Here are 5 Ways Health IT Companies are Laying Stepping Stones to Value-Based Outcomes

As hospitals face increased pressure from the Affordable Care Act to move toward a reimbursement model centered in value-based outcomes integrated health systems are positioned to take advantage of some of the more sophisticated analytical tools to improve care coordination. There were an abundance of population health tools at HIMSS — from care coordination to quantifying outcomes as well as products that aim to improve interoperability. As hospitals try to figure out how best to transition from fee-based care, health IT companies offered some stepping stones to help them make that gargantuan transition. Here are a five of them.

Patient Safety

Certify Data Systems, acquired by Humana two years ago, has focused on software for private Health Information Exchanges. This year it unveiled a population health data analytics tool that’s part of the HealthLogix platform. It’s designed to improve patient safety such as by helping doctors see medication prescribed by other physicians and alerting them to conflicts on a patient’s medical profile in real time. That’s the sort of information that can help avoid adverse events. It’s also designed to work within physician workflows. Executive vice president David Caldwell said ACOs will be a key market for the business going forward. He said the company’s approach differs from those who think running clinical analytics in batch mode is the way forward.

Collaborative Care


Orion Health developed a software platform aimed at clinicians for accountable care organizations to make it easier to collaborate. It helps with interoperability by allowing health systems to share and store data from internal and external source systems. It also helps them acquire and aggregate patient-centric data, and enables doctors and patients access to the data.

Cost Analysis

Deloitte rolled out a group of data analytics tools at HIMSS called ConvergeHealth. One of them, Insight, is a population health tool designed to help build a bridge to ACOs using comparative analytics. It’s designed to help care providers understand what’s going on with different patient populations beyond the doctor’s office. It offers initial identification and stratification of the patient population, followed by the definition and selection of measurement metrics and ending with customized reports that highlight care gaps and enable care gap analysis. Another tool in the platform, Intellect, has a revenue cycle optimization component to better understand the costs around each patient.

Data Warehousing

Health Catalyst’s electronic data warehousing platform takes its inspiration from the nuclear warfare decision support  that Senior Vice President Dale Sanders learned from six years in the Air Force. The idea is to help hospitals use multiple data sets to add context and to analyze hypothetical outcomes for a particular condition in certain patient populations for, say, a particular type of drug for that condition or to identify where hospitals can reduce unnecessary costs. Although it builds applications to support the platform, it also works with hospitals to help them solve specific challenges. It helps hospitals visualize the data. For example, the company is working with one health system to speed up the diagnosis of sepsis, which kills 200,000 people each year. Texas Children’s Hospital used it to analyze patients with asthma — a chronic condition. After forming a team to evaluate where costs could be trimmed, the platform helped them discover that X-rays were prescribed to 65 percent of asthma patients when it should have been roughly 5 percent. So far, Health Catalyst has developed 100 applications, according to CEO Dan Burton: 40 focus on the data warehouse platform and another 60 are related to clinical applications. It raised about $41 million in January which will go toward developing 200 more applications for the platform.


The challenge of helping hospitals using disparate EMR and EHR systems share patient information with each other continues to be a core issue at HIMSS and has been one of the healthcare industry’s toughest challenges. It has been the stuff of alliances between EHR providers such as McKesson, Cerner and athenahealth and pharmacy chain CVS Caremark with its Commonwell alliance. Epic Systems recently formed Carequality with 20 other Healthegen stakeholders to share patient information.

Alere, which historically had been known for its diagnostic tools under the name Inverness Medical Technologies, moved into the accountable care software realm a few years ago with its acquisition of Wellogic. Among the technologies in its health information solutions division is one helping connect hospitals in Southeast Pennsylvania’s regional health information exchange, HSX.  The goal is to help them share patient information stemming from, say, referrals and is an important step toward satisfying Meaningful Use requirements outlined in the HITECH Act.

[March 6, 2014 by Stephanie Baum]

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