The inherent value of a population health perspective is the ability to facilitate increased knowledge across multiple measures that can help a clinician understand or predict health outcomes. This includes looking at data inputs such as chronic conditions and treatment plans, and adding in a multitude of possible risk factors that may impede health in the future. To accomplish this, it is critical to collect enough data across multiple systems to provide a complete patient “view.” Otherwise, the measurements are incomplete, and don’t accomplish the goals of a population health initiative.
Patient information may reside in clinical, financial, payor, or ancillary systems. Often, healthcare organizations believe that HL7 or a HIE alone will solve their data exchange challenges. That is just not the case. Bolting together information from different tools, contexts, and data models is a difficult task and requires significant work. Automation becomes an ally to overcome the data challenges associated with the collection, organization, and comparison of key data elements.
Most Population Health Tools are Data-Driven
This is problematic, because population health initiatives begin with gathering demographic, clinical, and financial information from a variety of sources. Providers and payers stratify patient types, diseases, treatment paths, and associated financial risk by drilling-down and across vast stores of available data. Having only the information that is available in the EHR limits the scope for identification of patterns that may lead clinicians to a different treatment process. HIE is a prime example. A regional HIE may have a collection of ED visits, or hospital data, which would be important to include when formulating a population health strategy. But the population health platform does not sit on top of the HIE, scanning all of the inputs to be sure they are current and loading them into the EHR. Clinical staff still need to manually search for discharge notices, follow-up notes, and encounters and manually put the information into the EHR. Automation is the perfect partner in minimizing thousands of redundant searches across multiple databases, like the HIE, to search, select, organize, and compare patient information.
Vendor tools often sit on top of several data sources (HIE, payor data, insurance files, etc.) and aggregate data to present to an end-user, but the source of truth is still the EHR. There’s a lot of EHR data that’s needed to successfully pull off population health. In addition, sorting the information and documenting it in the EHR is a timely, manual process. Automation added to the workflow eliminates the need to toggle between multiple systems, applications, or databases. It does not require upgrades or disruptive changes in existing user interfaces, software, or systems. A few of the reasons this is beneficial:
- Accurately, quickly performs short or long manual data entry, compiling, organizing, or processing volumes of data in disparate systems.
- Continuously efficient 24/7, regardless of the volume or variety of data, staffing levels, patient caseloads, or type of information systems. If a patient is discharged at 2 am, the information is available right away, for treatment options.
- Equally effective within and across clinical, financial, administrative, and technical system silos, facilities, and applications.
Leverage the Data – Empower the Clinicians
Data is a “huge pool” of information, that “lives” in multiple systems. Clinicians don’t know the data is useful without first organizing the data elements and setting standards for how they relate to one another. EHR systems have great reporting capabilities, but that’s after you’ve added all of the data elements, not before, which makes it time-consuming for clinicians. Leveraging the data means having the data in one central place, instead of asking care managers to log into multiple systems as many population health efforts require. From a day-to-day standpoint, leveraging the data means the ability to view complete information, dashboard views, alerts, and actions that improve patient outcomes. Empower the clinical staff and leverage the data sources for a complete population health view.
Automation Serves as a Digital Workforce
Automation is the resource to accurately, quickly, and comprehensively gather, organize, contrast, and compare data in multiple systems to determine risks, develop strategies, target patient types, and monitor outcomes. Automation serves as a digital workforce to support population health initiatives from inception through launch and ongoing program management. Because the distribution of health risks changes over time, the objective is to continuously monitor and identify factors that can exacerbate illness or prevention measures that need to be taken. Automation continuously and accurately sorts, organizes, and presents the right information to clinicians at the right time, without added complexity.
Why Boston Software Systems?
Our commitment is to healthcare. We’ve been through the ups and downs of multiple challenges over 30 years and we continue to stand with all healthcare organizations to provide real-time solutions that enable you to care for your patients, protect your bottom line, and increase your productivity, even during these challenging times.
Contact us. We won’t take up much of your time and we can get the process started quickly: 866-653-5105. We’re also available to connect via Twitter, @bossoft. Let’s have a conversation about your challenges with population health data initiatives.