Wednesday, April 16, 2014

HDI Podcast Series with Steward Health Care Network

Healthcare Data Insights Podcast Series
 Below is a teaser from our podcast series. Thank you to our participants...

John Donlan, Chief Operating Officer
Dominique Morgan-Solomon, Vice President, Population Health
Steward Health Care Network

What are some of the challenges you faced when implementing data-driven strategies and how did you overcome them?

Dominique: We are a very heterogeneous network, we have over 2700 providers. With that we are on over – I want to say at least 30, but there are more than that – EMRs. They all look different and the data coming out of them is different. So, our challenge over the last two years has been about how do we integrate or aggregate the data that’s coming out of those EHRs such that we can use it and use it in a much more real-time fashion because that’s really what’s meaningful. That’s one of the larger challenges.

We also have the challenge of while we sit on the Network – and I’m glad that John described the larger system – we are part of a larger hospital-based system and so how do we integrate information that is coming out of those EMRs, along with the information that is coming from the ambulatory-based provider’s EMRs to be able to get to the clinical data that is necessary for us to be able to identify the population. As well as from a performance perspective, be able to articulate who are the people who fall into various populations, like our diabetic and our heart failure patients. A lot of that information is defined based off of clinical measures and not claims-based measures. So, getting access to that data is one of the larger challenges that we face.

One other challenge that is tied into that is getting information in a real-time manner. One of the interesting challenges of being part of a pioneering ACO is that the population turns over on an annual basis. While we retain a significant proportion of the population year-over-year, when January 1st comes along, we have either an influx of new patients or potentially an out flux of old patients based off the methodology that CMI uses to do attribution. Because of that, in order for us to effectively impact that population in a real-time manner, we have to be able to pull data out of systems and use real-time information so that we can quickly stratify, identify and engage that population within a less than 12 month period in order to make an impact in that performance year. So, timeliness of data, I would say, is a huge challenge in the integration of the heterogeneous system that we have within our Network are two of the biggest challenges that we’ve had with data.

Now, how do we go about overcoming them? We’ve engaged some partners who have helped other organizations resolve this problem and who have some background and experience in being able to access various EMR data sets and integrate and aggregate that data. Certainly, it’s a challenge that I wouldn’t say today that we’ve overcome it, but we have a plan to overcome it and we’re moving forward on it. But, I would also say the other quick and dirty, so to speak, are boots-on-the ground way of overcoming, which is what I said before which is we have to spend a lot more time engaging providers and members themselves to get to some of the information that is more actionable in a real-time basis.

As John mentioned, we have a very robust governance structure, but underlying that governance structure is an operational structure where we have field operations teams that are aligned to a local chapter and aligned to our local provider groups so that they can be much more in the practices and much more engaged with the providers so that they can glean a lot of that information, like Mrs. Jones who has financial issues and that’s why she’s not filling her medications, which won’t be apparent in an EMR or we don’t have access to that information in the EMR quickly.

So, we’ve chosen in the interim – as well as really trying to leverage the medical home kind of model – we leverage our field operations team being much more embedded in our local chapters. The folks who make up those teams are both clinical, as well as operational in nature. So, our performance improvement advisors are really working on workflow enhancement and work hand-in-hand with a nurse care manager and social workers and pharmacists who are also working with the providers to best identify and manage the populations for which they serve.

To hear more from Steward Health Care Network, join us June 23rd through 25th in Chicago for IIR’s Healthcare Data Insights Conference.

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