Guest Blog: Clinical Data Integration: The First Step Toward Value-Based Care and Achieving the Triple Aim +1™

“Big data” has become a big, intimidating buzz phrase in health care. Health systems and provider groups are all trying to collect large amounts of clinical data, make it meaningful, and according to the American Hospital Association, use it to “facilitate the coordination of patient care across conditions, providers, settings, and time.” While collecting clinical data is a natural first step on the road to value-based care, the integration of that data is often complex, costly and time consuming.

Many of the roadblocks happen in doing one-to-one clinical data integration because it requires custom coding, having to write new software for each integration point. The reason: many EMRs have been designed as closed systems; one system doesn’t talk to other systems, making data exchange too big to tackle for some health systems. In fact, it’s estimated that health systems can spend over $100,000 a year hardcoding for clinical data integration.

Having just completed one of those projects for a Lumeris client seeking to expose clinical data for actionable insights within their EMR, we know it can be done. However, our lessons learned from a custom-developed integration led us to the conclusion that there has to be an easier, more cost effective and faster way to extract data from multiple practice management, EMR and other clinical systems.

Health care can actually learn from the airline industry. Instead of having planes fly all over the country in a point-to-point fashion, the large airlines use a hub and spoke approach to limit the number of flights that are needed to fly between smaller cities. Health care can use the same approach. Lumeris is approaching this by using a turnkey tool for extracting data from multiple clinical systems for use in one cohesive application – the Lumeris Accountable Delivery System Platform (ADSP)®. Once data is extracted, aggregated and normalized, it can then be presented to providers at the point of thought – within their workflow – for clinically appropriate, proactive action. Lumeris’ ADSP acts as the hub (stretching the airline industry example), receiving the data from the EMRs, lab, pharmacy, and other clinical and claims systems, enhancing it, and then sending it back out to those who need it.

This action can include using the information to see a patient’s entire care profile with insights from across the continuum of care, including primary and specialty care, hospital, SNF, lab, pharmacy, and even state-based immunization systems. With this information, physicians can address both the acute and longitudinal health needs of a patient – closing gaps in care, easing care transitions and care planning. This is a fundamental tenant for health systems to achieve the coveted Triple Aim +1™: improved cost, quality and patient plus physician satisfaction.

Because interfacing happens seamlessly, it does not disrupt practice operations or patient care. With interfacing implementation taking days or weeks, not months or years, and near-real-time scheduled data extraction, interfacing can become another business automation tool.

It allows health systems to maximize their current IT investments – bringing together data from disparate EMRs and other clinical systems for purposes of clinical data integration and better connected and coordinated patient care. This is a major goal of Patient-Centered Medical Homes, and a key driver of commercial ACO arrangements starting to take hold across the country.

Today, in fee-for-service medicine, most physicians are relying on information contained in their EMR to treat their patients. However, according to a recent study from the Annals of Internal Medicine, 1,820 primary care physicians and specialists reported that they often struggled using their EHR systems for population management tasks. Forty-one percent couldn’t generate quality metrics using their EHRs; 36 percent couldn’t provide patients with after-visit summaries; and 42 percent couldn’t exchange EHR information outside their practice.

As health care moves from volume- to value-based care, physicians need actionable quality and cost information to manage their patients and their populations. They need to move beyond “big data” and look past the EMR to access encounter data from within and outside the health system, as well as claims information from the payer. Physicians need tools and workflows to “provide better care at lower cost for people with multiple health and social needs”, as well as the ability to timely identify populations in need of additional interventions such as transitions in care, disease management and medication management.

At Lumeris, we have focused close attention on these needs by harnessing the power of technology to quickly collect, aggregate and integrate data, and then put actionable information right at providers’ fingertips within the ADSP. By doing this, we have neutralized the buzz phrase “big data” making the task of clinical data integration less complex, costly and time consuming, and the journey to value-based care achievable for our clients.

Not sure where to start? Talk to one of our advisors.

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