Beacons put data to work on pop health
Emphasis on the capture of structured data in EHRs and enhancing data qualityWASHINGTON | August 10, 2012
Beacon communities are beginning to turn the corner and report improvements in patient care and population health in their regions based on analytics they have extracted from data collected for measures.
That is in part because these model health IT communities have put an emphasis on the capture of structured data in electronic health records and enhancing data quality so they can share, compare AND measure results, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
One of those is the Bangor Beacon Community in Maine, which has an intensive care management program using health IT-enabled processes and systems, said Kerri Petrin, project officer of ONC’s Beacon Community Program.
The Bangor beacon has demonstrated that “in the first six months of enrollment in the program that their group of high-risk, high-cost patients has reduced emergency department visits, hospital admissions and walk-in urgent care visits by as much as 40 percent,” she said at an Aug. 9 data and analytics conference sponsored by the eHealth Initiative, which advocates for health IT to improve health care.
Beacon communities rely on a variety of data sources, including chart abstractions, administrative claims data and data repositories. They are also becoming skilled at collecting community-wide data that may require cleaning up or normalizing to a standard.
Western New York
The Western New York Beacon Community provides a data quality dashboard that highlights invalid data entries that providers contribute to support core measures and a practice assessment tool deployed to practices, she said. The beacon works with clinic staff and EHR vendors to correct flaws to obtain better quality data so they can target clinical quality improvements.
ONC also has an EHR vendor affinity group project in which representatives of beacon communities and several EHRs are collaborating to achieve interoperability in health information exchange, Petrin said.
[See also: No EHR required with new data-sharing technology.]
For instance, they are tackling issues such as a consistently formatted continuity of care document (CCD) of patient summary data to accommodate existing practice workflows and creating clear documentation to support data extractions for quality measures.
A pilot will start around mid-October for CCD-enabled exchange across 200 clinic locations, representing 3,000 providers, she said.