The New Stories Data Can Tell

In order to make the best possible decision during a crisis, healthcare leaders need reliable, up-to-date information delivered quickly. Delays and inaccuracies in getting that information can mean lives lost. Omni-HealthData, from Information Builders recently introduced enhanced capabilities to make it even easier for healthcare providers to get a single, high-quality view of patients, physicians and facilities.

Omni-HealthData is the result of a close collaboration between Information Builders and St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN). It is an application that integrates data from physician offices, hospitals, nursing homes and numerous other sources. It is able to tap into EHRs, financial systems, HR platforms and even public data repositories like US Census and Death Indices. This wealth of data is normalized, analyzed and delivered to end-users via out-of-the-box dashboards.

Armed with these dashboards, leaders are able well-informed decisions.

“We’ve been on this journey with Omni-HealthData for a while now,” explained Dennis McLaughlin, Vice President of Operations and Product Management at Information Builders. “We are collecting and consolidating data from all kinds of resources – clinical data, financial information, and a lot of other disparate systems so that we can paint as complete a picture as possible. We apply our expertise in contextualizing data to really make a difference in healthcare.”

Information Builders have been in the data business for a long time. In recent years, they have been able to tap into new sources of information to help healthcare organizations gain new insights. If you think of data as pages in a book, what the team as Information Builders is doing, is adding more pages so that the story is more complete. In fact, in many cases the system is helping tell new stories that are helping to reshape perspectives.

A key component to their system is the ability to gather data from many sources. That, of course, means tackling the challenge of interoperability. “We have embraced FHIR from day 1,” said McMcLaughlin. “This makes it easy for us to work with other systems and vendors.”

For example, one customer wanted to improve patient engagement, so they leveraged Omni-HealthData to gain insight into their patient populations – and were able to tune their outreach to address the specific patient needs they identified. In some cases that was as simple as knowing which patients were due for an appointment. In other cases the data revealed other needs like educational materials.

Like many of us, McLaughlin was disappointed when the HIMSS20 conference was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“What we would have really liked to have shown at HIMSS20 is our ability to use the new data points we’re collecting to bring new valuable information to the EHR,” Dennis said. “We certainly don’t want to replace dashboards native to EHRs. But we’re able to enhance those dashboards and create a more complete picture of the patient that really helps in decision making and treatment.”

The Information Builders team was also hoping to show HIMSS20 attendees how Omni-HealthData could be used to address social determinants of health (SDOH) – a challenging problem that requires data from beyond the four walls of healthcare providers.

A year ago. they noticed their customers who were in the early stages of SDOH initiatives were struggling with data collection – especially with data sources that were not under the customer’s control. The team worked to incorporate publicly available information into Omni-HealthData.

Since everything is already geo-coded in their system, McLaughlin and his team were able to quickly build dashboards that could identify food deserts and areas where there is a lack of transportation. When combined with patient information (home/work addresses), they are able to identify patients that may struggle with treatment plans or who may need assistance to make their appointments on time.

The hope is that these new, more comprehensive patient snapshots will help clinicians guide treatment and personalized care.

So what’s next for McLaughlin and the team working on Omni-HealthData?

Perhaps most exciting is their recent announcement that they’ve been selected to work with The Health Collaborative (THC), a nonprofit health and healthcare improvement organization based in Cincinnati. (You can read the press release here.) They will be working with THC on “Health Information Exchange (HIE) 2.0” – breaking down data silos to bring quality, trusted data for easy analysis that improves the whole healthcare ecosystem. Their goal is to provide a longitudinal patient view to help guide care with complete patient profiles.

In other words, they are looking to use data to tell a more complete story of patients so that they can receive better care.

This article is part of the #HealthIT100in100

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About the author

Colin Hung

Colin Hung

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.