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Healthcare Collaborative Partners Pool Resources to Develop Big Data Platform

June 19, 2013 | By More

Provider-Led Data Alliance to Develop and Share Population Health Solutions

Determined to ensure healthcare providers get the data analytics and business intelligence they need to improve population health, a group of the nation’s leading IT and clinical experts have launched the Data Alliance Collaborative (DAC).

Through this first-of-its-kind initiative, DAC members are co-developing and sharing knowledge, data and resources to address unmet healthcare needs. They include:

  • Carolinas HealthCare System (Charlotte, N.C.),
  • Catholic Health Partners (Cincinnati),
  • Fairview Health Services (Minneapolis),
  • Texas Health Resources (Arlington, Texas),
  • IBM, and
  • Premier healthcare alliance.

Healthcare is rapidly moving toward becoming more integrated and accountable, but its IT fails to connect and interpret the data sets needed to effectively manage population health.

For instance, legacy electronic medical records (EMRs) cannot integrate clinical, financial and operational data across individual hospitals, health systems or the continuum of care. As a result, providers are making major investments in separate business intelligence and analytic solutions, which are often more complex to implement and administer, affecting their ability to quickly attain value.

In addition, providers are developing and acquiring the same or similar analytics to those being used by their peers, but the nature of today’s technology makes sharing them a challenge. This keeps data – and providers – locked in their individual silos.

The outcome of all this is waste: providers reinvent the wheel, make technology investments without a clear return, and encounter patients who do not benefit from innovative care.

To address these challenges, DAC members are sharing their experiences and intelligence to co-develop solutions that integrate data across the continuum. They’re building data analytics designed by them, for them, in a collaborative format that accelerates efficiencies and cost savings while avoiding duplication of effort.

“Instead of investing in and developing multiple, fragmented solutions that address the same problem, we’re pooling resources to develop single solutions we all can use,” said Terry Carroll, senior vice president of transformation and chief information officer for Fairview Health Services, and DAC chair. “We’re using big data, as opposed to local or siloed data, and will get richer insights as a result. Sharing assets and testing new and innovative ways to use analytics will help us achieve system-wide change that positively impacts quality, cost and the care experience.”

According to Premier’s Senior Vice President of Healthcare Informatics Keith J. Figlioli, a member of the Department of Health and Human Services HIT Standards Committee, “Not enough front-line care-setting experience goes into the development and implementation of technology today. DAC members decided they want to lead the day-to-day development of the analytics required to enable population health management and operational transformation. This collaborative is really a reflection of what we’re trying to build in healthcare – a system that is coordinated, where communication is dramatically improved; and where we’re building, connecting and constantly interacting with information from multiple channels, all in one place.”

Improving medication adherence, reducing readmissions

About half of Americans don’t take medications as prescribed, resulting in $100 billion a year in additional hospital admission and readmission costs alone. Stakes are even higher now that hospitals face penalties for excess readmissions. But most importantly, for people with chronic conditions, delaying or missing even one dose can lead to major complications.

Among the first DAC co-development projects is a first-of-its kind model designed to quickly notify providers of groups of patients who have not filled prescriptions within 24 hours of discharge, and to immediately intervene. Today, getting such accurate, timely data requires manual analysis that can be done on individual patients only; real-time tools to review large groups of patients and surface outliers have previously not been available.

According to Paul Grundy, MD, MPH, director of healthcare transformation at IBM, “Members of the Data Alliance Collaborative share the same goal – to better manage and ultimately improve patient health. Providers and other healthcare stakeholders need actionable information that adds value at the point of patient care. Reaching this goal requires disruptive change. The analytics we’re developing will advance a smarter healthcare system that can tackle some of the biggest challenges for patients and the providers that serve them.”

DAC members are also co-developing an all-cause predictive readmissions model that analyzes both EMR and administrative data to identify patients who are most likely to be readmitted before they are discharged. Current readmissions models can’t analyze all conditions while accessing both EMR and the administrative data used by payors. The DAC model will also identify risk factors leading to readmissions, tying patients to appropriate evidence-based checklists based on their condition.

“Such data integration can help ensure members develop and deploy best practices for population health, while accounting for their unique care delivery processes and cultures,” said Allen Naidoo, vice president of data analytics at Carolinas HealthCare System. “What will change in upcoming years as we continue to build this level of analytics capability is the ability for providers to make more informed decisions for patient care. This collaborative will result in the ability to leverage the same data model, and that’s a tremendous win from a data aggregation perspective.”

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