Today’s EHR and HIT news includes customer acquisition news from Sandlot Solutions as well as partnership news between WorkForce Software and Avantas. There is also news of a $2 Million award from the National Institutes of Health to Sutter Health, IBM and Geisinger Health System to Study Heart Failure Prediction.
Augusta Health Chooses Sandlot Solutions to Improve Patient Health and Achieve Stage 2 Meaningful Use Criteria
Augusta Health, a nationally recognized non-profit community hospital in Virginia, and Sandlot Solutions have announced an agreement to improve the quality of care for communities served by Augusta Health. Sandlot will provide Augusta Health with the technology to connect physicians for more coordinated care and support the health system and its affiliated physicians in achieving Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria.
“In order to meaningfully improve patient health while managing the overall cost of patient care, providers realize that they need robust technology solutions,” said Joe Casper, CEO of Sandlot Solutions. “Augusta Health is one of the highest-performing community hospitals in the nation, and we’re honored that they’ve entrusted us to help them harness the power of patient data. Our organizations share a commitment to excellence that, together, will help us achieve the goal of providing patients with improved healthcare and clinical outcomes.”
Augusta Health will leverage Sandlot’s expertise in health information exchange (HIE), clinical analytics and care management, enabling enhanced clinical collaboration and interoperability with physician and hospital electronic health records (EHRs). Shifting from a health data infrastructure where patient data is stored in disparate silos to an integrated, secure HIE will enable Augusta Health to exchange relevant clinical content at the point of care and ultimately realize the benefits enjoyed by other top-tier organizations that benefit from Sandlot’s Software-as-a-Service solutions, such as North Texas Specialty Physicians (NTSP) and Baylor Quality Alliance. In 2012, Sandlot worked collaboratively with NTSP’s Medicare Advantage members to reduce 30-day readmissions for the same condition to 2.71 percent and for other conditions to 9.38 percent, compared to the national Medicare all-cause readmission rate of 18.4 percent.
“We will work with Sandlot Solutions to measurably improve the quality and quantity of clinical data provided to caregivers across our community,” said Bruce Hall, CIO of Augusta Health. “They can help us achieve our goals to provide patients and physicians with information to allow them to make the best decisions for their care and treatment through features such as seamless integration with our Meditech environment and collection of both clinical and claims data to provide relevant, targeted patient information at the point of care.”
Augusta Health and Sandlot Solutions began their work in September, with the first community HIE components expected to be operational at the beginning of 2014. Today’s announcement marks the most recent collaboration between Sandlot Solutions and progressive healthcare providers, payers and accountable care organizations (ACOs) to improve the health of patients and communities while also bending the healthcare delivery cost curve.
Avantas and WorkForce Software Partner to Deliver Powerful Workforce Management Alternative to Healthcare Industry
WorkForce Software, the leading provider of workforce management solutions for organizations with complex labor policies and stringent compliance demands, today announced details of its strategic partnership with Avantas, a leading provider of strategic labor management technology, services, and strategies for the healthcare industry.
Healthcare organizations typically operate under extremely complex and dynamic workforce management and labor scheduling conditions. The need to deliver exceptional quality care is paramount, but healthcare providers must also be mindful of operating expenses and make effective and efficient use of staffing resources. Through this partnership, WorkForce Software and Avantas have developed a joint offering designed to help healthcare clients achieve these challenging yet critical goals.
The combination of WorkForce Software’s highly configurable time and attendance capabilities and Avantas’ complete scheduling and daily productivity solution, Smart Square®, allows healthcare clients to fully automate even their most complex workforce management requirements. Complemented by Avantas’ signature HELM™ consulting services, the cloud-based workforce management platform creates a more unified view of the workforce, delivers tighter control over labor costs, and provides a modern user experience critical in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing healthcare environment.
“At Avantas, we’re committed to driving innovation and finding new ways to simplify and streamline the day-to-day operations of our healthcare clients,” said Chris Fox, CEO of Avantas. “Through our relationship with WorkForce Software, we can dramatically improve our ability to meet that goal by delivering seamlessly integrated, cloud-based solutions to effectively manage their most important resource – their workforce.”
