4 thoughts on how temporal data can advance value-based outcomes

A shift toward value-based care and EMR implementation has increased hospitals' use of medical data to identify lapses in care and enhance performance outcomes. A reliance on big data, however, often does not allow hospital administrators to pinpoint problem sources or develop actionable, facility-specific solutions.

Temporal analytics — or breaking down big data into real-time clusters — is a type of clinical intelligence that can inform administrators of what is happening at the point of care, said David Goldsteen, MD, chairman and CEO of intelligence solutions provider VigiLanz, at Becker's Hospital Review's 5th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable on Nov. 9 in Chicago. He says hospital administrators may find situation-based temporal analytic tools are better at identifying day-to-day problem points than their big data counterparts.

Here are four thoughts on how temporal data can improve value-based outcomes.

1. Draw an institution-specific profile. Since temporal analytics is event-specific, its derived outcomes can vary considerably depending on the institution. "As clinicians take tests like blood cultures, [temporal analytic platforms] can collect the time stamps regarding when those actions occurred," Bart Abban, PhD, director of analytics and data science at VigiLanz, says. "Based on that, you can really paint a profile of what is happening to the patient from time to time, sequence to sequence," he says.

2. Create actionable solutions. Temporal analytics is different "from a big data approach, because big data — while occasionally coming up with some useful little insights — really isn't what you need to operate your institutions," Dr. Goldsteen says. By deploying a platform to track and time stamp specific clinical issues like antimicrobial, pharmacy and infection problems, a hospital can identify endemic patterns and inform staff in real-time when issues occur. Problems like prescribing the wrong antimicrobial to treat pneumonia can then be faced at the point of care.

3. Allocate resources to garner the highest outcomes. Determining the variability in clinical response can have significant consequences on outcomes in value-based care, Dr. Abban says. "Once you minimize the variability, you can begin to quantify how much effort [you] take to move responses" toward the most effective solution, he says. When pushing toward a new outcome, temporal analytics allows hospitals to analyze if "the marginal outcomes or the marginal returns are greater than the marginal cost put in," Dr. Abban says.

4. Use hospital culture to convert data into action. Raw data will only foster action if a hospital's culture enables staff to use the information, Dr. Goldsteen says. Problem hospitals may be able to get as far as identifying their specific problems, but even this is ineffective if the hospital's staff is not on board with using the data to pursue better outcomes. "As you're fed real time information and you support a cultural shift in your organization, you're going to be asking your frontline providers to act upon that data," Dr. Goldsteen says. Successful hospitals have the policies and procedures to make individuals feel "empowered to act upon information presented to them," he says.  

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