The Need for Evidence-Based Health Care

By Krina Patel, Vice President, IM Solutions

The amount of data in any given hospital or physician practice is staggering. Patient records, billing information, compliance files to name a few. And when this is aggregated into a larger group or system, the shear quantity of this data makes for a pretty difficult task of accessing specific elements of information.
It’s no surprise that using data to actually help manage at various levels is potentially a hit or miss exercise.

Where data is available, digging into it is intimidating for some managers and thus they suffer from “analysis paralysis” and quickly fall back to managing with less than ideal information.

It is true that information and reporting systems for the health care industry have come a long way. By necessity, functions like accounting have migrated to advanced billing and reporting systems. But often these systems are designed for broader use across a wide variety of businesses and customers. Even those specifically built for health care related companies need to be modified to fit the needs of the customer.

So the reality is that for many hospitals or management systems, there are varying levels of availability and use of data across management functions. Accounting may be good but supply chain may be bad – and they may not talk to each other.

Now consider the broader impact on the care part of health care. There are several complicating factors when evaluating how to use data to help provide the best care in the most efficient manner. I will put aside HIPPA issues as the implementation of electronic records has largely made this an issue with enough experience, oversight and protocol to assure confidentiality.

It’s fair to say that medical professionals as a group are not generally “managed” in a traditional sense. Most look at their primary responsibility to be patient care. Focus on cost and billing accuracy has conditioned most doctors to also be diligent in documentation for charge capture purposes.

Our imagine technology is specifically designed to help professionals consistently maximize quality while documenting charge capture at the point of care. So this is a more subtle management tool that also happens to generate a lot of the data I have been discussing. Parsing and using data collected at the time of care yields real benefits for both medical professionals and administrators but it can be limited by the access to information in a timely manner.
What is really needed is quick assessment of findings – evidence – of indications critical to quality care.

There is a substantial constituency of doctors, assistants and nurses who are comfortable and even prefer the time-tested charting at the point of care because, at least in theory, all of the data about the patient’s current situation is there and easily accessible. But the level of complexity in medicine is always increasing and even the best trained and experienced professionals are in need of the power technology to ensure completeness and accuracy.

The Ingenious Med imagine platform not only documents the care being given but measures that care against the experience of potentially thousands of previous similar situations before. The evidence of today’s care can be compared against history for cases prior. The feedback available to the health care professional is an electronic “whisper in the ear” with technology directly helping to improve outcomes at the point-of-care.

Happy data mining,

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