and pecking through the media tab to track down information on a patient is infuriating! And not only for the doctors. For nurses. For abstractors. For the patient! Trending a post-transplant patient's drug levels alongside their medication doses, rejections, infections, transplant history, UNOS data, procedures, and relevant transplant-related scores is of paramount importance to a clinician and is very time sensitive. Getting all patient data into the EMR is the holy grail when it comes to specialty medicine.
Specialty clinics, especially transplant clinics, are mini-ACOs.
When you are treating an acute, chronic disease it is critical that everything about the patient is known regardless of where they are being treated on a daily basis. Luckily, we now live in a world of Care Everywhere, CCD documents, and reference labs…BUT, despite what everyone wants to believe, these things are not a panacea.
Paper is very much alive and well in the healthcare world.
Sometimes clinicians are "closet paper users," other times they just lay it out there. But don't make any mistake about it…they are using. In the transplant world, you may be familiar with the "wall chart." Also known as "the flowsheet" or "the flowchart." You know the one. The monstrous grid that is the holy grail for the transplant clinic, but is the disdain of the HIM team and the project team trying to migrate clinicians to the EMR. But there are good reasons for this chart and the other paper being used. Many hospitals have not implemented effective document management strategies that classify documents in useful ways. And many hospitals don't have the resources to support entering (and QAing) important data discretely as it comes in from external sources (or even internal sources such as the pathology lab).
Specialty clinics are crazy busy.
There were times during my tenure at Epic that I felt stressed. That I felt my days were busy. That I felt it was hard to create work/life balance. And then I'd go onsite and spend a week in a transplant department. Wow. My workday was like a walk in the park! The chaos that is the life of a person in a specialty clinic is very hard to explain or quantify. It seems there is not a moment to breathe. And this isn't just for the doctors and nurses. Even the folks doing data entry are getting calls, being pulled into other things, being tapped on the shoulder constantly. It is nearly impossible to give something 100% of your attention.
Extract's products can help.
I'm a passionate person. I don't back something I don't believe in and I don't work for companies whose product doesn't excite me. When I first encountered the Extract product I was very skeptical. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) with clinical data? Fuggettabout it! However, I've been able to peel back the curtain. The magic isn't in the OCR, it's in the rules, logic, and processing that Extract has fine-tuned while working with numerous healthcare organizations. I've seen it in action. I've seen the product improve with features that allow more reliable mapping to patients and existing orders. I've seen it process large documents and auto-classify subsections of that document and route them accordingly (think referral packets, transplant folks!). I've seen it work. I believe in the product and think it can improve data quality, care quality, data entry efficiency, EMR user happiness, and much more.
Extract's products aren't restricted to specialty clinics.
Yes, it is very easy to see the benefit of using the product to discretely enter lab results or split/file referral packets in a specialty clinic. But once you've seen it in action, it's very hard not to let your imagination run wild. Have an HIM department that is backlogged and needs some help classifying and discretely filing data? Have a natural speech recognition engine that needs some intelligent processing and filing after the output is generated? Have Care Everywhere but wish that you could get some more discrete data from it, such as labs? Still have paper DNR, release forms, or patient surveys coming in and want them to be discrete?
Have any other ideas?
We want to hear them! You can email me directly to discuss your ideas further.
About the Author: Rob Fea
He has spent 12 years partnering with IT teams and clinicians at major hospitals and clinics worldwide during his tenure on the technical services team at Epic. For the vast majority of his time at Epic, Rob supported Epic's Phoenix product, playing a major role in project kickoffs, installation, data conversions, ongoing support, and optimization. During his tenure at Epic, he watched the Phoenix customer base expand from 0 to 55 live and installing transplant organizations. It was a terrific experience and he loved every minute of it. It gave him expansive insight into the healthcare world, especially the solid organ transplant industry. Rob has spent countless hours on the floor in transplant departments observing multidisciplinary visits, committee review meetings, data entry, data trending, reporting, medication dosing, and more.