Using data your hospital already has: 5 key points

Hospitals are increasingly tapping data and data collection for actionable insights that improve patient outcomes. But rather than starting the data collection and review process now and looking forward, there are a number of principles that will help explore and leverage data a health system already has on hand, according to experts who spoke on a panel at the Becker's Hospital Review 7th Annual Meeting in Chicago on April 28. 

Experts included Michael Hunt, DO, CMO, CMIO and interim president and CEO for St. Vincent's Health Partners in Bridgeport, Conn.; Randy Davis, vice president and CIO of CGH Medical Center in Sterling, Ill.; and Adam Klass, CTO of Vigilanz.

Here are five key points from the panel discussion. 

  1. Most hospitals should be collecting data on nearly everything they can, and on the EHR side data collection must be physician-driven. Having a structure in place on the clinical side, such as an EHR committee that represents clinicians and has authority to make decisions about data-collection strategies, is a helpful way to get physician buy-in.
  1. Identify as many care transition points across the continuum as possible. For large hospital and health systems, the total number of care transition points might number well over 100. This can be difficult in regions that lack health information exchanges, but services like Direct, an information exchange service, enable institutions to get others on board using an open platform. 
  1. Use data on physician ratings and outcomes to drive home the point that hospital stakeholders at all levels need to take action. Beyond showing individuals how they fare with over- or under-utilization of resources, comparing clinician performance of that of their peers, and demonstrating how the data reflect quality and cost, can be a wake up call for some, but one that will improve the overall efficiency and care that a hospital delivers.
  1. Give administrators, leaders and other health system stakeholders the training and tools to access, manage and leverage data autonomously, so they can move faster without needing to lean on the IT team. Data utilization is no longer relegated to the realm of CIOs, CMIOs or IT professionals, and systems should adopt the tools to enable the empowerment of an entire clinical and administrative staff.
  1. Challenge the phrase "use technology to improve quality," because of its clinical connotation. Quality from a patient's perspective, and how IT relates to it, has less to do with what's going on between a patient and a physician than it does with a patient's overall experience, from a fast wireless network for hospitals guests to dietary preference tracking for inpatients. 

More articles on health IT:

Not-so-sensitive data: The case for unprotected health information
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Quality of patient-facing health information online varies depending on forum, study says

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