Thu, 03/28/2019

Tolkien's novels about Middle-earth effortlessly weaved together themes from a number of early mythologies and tales with a cautionary nod to the encroachment of technology. At the heart of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings was the One Ring with its ability to bring together the power of the other magical rings of the time.

In The Lord of the Rings the great minds of the age were slow to recognize the impact the One Ring could have until it was almost too late. This correlates well to modern healthcare as siloed data continues living in core and ancillary systems in the way power in Middle-earth was concentrated around the other known rings. In the last ten years the industry has placed their eggs in the EHR basket in hopes that would solve their data issues. If anything, the use of data has grown more important and the data sources are only rising.

Over the last several years I have come across surveys and articles about how data challenges are holding back key industry initiatives. Recently, a Kaufman Hall report summarized by Health IT Analytics found a whopping ninety-five percent of CFO's doubted their data analytics abilities because of data issues not dashboard issues. This report noted that executives are not fully confident that their organizations can manage the changing healthcare landscape. The facts support this:

  • Thirteen percent of respondents said their organizations are very prepared to handle evolving payment and care delivery models with their current tools
  • Fifteen percent of respondents said they were “very prepared” during the prior year
  • Twenty-three percent said they were very confident in their organization’s ability to quickly adjust their strategies, which is down from twenty-five percent in the prior year

I would suggest the reason behind this diminishing view is the realization that EHR platforms cannot figure out data strategy.

A new survey by Damo Consulting points out disconnects between the need for an enterprise data strategy and platform and healthcare’s penchant for chasing siloed solutions.  The survey released on January 10th revealed some interesting findings from its review with healthcare executives:

  • Seventy-nine percent listed accelerating digital health initiatives as their number one priority
  • Fifty-eight percent listed advanced analytics and AI as the only other clear majority priority
  • The big surprise was seventy-nine percent of healthcare executives recognized that silos and lack of interoperability are the biggest challenges to digital transformation

So the three core issues impacting healthcare due to a lack of an enterprise data strategy and platform are: Shift to value based care models, Digital transformation, and Advanced data uses like AI, predictive, and machine learning.

All three of these areas along with population management and new care delivery models will lead to a time where some healthcare organizations can leverage their data and thrive while others will fall behind or become targets. To flourish, organizations must organize and invest in a making their data an institutional asset. That starts with a single source of data across enterprise data assets.

To help these organizations, my company built the Omni-HealthData platform leveraging our unique master data driven data curation. Managing the healthcare data value chain from end-to-end to transform raw data assets into usable information is key. Created in partnership with our provider and payer partners, it combines a unified data and analytical platform with broad and deep healthcare accelerators that increase the speed of ROI to the business. Data management in healthcare presents many unique technical challenges, but ultimately it needs to derive business value to impact the quality of care at a reduced cost.

Like Tolkien's works, healthcare has its own set of languages, dialects, and value systems. The author created his own languages like Elvish (which you can actually take as a college course, who knew?) Likewise, healthcare has a complex set of codes, semantics, value sets, and data definitions that themselves create an overwhelming challenge to get straight. Most organizations tackle these issues piecemeal or by department leaving key teams like process improvement and quality operating way under their license as they act as data janitors rather than leveraging information to have operational impact.

Omni-HealthData by design tackles this issue head on with an enterprise approach by providing over ten million codes spanning hundreds of code sets out of the box along with a number of other healthcare specific accelerators for data management such as:

  • Subject driven data on-boarding simplifies data integration with optimized canonical data models spanning 30,000 attributes in over 80 subject areas.
  • Centralized multi-domain mastering and data quality across; Patient, Provider, Provider Practice, Payer, Facility, Workforce, and Member with rules driven data mastering and data quality, driven by 1,000 pre-built rules for healthcare.
  • Longitudinal, 360-degree view of patient’s clinical history, SDOHs and risk – tied back to the mastered patients, members, providers and facilities.
  • Data driven regulatory value set management centralizes labor intensive effort at the data level vs. hard-coding at the analytic or presentation layer for each metric. Creates an auditable defense for agencies such as CMS, NCQA, and AHRQ.

There's a quote in Lord of the Rings “It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.” Although it seems a daunting prospect, taking an enterprise approach to leveraging data will soon be an imperative as we enter the future. Now is the time to start preparing – and we stand ready to join you on your greatest data adventure!