How Sutter, Alameda Health use data analytics to manage ED frequent fliers

Of all the elements necessary for care coordination, access to data and communication tools are foundational, but disparate technology systems often get in the way. Interoperability and sharing relevant clinical data are pitched as becoming the gold standard for care, but taking that idea one step further means providers from different hospitals also communicate and collaborate to determine the best care plan for a patient. This is what a group of hospitals in California's East Bay sought when confronted with emergency department "frequent fliers" who repeatedly presented at EDs in various systems.

This is also the issue Collective Medical Technologies is trying to address with its PreManage platform.

Six hospitals from Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health and Oakland, Calif.-based Alameda Health System recently implemented the platform as a way to coordinate care and better treat those frequent fliers.

PreManage is a data-sharing platform and communication tool. It integrates into hospitals' EHRs and pulls together patient data with each clinical encounter. Moving forward, every time a patient presents at a hospital that has installed the platform, the system identifies the patient and displays past care summaries to the current provider. The software mines visit history and draws out patterns, risks and needs for patients.

That information is displayed directly under the EHR's ED tracking board, which displays what patient is in what bed, why they're in the hospital, who is assigned to the patient and the patient's demographics and vitals.

Not only does this reduce the occurrence of repeated, unnecessary tests and provide a patient's comprehensive clinical history, it also enables providers from different hospitals and care settings to communicate, collaborate and ultimately develop the best care plan for the patient.

"As much as it is a tool to identify high-risk patients in real-time, it also provides a platform by which multiple providers irrespective of their specific health system or hospital can collaborate on a plan of care for the patient," says Chris Klomp, CEO of Collective Medical Technologies.

Mr. Klomp says they decided to interface the PreManage software right by the EHR's tracking board to better integrate into the clinical workflow of an ED, noting that technology is essentially moot if it is not matched to user workflow.

"If you speak with an emergency department physician or nurse, they will tell you the first place they go before they go interact with the patient is the ED [tracking] board," he says. "If you think about the ED provider, her or his needs are unique relative to other types of providers….ED providers don't have time to go wade through 120 pages of prior clinical records looking for nuggets of high-value information that can influence care decisions."

Collective Medical Technologies also offers platforms in other specialties, slightly modified to fit the needs and clinical workflows of other care settings, including primary care, health homes and post-acute care.

Mr. Klomp says PreManage is just at the start of what the healthcare industry can do with all the collected data analysis tools. "We're probably just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible," he says. "Every generation says that. We have some big breakthrough, and there is yet another frontier to be conquered."

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