Maximizing Healthcare Data: The Beginning and the End

It’s the first thing that new patients undergo: the detailed and sometimes arduous task of providing all their necessary information, from personal identification to medical profiles to treatment histories. Data is also what drives practices, from knowing physician preferences and priorities to becoming aware of practice no-show rates and patient tendencies.

Depending on how it’s viewed, healthcare data can be an invaluable asset to a practice, the lifeline to an ongoing doctor/patient relationship, or it can be a necessary evil, mere impersonal facts and figures to be collected and maintained. Maximizing healthcare data can lead to better patient health and better practice performance. Mismanaging it can lead to headaches and problems for everyone.


Quantity information is good

There are few places where information is more important than in the healthcare industry, where data, or lack of it, can literally mean the difference between life and death. Like a detective pursuing a hot case, the more adept a physician is at collecting and analyzing data on a given patient, the more successful he’ll be at assessing his patient’s present condition, understanding his past and predicting his future.

Lack of data, on the other hand, can compromise patient health and decrease office efficiency. In his article, “More Is Better When it Comes to Patient Information,” Daniel Pidutti, Senior Director of Healthcare Solutions at EMC Corporation, states, “We know that an incomplete view of a patient’s medical record can be disastrous, both for quality of care and patient safety. And as the IDC Health Insights white paper concludes, some 18% or more of medical errors are the result of not having appropriate access to patient information.”

Maximizing healthcare data begins with quantity.


Quality of information is better

But mere facts and the preponderance of them doesn’t always equate to better patient understanding, enhanced care, or practice functionality. The objective isn’t just collecting data; it’s collecting the type of quality data that gives the best picture of the patient’s and practice’s truest character and condition.

On the Information Statement regarding Patient-Physician Communication found on the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons website, it notes, “It is the quality and not necessarily the quantity of physician-patient communication that is vital.” It adds that quality is defined by “how well the physician listens and diagnoses complaints, as well as how much the physician involves the patients in decisions and keeps them updated.”

Maximizing healthcare data is greatly enhanced by ensuring that the quantity is quality.


Optimized information is best

But, as the saying goes, you can have too much of a good thing. Simply having access to and utilizing quality information can be an end in itself. Something constructive must be done with it. And relevant information today may become irrelevant tomorrow as practice objectives and procedures change as well as patient preferences and tendencies. Data doesn’t add significant value unless it’s used in ways to enhance revenue for providers or improve care for patients.

Sandeep Green Vaswani, MBA and Senior Vice President of the Institute for Healthcare Optimization, writes about the importance of optimization in his article, “Healthcare Optimization Requires Better Data.” He states, “As the nation’s healthcare system shifts from being paid for procedures to being paid for population health, its attention will also shift to healthcare optimization.” He continues, “Healthcare systems must maximize quality, safety, and efficiency by applying proven techniques of operations management and patient flow to hospitals as well as outpatient facilities and medical practices.”

The end goal in maximizing healthcare data is optimization.

At Opargo, we’re big on data. It’s our key concern. And we don’t just collect it. We do something with it, identifying practice appointment types, times, and tendencies and then booking them based on office priorities. This way, practices can improve efficiency, maximize staff and resources, gain greater control of operations, accelerate revenue, and provide patients greater quality care. We don’t only look at data from a quantity and quality standpoint, but more importantly from an optimization perspective.

How do you optimize data in your practice?



Posted in: Data