“WorkForce Software partners with organizations that share our commitment to helping clients overcome their biggest workforce management challenges through innovative web-based solutions,” said Kevin Choksi, CEO and co-founder of WorkForce Software. “Through its best-in-class healthcare scheduling solution and workforce management plan design expertise, Avantas enables us to deliver a comprehensive service offering precisely tuned to meet the unique needs of healthcare delivery organizations.”
$2 Million Awarded to Sutter Health, IBM and Geisinger Health System to Study Heart Failure Prediction
Sutter Health, IBM Research and Geisinger Health System announce the award of a $2 million joint research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop new and sophisticated big data analytics and application methods that could help doctors detect heart failure years sooner than is now possible.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death, disability and costly hospitalizations in the United States. One in five adults will develop heart failure, a type of heart disease that remains nearly impossible to detect early. About half of people who have heart failure die within five years of diagnosis.
The Research Project
Sutter Health, IBM and Geisinger Health System will use the NIH funding to develop practical and cost-effective early-detection methods for application in primary care practices with an electronic health record (EHR) system. The research aims to:
- Create a deeper understanding of how to use the data contained within EHRs and advanced analytics to help detect heart failure earlier.
- Identify best practices that help health systems nationwide integrate big data analytics into primary care. This “Smarter Care” approach will help doctors and caregivers use evidence-based insights to better partner with patients and identify more tailored treatment options and holistic approaches to disease management that are personalized for each individual.
EHR data provides a rich, expansive view of a patient’s health history that may include a variety of big data, including demographics, medical history, medication and allergies, laboratory test results, and more. Sophisticated analysis of this data could help doctors identify patient’s risk of heart failure and reveal signals and patterns that are indicative of such outcome. Once patients are identified as high-risk for heart failure, physicians can better monitor their status, help motivate a patient to make potentially life-saving lifestyle changes and test clinical interventions to potentially slow or possibly reverse heart failure progression.
“Heart failure will remain among our nation’s most deadly and costly diseases unless we discover new methods to detect the illness much earlier,” said Walter “Buzz” Stewart, Ph.D., MPH, chief research and development officer for Sutter Health and principal investigator for the project. “Sophisticated analysis of EHR data could reveal the unique presentation of these symptoms at earlier stages and allow doctors and patients to work together sooner to do something about it. Through this research we could transform how heart failure is managed in the future.”
“IBM is applying advanced tools for analyzing medical data, including text, and reviewing a patient’s health records for new insight,” said Shahram Ebadollahi, Ph.D., program director, Health Informatics Research for IBM T.J. Watson Research Center and co-principal investigator for the project. “By pairing IBM’s expertise in Big Data analytics with the domain knowledge and data of our healthcare partners this project will result in the development of new analytic algorithms for more accurate detection of the early onset of heart failure. Ultimately, we hope to advance a smarter approach to care for patients with heart failure.”
Steve Steinhubl, M.D., a cardiologist member of the research team from Geisinger, added, “Our earlier research showed that signs and symptoms of heart failure in patients are often documented years before a diagnosis and that the pattern of documentation can offer clinically useful signals for early detection of this deadly disease. Now we have the technology to enable earlier diagnosis and intervention of serious conditions like heart failure, leading to better outcomes for patients.”
The three parties began their initial research in 2009 and published a series of findings in medical journals and conferences.
- Prediction modeling using EHR data: challenges, strategies, and a comparison of machine learning approaches
- Automatic identification of heart failure diagnostic criteria, using text analysis of clinical notes from electronic health records
- Combining knowledge and data driven insights for identifying risk factors using electronic health records
The NIH funding allows the team to look deeper into the progression of factors that are predictors of heart failure so clinicians can implement timely care-management plans to improve health outcomes. They will begin testing predictive methods for heart failure in clinical practice over the next several years. Their findings may also provide insights for providers to use EHR data to improve health outcomes for other chronic conditions.
Despite major improvements in the treatment of most cardiac disorders, heart failure remains the leading cause of hospitalization for Americans older than 65. The combined costs of heart failure in the United States were estimated at $34.4 billion in 2011, and experts predict the number of people diagnosed with heart failure to double by 2030.
Today, doctors typically diagnose heart failure during later stages of the disease’s progression, after irreversible organ damage.