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Why healthcare data is important beyond Clinical and why vendors make it more difficult than ever to access your own data

Data created as part of the overall healthcare system now has value beyond earlier expectations. As the adoption rate of EMR systems accelerated to almost 90%, end users have realized more of what’s missing.


Simply put – interoperable communications. Easy to say, but very hard to implement. Not from a technical point of view, interoperable systems touch us every day. Interoperability, as currently defined on a national basis, is a business issue. The EMR and other healthcare IT vendors are using your data to keep your company hostage within their system. Instead of providing outstanding value and listening to what the healthcare community needs, they have taken the position that they control the confidential data by individual patient that you input into a licensed version of their software.


In LTPAC (Long Term Post-Acute Care), the major vendors have a very interesting position. Of the two largest players in this community, both of whom claim open architecture and access to data, those of you using their systems know nothing could be further from the truth.


They get around the current mandates for free and unfettered access by giving you access to some data but not all. Even with the access to “Some” data, vendors try to force users to pay unreasonable fees to access their own data just because its trapped inside a vendor licensed system. Their agenda, for the most part is to keep your data through restricted access and retain you as a client. Sounds like a hostage situation to me!


What everyone is missing is that valuable healthcare data exists not only in EHR / EMR systems, but in other IT related systems as well.


Data from clinical systems, including therapeutic, hospice, home health, pharmacy, labs, elderly care, scheduling, food and dietary services, financial, practice management and operations all have hidden analytical value on their own. Together this vast data set that exists within your organization could produce immeasurable benefits when analytics create full transparency. That value is the emerging ability to have a clear line of sight to all your data, create a common language data base and then apply advanced analytics to that data. Ideally, the advanced analytics are offered in the form of pre-determined KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) or real time google type search capabilities.


Once you can access your data, you can transform it into valuable KPI reports that will support the transition from Fee-For-Service to Value based healthcare, bundled payments, contract risk management, revenue cycle management, increase the quality of healthcare and decrease cost. Who doesn’t think that’s important? The vendors themselves, because it does not fit into their agenda. Clear line of sight to your data from all sources, in all formats allows you identify waste, underperformance of individual team members or departments, unnecessary duplication, fraud, organization process, workflow and systems upgrades.


The barrier to all of this is your primary EMR / EHR vendor. Now each vendor will dispute this allegation. So, here is the challenge, let’s do a simple test. Contact your primary EMR / EHR vendor. Tell them you want unfettered access to all your data in electronic form. You can tell them you will be working with a data management company that will use the data internally for analytical purposes. Then see what happens and the response you will get. Come back here to this spot and post your results. Let the cards fall where they may.


Good luck to us all.

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