Data makes the difference… if you know how to use it.
Having the right patient data is crucial to developing a successful treatment plan. Increasingly, it’s also essential to the health of the practice itself. Collecting the right data, sharing it seamlessly, and using it to demonstrate the value of your services are critical challenges facing practices today.
Collect It Selectively
The quest for knowledge has traditionally depended on gathering as much information as possible—the more you knew, the greater your chances for survival. Nowadays, though, the danger lies in the other direction.
Data overload—particularly when it’s the wrong type of data—can slow down a practice’s everyday workflow and cloud critical decision-making processes. Collecting unnecessary data not only wastes staff time and energy, it degrades the patient’s treatment experience by turning it into an unnecessary bureaucratic labyrinth. Add to this the time spent trying to filter out the relevant data from the irrelevant, and you have a time sink that few practices can afford.
The solution? Decide what data you need to improve patient care and to demonstrate the value of your services, and then collect only that—and collect it in the way that is most efficient for your practice’s workflow. The shift from volume- to value-based reimbursements will make this of paramount importance in ensuring your practice’s profitability.
Share It Wisely
Data that is inaccessible is of no use to anyone. To meet the goal of improving patient health, practices need to be able to efficiently communicate relevant patient information to all the clinicians along the continuum of care, and to do so in a timely fashion.
That’s why data exchange is no longer a luxury. Even traditionally closed systems are now seeking to catch up. In order to effectively exchange data, however, systems must speak a common language, support interoperability standards from FHIR and HL7, and support application programming interfaces (APIs). Examples include:
CCD and CCDA
XDS.b and XDSi
Practices need to make sure that whatever system they use for data collection can also communicate that data to other shareholders in the healthcare universe.
Analyze It Effectively
The need to comply with ever-changing government regulations, coupled with the move to value-based payment, means that documenting and communicating your practice’s performance will be a crucial part of any data collection process.
Compliance with government mandates may not be popular, but it is necessary, and the easier it is to capture and report this data, the easier it will be for your practice to stay focused on patients. Value-based care requires you to be able to analyze information and transform it into actionable plans to lower costs, standardize successful protocols across your practice, and engage patients in sharing PROs, ultimately improving outcomes.
Data can also be used in research, shared with registries such as IRIS, or analyzed for needs such as those related to population health. Ultimately, though, the real goal of data collection is to improve individual patient care, and analyze how optimal outcomes were achieved, which then allows you to replicate those results across your organization. Beyond that, collecting the right data also allows you to compare outcomes with those of other specialists with similar cases, thereby enhancing your treatment protocols.
Patient engagement, care coordination, and data and analytics are the three pillars that support population health. The first two will change and evolve to the extent that they depend on technologies that are themselves evolving. Because data and analytics involve technology, they will be subject to great changes and challenges. That’s why any system of data collection and analysis needs to be future-proofed—sturdy enough to function in the present but limber enough to adapt to whatever the future brings.