Some leaders believe the mark of a successful initiative — especially one involving something as complex as an analytics infrastructure — is that it doesn’t get in the way of providing care; that it enables information to continue flowing seamlessly without interruption.
If that’s the case, then the mark of an extremely successful project is one in which physicians don’t even realize it’s happening, according to Jeffrey Allen, MD, Chief Medical Officer at the Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association (GRIPA). “From a clinical perspective, it should be invisible. We ask for the data, and it’s there — and it’s correct.”
In a recent webinar, Dr. Allen and two of his colleagues — Geremy Gersh, VP of IT, and Jennifer Briggs, Chief Operating and Financial Officer — talked about the organization’s journey to move analytics, including patient matching, to the cloud. The initiative, which happened “behind the scenes,” has already yielded positive results in terms of efficiency, cost savings, and trust among the many physicians and care managers who are part of GRIPA. Based in Rochester, N.Y., the organization is affiliated with Rochester Regional Health and manages value-based programs for 300,000 lives.
With this type of volume, the ability to present “the full story” for each patient (meaning all of the information needed by a provider during a visit) is imperative. But when you’re pulling data from hundreds of sources and using “antiquated system,” the task becomes seemingly impossible, said Gersh. After joining GRIPA about a year ago, he quickly learned that a change was needed. “We wanted more robust data to make sure we could round out who a person is.”
What didn’t help matters is that the vendor GRIPA had in place was charging a significant amount for customization — on top of that, IT had an individual who spent half of every month trying to reconcile patient data. “As a small organization, we have to be very mindful of the dollars we spend,” noted Gersh.
In the current environment, that simply wasn’t happening.
And so, when Gersh presented this information to Briggs, he was given the green light to search for a new partner. It didn’t last long; a proof of concept performed by Verato, a provider of cloud-based patient matching solutions, showed that GRIPA could significantly increase its match rate, while still delivering reliable results. Based on Gersh’s recommendation, the selection was made, and IT was able to get right to work.
“We had been using the same vendor for so long and had just gotten caught up in our normal line of business,” said Briggs. “We thought having someone spend half of their time doing patient resolution was the norm, and was something we needed to be able to maintain and build into our business model.”
Instead, GRIPA’s leaders realized they could reallocate the half-FTE being used for manual patient resolution toward “more meaningful work within our care management area.” For example, leveraging analytics to identify high-risk patients and engage with them appropriately.
“That’s why it’s so important that our reporting is credible and reliable — so that physicians and care managers can feel confident using the information in how they perform care,” Briggs said. “We spend a lot of time focused on quality of care and quality metrics. If the data doesn’t match the patients that physicians are seeing in their office, it can lead to poor trust and lack of confidence in our product.”
It can also have financial ramifications, said Briggs, who discussed the potential “downstream effect” of incorrect information.
“If you give physicians data that doesn’t correlate with what they think they’re doing in terms of quality and cost-saving measures, and if you don’t present data that they can act on immediately, it breeds impatience, distrust, and a lack of cooperation.”
On the other hand, having a robust analytics infrastructure can help ensure providers are able to reach out to the right patients, and start to implement a strategy to improve their health. It can also prove valuable in the event of a pandemic, during which the focus can change overnight, even from an analytics perspective.
“We went from being focused on a core set of quality measures to, ‘How can we work with providers and care managers and equip them with information to help manage Covid-positive patients?’” Briggs said. During the past few months, GRIPA has been able to utilize its cloud-based platform to identify patients who are being tested for Covid-19, and whether they are receiving the proper care.
And although all of these factors are extremely important, the bottom line, as with any initiative, must be top of mind.
“Everything boils down to dollars, no matter what initiative you take on,” said Briggs. “What’s it going to cost to implement it? What financial benefit will come out of it? That’s what you need to think about.”
To view the archive of this webinar — How Moving to Cloud Analytics and EMPI Allows for a More Effective Covid-19 Response (Sponsored by Verato) — please click here.