The next step to leverage patient data and meaningful interoperability — key thoughts from CIO Jennifer D'Angelo

Jennifer D'Angelo is the CIO of Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, a 1,070-bed hospital with a clinical affiliation with New Brunswick, N.J.-based Rutgers.

She discusses the key challenges and opportunities for the Paramus, N.J.-based hospital related to data management.

Question: What are the top data management challenges you hope to solve in the next 12 to 24 months?

Jennifer D'Angelo: I look at our 'challenges' as real opportunities for efficiencies. At Bergen New Bridge, we have over 6 billion rows of data spanning over 120 applications, which sometimes makes it difficult to generate actionable reports. Compounding this challenge is the fact that some of the data is embedded within unstructured notes and in some cases as scanned documents/images. Our goal is to implement a business intelligence tool with natural language processing to allow us to leverage the vast and robust data set we have.

With all the data consumption, we continue to have some gaps in our ability to leverage data collected in real-time to consume and create actionable events to respond to our operational need and potential emerging events.

Data management is defined in several workstreams. Operationally, as we continue to optimize our systems, we are faced with the challenge of streamlining the processes. We acknowledge that the enhanced use of EHR functionality not only causes bandwidth increases, but also storage increases. Proactive planning is critical to the growth process.

Managing where the data collected travels internally and externally is another area of opportunity. With active interfaces from the EHR to push and pull data, you must ensure that data flow is real-time and seamless. Additionally, we look at data flow internally and externally. We are participants in many interoperability initiatives with our community partners and the state.

Q: What is your organizational approach to clinical or patient data registries, and how do you make sure you are getting the right data input?

JD: Our approach is to innovate and adopt interoperability. We were the first hospital to join the New Jersey Health Information Network, allowing us insights to patient movement and readmissions. We were also the first hospital in the state to onboard our long-term/post-acute care division onto Collective Medical's system PreManage ED. By integrating with data sets, we are able to automate the data entry to make data available at the point of care. We have successfully done this with New Jersey Immunization Information Services (NJIIS), PreManage ED, Jersey Health Connect, and other community partners and we are continuing to integrate other systems, such as emPOLST with New Jersey Hospital Association.

As we onboard new platforms and create population health opportunities to combat social determinants of health, we impress on our partners the need for solutions that support interoperability capabilities such as open APIs like Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources and do not rely on proprietary or out of date standards.

We have led the charge in promoting interoperability, pioneering with NJHA CHART Advisory, NJHIN Advisory, Jersey Health Connect HIE, supporting MU3 and Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program by investing in prospective reporting programs to continually support our robust quality care initiatives.

Q: What do you think are the most interesting opportunities for partnering with big tech companies currently or in the future?

JD: We participate in all opportunities to improve data flow to best care for our patients and long-term care residents. We are willing to be champions of new initiatives working with state entities to best serve our diverse communities.

Healthcare is big business and should look at the way it conducts business operations, adopting as appropriate industry standard tools for CRM and other key business functions.

Large tech companies can advance healthcare analytics since it is core to their business. Also, their ability to access other data sets could be leveraged to advance predictive medicine. Looking at data generated purchasing, web and others could help develop models best understand social determinants of health to predict depression, obesity and other chronic conditions.

The ability large tech has to create meaningful advances in interoperability make healthcare data as secure and accessible as your banking information.

Emerging technology like blockchain and FHIR can be leveraged for patient consent or research allowing us to overcome some of the barriers and stigma around sharing protected health information. Ultimately, we collect data to analyze and operationalize to serve our patients and foster preventative health and wellness beyond our four walls. We do this by recognizing the power of partnerships and collaboration and being consistent early adopters of technology and processes to continue to move the focus from treating illness to safeguarding population health and equitably creating and maintaining wellness for all.

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