eHealth Initiative Foundation Releases Final Report on Interoperability and Population Health Management Trends in the Healthcare Industry
eHealth Initiative released their final report, Pulse on the Industry: Interoperability and Population Health Management, which assessed the healthcare industry’s progress in the collection, exchange, and use of patient data to improve care and clinical outcomes using population health management tools.
Through in-depth interviews with executives at the Alaska eHealth Network, CORHIO, HASA Health Information Organization, HCA Healthcare, Intermountain Healthcare, Kansas Health Information Network, the Mayo Clinic, Ochsner Health System, and Rochester RHIO, eHealth Initiative learned that the collection and exchange of patient information has allowed the healthcare industry to better understand a patient, but the process is not without its challenges, including:
- Difficulty finding relevant data. Interviews revealed that HIEs and providers both believed that the vast amount of information found in CCDs is cumbersome and problematic. It is difficult for providers to find important information within the documents.
- Cost and time. Building and maintaining patient dashboards and population health management tools requires a considerable amount of time and resources.
- Resistance from providers. HIEs reported resistance from providers who do not want to share ambulatory data and who are hesitant to exchange data, stating that some physicians believe an overwhelming amount of data has the potential to obscure critical information, possibly leading to issues of liability.
- Data quality issues. All respondents reported that data quality issues such as incorrect coding, extreme documentation variation at the point of care, and evolving standards and structures of data are major challenges in collecting, storing, and analyzing patient data.
“As the industry continues to evolve and take necessary steps to improve interoperability and data sharing, it’s important to note what is truly needed. Organizations need to look to the next level of data aggregation capabilities that ensure not only the exchange of data but the ability to use it without special effort or extra steps to improve outcomes.” said Patrice R. Wolfe, CEO of Medicity. Medicity is a leading expert in clinical data aggregation and interoperability and helped support the research for this project, developed by the eHealth Initiative Foundation.
Jennifer Covich Bordenick, Chief Executive Officer of eHealth Initiative Foundation said, “The report demonstrates the importance of timely and quality patient data, particularly as provider organizations attempt to improve outcomes, lower costs, and move toward value-based care.” Interviewees provided suggestions to tackle challenges related to data quality, data volume, and remaining gaps in information:
- Use consistent standards. Providers believe it would be easier to connect and analyze data if all EHR vendors used the same standards, such as FHIR.
- Highlight actionable steps for providers. Providers desire the ability to offer physicians actionable micro-steps for insights discovered through analytics. They see too much emphasis on documenting the care plan, instead of creating an action plan.
- Share more data. Both providers and HIEs noted their desire for more ambulatory claims and clinical data. HIEs also wanted medication fill data and immunization data to assist with analytics.
Focusing on these next steps should be a primary strategy for population health management. In the movement toward value-based care, both providers and HIEs play a role in collecting and sharing data to improve patient outcomes. As industry begins to collect a variety of data types, the quality and use of data at the point of care is crucial to success.