Better planning for the future of patient data

There is an ever increasing focus in healthcare today where the common denominator is "data"-- digitizing patient records, securing and protecting patient information, and tracking patient care with an increasing number of codes.

And yet, in healthcare, paper continues to impact revenues by trapping key data elements in a manual world of processing.

On the most basic level, managing paper healthcare forms and documents decreases efficiency, increases costs and can have an adverse effect on patient care, patient safety and financial reimbursements. Now, the pressure is even greater. In addition to the traditional reasons for eliminating paper-based processing, there are even more pressing issues bearing down on healthcare providers to drive the demand for electronic data.

The creative use of mobile technologies makes it easier now more than ever to collect and deliver vital healthcare data while at the same time improving patient and provider satisfaction. Furthermore, done properly, data collection can help healthcare organizations prepare for future demands that will require clean, accurate data.

What kinds of things can you be thinking of for the future of your data? Here are just a few ways you can better plan your discrete data capture initiatives:

  • Meaningful Use: The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provides incentive payments to healthcare providers that meet Meaningful Use standards. While requirements for the upcoming stages of the HITECH Act are still being released incrementally, it is apparent that electronic data capture throughout the enterprise will be vital. Capturing "structured machine readable data" is expected to be an important requirement for Meaningful Use Stage 3.
  • Accountable Care: Healthcare reimbursement has changed dramatically. Pay-for-performance models such as accountable care are starting to replace fee-for-service. Accountable care is based on the provider's ability to better manage patient diseases and conditions. This model will require discrete data to help track, analyze and successfully manage populations, all of which are key for pay-for performance reimbursement.
  • Advanced Analytics: Even back in 2012 a leading industry analyst firm highlighted that hospitals will rely on data sharing and advanced analytics to understand and analyze patient populations in order to find new ways to improve care and remain competitive. According to these industry experts, "healthcare is catching up with other industries in its demand for more timely and robust performance analytics." The report goes on to state that the data will aid conformity to care standards and business best practices.8 Having the right discrete data—including health records, claims data, and patient and population information—will be key to creating actionable intelligence.

Chris Joyce is Director of Healthcare Solutions with Bottomline Technologies where he defines and executes the product strategy which is aligned with customer and partner initiatives. He has over 17 years of experience in healthcare, forms automation and patient registration. Prior to joining Bottomline, Chris founded Logical Progression, a healthcare technology company that focused on tablet-based mobile documentation software for hospitals and clinical trials. Chris enjoys applying technology to improve the patient and clinician experience and help organizations more easily adoption electronic medical records.

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