When healthcare information systems don’t talk to each other, countless inefficiencies and patient safety issues can pile up. To prevent these unwelcome effects and succeed in this value-based environment, Community Health Network (CHNw) embarked on a journey to integrate its healthcare information technologies.
These technologies include four electronic health records (EHRs) within seven acute hospitals, one ambulatory EHR supporting both clinical workflow and billing, and one free-standing ambulatory billing system—from five different EHR vendors—along with additional finance, HR, supply chain systems, patient safety, paid claims and patient experience data sources.
Research shows that the use of more than one EHR from different vendors within a health organization, without the ability to integrate data across all EHRs and other data source systems, threatens patient safety and efficiency.1 As an organization determined to deliver an exceptional experience to every patient, this was not a risk CHNw was willing to take. To prevent these errors, the health system had to solve several specific issues associated with having multiple, unintegrated data sources:
CHNw took a multifaceted approach to integrating health data across the enterprise, an essential capability to deliver outstanding, value-based care.
Enterprise data warehouse. CHNw selected a Late-Binding™ Data Warehouse (EDW) from Health Catalyst to aggregate and house the health system’s multiple sources of clinical, financial, and operational data. This enables the health system to easily mine data for improvement opportunities, while vastly speeding up major data initiatives. Historically, these projects required building a direct interface to each data source—a redundant process no longer needed with an EDW that needs just one interface to pull data in and push data out.
Data governance and standardization. Technology alone doesn’t spur a cultural transformation. Executive sponsorship was also critical for CHNw to make changes in how data was collected, defined, and consumed. CHNw established a data governance committee with broad executive alignment that focuses on data standards, new enterprise reporting needs, education, and communication efforts.
Matching patients to care. To track patient encounters across multiple care locations and information systems, CHNw implemented a patient-to-patient matching solution. By integrating health data with financial and cost data, the health system can now easily correlate patient quality and cost—that is, understand exactly how value is being delivered. This insight is the difference between surviving and thriving in the new value based purchasing environment.
After implementing an EDW that integrates all key data sources, CHNw now has a comprehensive perspective across the enterprise. The health system can nimbly conduct reporting and engage in quality improvement initiatives, such as pinpointing care variation and measuring adoption of evidence-based guidelines.
“Even in the most data-rich environment, the ability to perform meaningful analytics and reporting is very limited without strong data governance and standardization. More importantly, patient safety is at risk.”– Joe Pollman, Executive Director,
Business Knowledge Management
CHNw continues to strengthen and grow its data governance structure and strategy and eliminate redundant sources of reporting and analytics to optimize its EDW investment. The health system plans to expand integration by incorporating data from specialized systems including multiple claims sources, a Health Information Exchange (HIE), additional CAHP vendors and HR into the EDW. Now, well on the path to advanced data literacy and analytics-driven improvements, CHNw will continue to deploy new tools and applications that make a meaningful impact on every patient.