Rationalizing Clinical Analytics in Healthcare IT

DEC 20

Innovative and complex technologies are rapidly gaining market traction, but are far from ubiquitous across U.S. hospitals.  For instance, why can credit card companies proactively call, email, and text customers within minutes of potential fraud on their accounts, but hospitals don’t use the same types of analytics to provide patients with better, and in some cases life-saving care?

The answers to these questions are not simple, but we’ve grouped them into four themes:

  • The systems, or lack thereof, in place at hospitals historically did not provide adequate interoperability;
  • Hospitals have prioritized expensive electronic medical record (EMR) deployments and revenue cycle management solutions ahead of clinical analytics platforms and have not had budget dollars to allocate to additional projects given cost constraints;
  • Clinicians have not been educated and trained to use these type of tools and, aside from early adopters, are reluctant to change;
  • There are not enough incentives in place for hospitals to change how they operate in order to improve care.
 

Hopefully these excuses will dissipate as modern clinical and administrative systems are deployed, clinicians realize the power of analytics, and incentives change across the healthcare landscape.  Chart reviews and significant human intervention with patients will still be prevalent, but clinical surveillance analytics will be additive platforms for improving patient care.  As hospitals complete the initial phases of their EMR deployments and have time to focus on harnessing their data to improve care, the market for clinical analytics will grow quickly.

Last week, Wolters Kluwer acquired Pharmacy OneSource (Disclosure: TripleTree was the exclusive advisor to Pharmacy OneSource on the deal).  The flagship application provided by Pharmacy OneSource is Sentri7®, a unique solution in an emerging market for clinical surveillance.  Sentri7 is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application that receives data feeds from various hospital systems, such as EMR, admissions and demographics, nursing, laboratory, radiology, and pharmacy.  The system analyzes data feeds real-time against business rules (configured by hospital clinicians) which identify opportunities for clinicians to intervene and improve patient care.  A harbinger of where this market will evolve, Sentri7 can:

  • Identify patients with complex medical conditions that are being overlooked,
  • Warn of early signs of sepsis,
  • Remind clinicians if evidence-based guidelines are not being followed,
  • And ensure the appropriate drugs are being administered to patients.
 

To be successful in this market, systems must be flexible, easy to use and seamlessly integrate into a clinicians’ workflow.  While EMR systems from the likes of Epic and Cerner can be programmed to mine data, they lack the architectural flexibility offered by clinical surveillance tools like Sentri7 which will become table stakes as the expectations of clinicians evolve.  Hospital IT departments are already over-burdened and adding development and maintenance of analytics business rules to their purview is not practical.

As the interoperability of healthcare data continues to expand, health information exchanges will enable analytics across regional hospital systems, surgery centers and standalone clinics.   We expect automated analytical tools to continue to proliferate across all areas of healthcare and related to clinical analytics within the hospital, surveillance is just the beginning.

Let us know what you think. Thanks and have a great week!

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Jason Grais