A healthcare organization’s EMR is the technical backbone that helps to drive logistics, efficiencies, and the overall patient experience. And while these accomplishments already make the EMR an invaluable tool across the industry, there are more opportunities to leverage what it’s already bringing to the table.
As we see growth in things like predictive analytics, data-driven clinical decision-making, and the constant need to build a better patient experience, the EMR may take center stage. The fuel that drives these innovations is data, and much of that data is already being collected by existing EMR systems. And by knowing how to convert that data into valuable and actionable insight, healthcare organizations stand to gain big.
In a recent webinar titled The Modern Healthcare CIO, Subra Sripada, Partner and Leader of the Health Technology Practice, Guidehouse, and former CIO of Beaumont Health, shared some of her thoughts about how this all can come to fruition.
Big Results By Thinking Small
Over the past 10 to 15 years, we’ve been implementing EMRs like wildfire. And while this has proven time and again to have been the right strategic move, it has left little time for key leaders and decision makers to fully grasp the lay of the land. If we’re being honest, with rare exceptions, we don’t really know the full scope of the data that exists that is being captured by these systems. And to take that a step further, we may not fully know how to utilize this data best or even what questions we should be asking.
The challenge moving forward for CMIOs and other key leaders is how do we get smaller in terms of knowing more about the validity of this data and what to do with it? How can we leverage this data to do what we’re already doing great—better?
When we do this, we can start to move away from 2-D reports and evolve towards a self-service that’s more focused on things like affinity group data, leverages the vertical medical record for its intended purposes, and embraces the true potential of predictive analytics.
Lay the Foundation for Interdepartmental Synergy
Turning EMR data into valuable insights starts with a strong foundation built with interdepartmental processes in mind. The basis for this foundation is data governance; specifically, a compendium of clear and agreed upon data definitions. This prevents issues where, say, finance sees a data point one way, but the clinical folks see it a different way, and the quality folks define it differently, and so on.
All of this begins with approaching data and predictive analytics by looking at your objectives first. Understand what you’re trying to automate before you automate it. This creates a unique opportunity for the CMIO to step in as the data steward and the proverbial glue between the different departments. By having a unified champion of the process, a cohesive and codified system can develop.
Do Your Homework
The biggest piece of advice for anyone looking to turn their EMR data into valuable information is to do their homework. Understand what you’re trying to solve or build on first. The technology and tools are there; but it’s a matter of effectively operationalizing these resources to see the real gains.
If you’d like to hear more about this discussion, we’d encourage you to check out the full webinar here now.
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