Getting meaning from patient records “stuffed full of results and statistics”

Amy Krane, Marketing

In Big Data, Value-Based Reimbursement Must Combine for Quality, Health IT Analytics examined the challenges that healthcare organizations face in order to comply with the requirement to measure and report on their quality of care.

First, measures have to be defined – and CMS has focused much effort on this, with some 1700 measures across all quality programs floating out there. (Did you know that? Test your knowledge in the “Quality by the Numbers” quiz in our recent blog post.)

Next, each healthcare organization must use what the author calls its “big data” systems to generate information for those reports. According to National Quality Forum President and CEO Christine Cassel, MD, this is problematic since the industry is maintaining systems that are saddled with “poor usability, disappointing data integrity, siloed information, and conflicting standards.”

In our view the root of the problem is the individual patient record itself. Each record is a microcosm of “big data” – shall we call it “little data”? – that is growing in volume at 80 MB per year. Each record is made up of multiple data types (labs, meds, diagnoses codes, images) and up to 80% unstructured, narrative text found in discharge, admit, surgical and other notes.

Jennifer Bresnick, the author of the Health IT Analytics article, notes that:

In healthcare’s new big data world, patient records may be stuffed full of results, statistics, notes, and codes that convey no clear, immediate meaning to a treating physician, producing frustration instead of illumination when it comes to what the patient really requires.

More relevant to quality reporting than the “treating physician” is the clinical data abstractor. It is this person that is responsible for making sense of the record in order to report on quality and is often left frustrated instead of illuminated. Instead of making quality improvements that lead to real value-based care, a highly qualified nurse clinician will spend hours locating relevant patient facts. We’ve seen a recent study that studied two full-time infection control specialists and found that they spent five out of their eight-hour day on reporting alone. This is typical for those responsible for quality reporting. And they are frustrated!

Technology from QPID Health is aimed squarely at reducing that administrative burden and freeing quality resources for quality improvement. We do this by locating and synthesizing the relevant information from the record, and bringing it directly to the nurse abstractor. More here.

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QPID Health sequences the “digital DNA” in your health record

Alvin Yu, MD, Clinical Content Engineer

As an engineer turned physician who returned to engineering as a QPID clinical content engineer (yes, it’s confusing!), I’ve been fielding a lot of questions from friends and family about the exciting problems our startup is tackling. Here is one way of understanding what we do.

As we know, we all have DNA stored within our cells. DNA is the basic building block of life, encoding our genes that determine a large part of our biology – height, weight, gender, and health. This is what nature has given each one of us as a starting point in life.

What we may not realize is that we all also have an extraordinary amount of “digital DNA” that is stored in our healthcare record. This digital DNA also encodes our biology and determines our health. Every time a doctor writes a note, reports a lab result, interprets an x-ray, she is encoding a digital gene that is stored away in the medical record.

DNA is, at its core, a long string of letters that on the outside makes no sense to humans. However, over the past few decades, scientists have made great strides sequencing our DNA and extracting information about our genome to predict and improve health. Just like biologic DNA, our healthcare records contain thousands of documents that often start to blend into a seemingly meaningless long string of letters.

This is where QPID comes in. QPID sequences the digital DNA stored in your entire healthcare record to derive insights for doctors, nurses, case managers and quality personnel. QPID understands these digital genes, making it possible to decipher, predict and ultimately prevent diseases and avoid risks (such as hospital acquired conditions) for individuals and entire populations.

This is how QPID helps clinicians make us healthier and the reason I decided to join the QPID family!

 

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Are quality reporting requirements turning clinicians into clerks?

Amy Krane, Marketing

Modern Healthcare recently shared concrete evidence of what we’ve all been thinking: the burden of documentation is preventing healthcare professionals from doing their jobs.

“Too much reporting=less patient care” references a case study in which two full-time infection-prevention specialists at a 355-bed acute-care community hospital reported how much time they spent completing public reporting tasks.

Their answers were astounding. Both said they had spent 5 hours a day, or 118 hours a month, at their desks filling out paperwork.

This time was manually spent completing reports for events that had occurred at the hospital. Certainly a necessary task, but also one that prevents them from completing rounds, educating staff & patients, enacting safety preparedness routines and other tasks designed to actually address infection control.

The harsh truth of today’s healthcare industry is that as we improve our care standards, more accountability is needed, and by extension, more mandatory reporting and documentation.

However, turning clinicians into clerks isn’t the answer. How can we expect to improve care if we chain our healthcare professionals to their desks?

QPID Health developed our Q-Scout, Q-Folio, and Q-Caliber solutions to eliminate the manual labor required to generate information for quality and registry reporting. Q-Caliber uses computer assisted data abstraction technology and advanced clinical reasoning to find and report on the information required to meet quality mandates. The result is less time spent chained to a desk, and more accurate reporting.

To reach our goals as a healthcare industry we need to maximize the amount of value gleaned from the information at our disposal while also reducing time spent away from our patients.

Read the Modern Healthcare blog post. And check out our recent post on the related issue of the burden of documentation in EHRs, or what the American College of Physicians calls “coding and compliance trumping clarity and conciseness.”

 

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