How Clinicians Derive Better Insights with Quality Data Registries

Article Summary

Hospitals face significant challenges when it comes to the time and cost required for data abstraction, analysis, and reporting, but a cloud-based solution that interfaces with hospital systems can assist, providing a unified platform that alleviates the burden associated with these tasks.

two clinicians review electronic health records on a desktop computer.

Editor’s Note: This article is informed by the webinar titled “Driving Value: Boosting Clinical Registry Value Using ARMUS Solutions,” presented by Zoltan Kurczveil, Co-Founder, SVP, ARMUS by Health Catalyst, Sheila Fairless, Clinical Services Director, ARMUS by Health Catalyst, and JoAnn Mader, Quality Outcomes Manager, Tech Enabled Managed Services, Health Catalyst. 

A clinical registry is an indispensable tool for improving healthcare quality, patient safety, and medical research. These databases compile standardized patient and healthcare utilization data, enabling clinicians and analysts to systematically benchmark care outcomes and inform treatments.

Still, the labor-intensiveness and time-consuming tasks involving data abstraction, analysis, and reporting from separate data platform interfaces and registries pose challenges.

In a recent Health Catalyst webinar, data technology experts and former clinicians with decades of experience managing clinical registries discuss how ARMUS by Health Catalyst, an all-in-one cloud-based registry solution, simplifies submission to and reporting, achieving the following outcomes:

  • Reduced data abstraction time and labor by automatically populating clinical registry fields.
  • Improved data quality and management using an electronic inter-rater reliability (IRR) tool.
  • Achieved actionable analytics with comprehensive reporting and visual dashboards.

Integrated Medical Data Abstraction and Submission Cuts Costs and Improves Data Quality

Manual data abstraction for clinical registries is laborious and costly, making it challenging to map clinical data from one clinical registry to another. ARMUS offers an integrated, electronic platform to streamline the process and reduce data abstraction time. The solution ensures data integrity by interfacing with EMRs, hemodynamic monitoring systems, and registry-specific interfaces.

When healthcare professionals input data using the ARMUS data entry tool, the platform conducts real-time data validations using its built-in definitions tool, alerting abstractors to potential discrepancies or issues in data quality. Additionally, once the data is abstracted, it can be submitted to over 30 clinical registries, eliminating redundant data abstraction tasks.

Data abstractors must also evaluate the quality of their abstraction. Many abstractors must rely on manual IRR tools to measure abstraction quality. Yet, ARMUS boasts an electronic IRR capability that assesses data quality with greater ease, reducing a data abstractor’s reliance on manual processes and limiting the possibility of false positives or negatives.

These features decrease the time spent managing data abstraction and validation, and clinical registry submission while reducing the potential for human errors.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Other Health Systems Reduce Medical Data Collection Burdens and Reporting Times

Johns Hopkins Medicine collaborated with the ARMUS team to meet the intensive demands of participating in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Adult Cardiac Surgery Database (ACSD). Participation in the program required the organization to invest extensive resources to accurately abstract, validate, and submit quality data.

However, by leveraging the cloud-based application, Johns Hopkins Medicine reduced its clinical registry burden and improved efficiency while maintaining high-quality performance. Most notably, the platform automatically imported data for 69 ACSD registry fields, saving the institution 12-15 minutes in abstraction time for each record. This translated to a 10-25 percent reduction in total abstraction time for the clinical registry.

Other health systems have demonstrated tangible outcomes. Utilizing a cross-registry report in ARMUS – a single report that indicates key metrics across clinical registries – one healthcare provider organization streamlined its analytics division by consolidating two full-time positions and alleviating the workload of quality improvement coordinators for one day.

Another instance involved collaborating with service line directors from a network of hospitals to enhance their prototype report. Completing the report required 40 hours initially, but now it can be generated in less than two minutes in ARMUS, resulting in a yearly time savings of 2500 hours.

“With existing tools, the time to submit quarterly data has dropped significantly. I used to set aside a day each quarter to scrub and submit data for five hospitals. Now, on average, it takes about two hours.”

JoAnn Mader, Quality Outcomes Manager, Tech-Enabled Managed Services, Health Catalyst

Integrated Clinical Registry Improves Clinical Outcomes with Performance-Tracking

The solution also enables providers to view metrics in alignment with and track their performance in real-time relative to clinical guidelines and initiatives. Because the data is available as soon as it is entered, giving providers immediate visibility, they can change their practices more immediately and as needed.

ARMUS also produces reports across facilities within a healthcare system, enhancing service-line reporting and eliminating the need to run and then collate reports from different facilities. For example, the Community Health Network (CHNw) leveraged ARMUS’s reporting capabilities to assess the characteristics and outcomes of patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Bleeding is a common complication of PCI, and CHNw collected and compared post-PCI bleeding events across all five hospitals, implementing measures that led to a decrease in post-PCI bleeds from 4.7 percent to 1.9 percent. 

ARMUS allows users to view longitudinal data by facility and physician, which clarifies improvement opportunities and simplifies data migration and reporting. 

The following are the most commonly used ARMUS reports that drive quality improvements: 

  • Starmetrix: The Starmetrix dashboard presents data as a heatmap over a rolling four-quarter period. This dynamic visualization tool offers comprehensive snapshots of data trends, including multiple hospitals, procedures, or physicians.
  • Data Tables: These tables enable clients to extract any dataset from any clinical registry, including custom fields, and apply filters to produce and save tailored reports and streamline recurrent data analysis tasks.
  • Metric Libraries: Available for every clinical registry, allowing users to run metrics by time, hospital, physician, or procedure. This report also includes special features permitting abstractors to run general reports based on specific clinical filters or parameters.

In addition to pre-defined tools, the ARMUS team collaborates with institutions to develop specialty reports tailored to their needs. 

“My background is not in analytics. So, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how an RN data abstractor can so easily use the reporting tools that ARMUS has put into place.”

JoAnn Mader, Quality Outcomes Manager, Tech-Enabled Managed Services, Health Catalyst

Streamlining Clinical Registry Management While Improving Clinical Outcomes

As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, institutions face the growing challenge of managing vast amounts of clinical data. Integrated platforms like ARMUS by Health Catalyst underscore how technology can simplify data submission and reporting using clinical registries, supporting more informed decision-making and enhanced clinical outcomes. For forward-thinking healthcare institutions, adopting all-in-one solutions can streamline operations, harness the power of data-driven insights, and accelerate healthcare innovation.

Additional Reading

Would you like to learn more about this topic? Here are some articles we suggest:

Electronic Data Abstraction Improves Efficiency and Registry Submission Accuracy

Data-Informed Improvements Decrease Post-PCI Bleeding Events

Health Catalyst, GIQulC Team Up to Power the Nation’s Only Gastroenterology-Focused Clinical Registry

Standardizing Excellence: 5 Pillars for Reducing Unwarranted Care Variation

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