Improving healthcare with data analytics
- By Kathleen Hickey
- Aug 03, 2016
Data analytics from Maine’s state health information exchange, HealthInfoNet, are improving patient care.
In 2015, the HIE combined its clinical and claims data to further enrich the predictive modeling, HealthInfoNet’s executive director and CEO Devore Culver said in the organization's annual report.
It connected 20 behavioral health organizations across 75 locations to the exchange in 2015, integrating medical and behavioral health data. It also gave Department of Veterans Affairs clinicians access to information via a secure portal; integrated Maine’s Medicaid claims data into its analytics and reporting platform; and received a $200,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “to combine social determinates of health with clinical data to improve outcomes,” according to the annual report.
With the ability to combine data to create a single patient health record, HealthInfoNet can provide alerts to providers, the organization’s CEO Shaun Alfreds told HealthITAnalytics.com. “We can alert providers when a patient has an inpatient admission or [emergency department] visit or discharge; we alert providers when patients have final lab or radiology results available and when their HbA1C is above 9.”
Alyssa Pekins, chief administrative officer of Catholic Charities, said in the annual report that the insights that come from combining the exchange’s real-time information with behavioral health background “allow us to almost predict and prevent incidents of care.”
Similarly, HealthInfoNet’s analytics and reporting platform allowed St. Joseph Healthcare to reduce its emergency visits by 15 percent, its 30-day emergency return rate by 9.5 percent, its 30-day readmissions by 13 percent and its hospital mortality by 37.3 percent.
And thanks to the integrated information, Mount Desert Island Hospital can see which patients are at risk and notify their primary care provider if they are in a hospital anywhere in the state and at high-risk for readmission, Claire Babcock, care management provider at the hospital, said in the annual report.
Integrating behavioral health data “is huge,” Alfreds said. It’s “very important for identifying risk of having a readmission or other issue.”
Working with unstructured data is another frontier the HealthInfoNet is crossing. HealthInfoNet is working with the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation on its Data Across Sectors for Health initiative that partners with community action organizations to help patients get financial assistance for housing or lead and mold assessments or provide healthcare transportation. “We’re working with them to see how we can integrate that data into the single patient health record.” Alfreds told HealthITAnalytics.
“We’ve started calling ourselves less of an HIE and more of a healthcare IT services company, because we do a lot more than just HIE now,” he said.
“One thing that everyone can be sure of is that the data is growing exponentially, and it’s no longer just going to come from claims and the [electronic health records] systems,” Suzanne Cogan, vice president of U.S. sales at Orion Health, provider of HIN’s technical foundation, told HealthITAnalytics. “We’re already talking about social services data; we have clients who are ingesting patient-generated health data from medical devices and genomics data, too. That’s here right now.”
Other health exchanges are also working with data analytics, including New York City and Vermont. In late June, OneCare Vermont, which is Vermont’s largest accountable care organization and manages care for Vermont’s Medicare, Medicaid and shared savings program, announced it is integrating data from the Vermont Health Information Exchange (VHIE) into its system and analyzing it to better manage its patients’ care. OneCare Vermont uses a data warehouse from Vermont Information Technology Leaders, operators of VHIE, to access integrated EHR information, Vermont Business Magazine reported.
And in May, Health Data Management reported New York City HIE provider Healthix is using technology from HBI Solutions to run predictive analytics on its health data.
Healthix already alerts providers when a patient is admitted or readmitted to the hospital or emergency department. The underlying Healthix HIE platform, from InterSystems, also includes the vendor’s Health Insight analytics that assess current conditions of patients in a healthcare organization’s patient population.
Now, by adding HBI Solutions on top of the existing analytics platform, Healthix can look at patient medical histories to predict the risk of future events and conditions, Healthix president and CEO Tom Check, told Health Data Management. “HealthInsight lets us take action based on clinical data being received, and HBI applies algorithms to predict potential future risk,” he said.
The predictive analytics capabilities went live in May.
Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.