Health Care Registries Turn Data into Knowledge

As the quest for more data in healthcare continues to grow, there are many ways to track specific diseases and outcomes. Data is used to monitor trends in population health and quality measures by creating databases that group similar data together. A registry is a true database that can be used to aggregate required data elements and additional data as needed. Most healthcare organizations are using registries as required by clinical research, state level Department of health, and the CDC. I see increased potential for using these registry concepts for internal hospital operations and population health as well.

Registries are used to collect data on patients with specific diseases, birth defects, the use of procedures and devices, traumatic injuries and risk demographics, tumors, transplants, and immunizations. This data is invaluable to hospitals who are constantly trying to understand their patient populations and needs for services. Health information exchanges (HIE) would be a great place to look at optimizing patient registry data to collect and share data for patients living within a region. While registries are de-identified so they will not contain any specific patient details, they tell the story of who lives in our communities or regions, what chronic illnesses they have, what demographics they identify with, and what types of treatment are being sought by patients.

Now that we are coding with ICD-10, we have additional detail elements that can be added to registry-type reports to better track the prevalence of diseases and surgical procedures performed in our hospitals. We can even gather more data for trauma registries to include the sometimes laughable details surrounding circumstances of injuries (insert wacky ICD-10 code jokes here).

But in all seriousness, I had an ah-ha moment the other day when reviewing registry requirements for PQRS and The Joint Commission. I was looking for ideas on quality dashboards and started to look to registries for ideas.

When we start to group, label, and track all of the different data that is collected in the hospital, we start to generate actionable information. Having this data in a database or registry gives us the power of knowledge when we can drill-down on age demographics, socio-economic factors, chronicity of diseases, at-risk populations, and the correlations between all of these factors and more. With population health being a major focus in today’s healthcare environments, having this information and knowledge is immensely important. It helps us not only meet regulatory requirements but also gives us the tools to ensure we meet our obligations to promoting the health of our community populations.

If you’d like to receive future HIM posts by Erin in your inbox, you can subscribe to future HIM Scene posts here.

About the author

Erin Head

Erin Head

Erin Head is the Director of Health Information Management (HIM) and Quality for an acute care hospital in Titusville, FL. She is a renowned speaker on a variety of healthcare and social media topics and currently serves as CCHIIM Commissioner for AHIMA. She is heavily involved in many HIM and HIT initiatives such as information governance, health data analytics, and ICD-10 advocacy. She is active on social media on Twitter @ErinHead_HIM and LinkedIn. Subscribe to Erin's latest HIM Scene posts here.