As Medicare and private payers move toward more value-based care reimbursements, physicians need information to both accurately report data and monitor complex patients across multiple providers. But with interoperability still years away, doctors often struggle to get the information they need. Physicians face many challenges when it comes to tracking quality data and finding solutions for getting the information needed even when technology isn’t compatible.
Medical Economics spoke with Jay Anders, MD, the chief medical officer at Medicomp Systems, a technology company that provides medical data solutions, about the challenges doctors face in tracking data across the healthcare industry and sorting through it once they have it.
Medical Economics: What are the biggest technological challenges facing physicians at smaller practices as the industry moves toward value-based care and the data tracking/reporting it requires?
Jay Anders: Physicians are struggling to figure out how to manage the vast amount of data being dumped on them, thanks to the “success” of interoperability initiatives. Advancements in technology have made it easier to exchange clinical data, and, providers are now more willing to share data because value-based care models incent well-coordinated care. However, many physicians, especially those in smaller practices with more limited resources, have very few tools to efficiently organize the data into actionable information that enhances patient care.
Physicians are also being asked to track and report on more and more clinical measures, many of which change regularly to address the latest regulatory and reimbursement requirements. Each time a new initiative is introduced, doctors must adjust their workflows and perform additional tasks that are disconnected from everything else in their workflow. Despite the existence of tools that could improve workflows efficiencies, many practices do not have the financial resources to invest in these technologies. As a result, many physicians end up spending more time figuring out how to fulfill reporting requirements than they do delivering patient care.
ME: What are the obstacles to tracking patient data when a medically complex patient is crossing through various doctors’ offices and health systems?
JA: Today healthcare has an abundance of clinical data on patients, thanks to the widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs). Despite the wealth of data, however, physicians often don’t have ready access to the right data at the right time for good clinical decision-making. Interoperability advances are making it easier to share data across doctors’ offices and health systems, but too often the data in sent in chunks that must be manually interpreted and organized by the receiving provider.
We now need technologies to help providers take their highly disorganized incoming data and format it in such a way that makes it easily searchable and available to clinicians at the point of care. One way to do this is to leverage technology that intelligently identifies, interprets, and links medical concepts and maps them to standard nomenclature, such as ICD-10, SNOMED, RxNorm, and LOINC, and then enables them to filter and see the lab results, medications, orders and co-morbidities for a specific diagnosis.