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Clinical Information Systems The importance of organized and trended data

Addressing the multi-source, multi-attribute information acquired across the continuum of care is integral for healthcare providers and their patients.

By James G. Spahn, M.D., FACS T

he vast amount of data collected throughout the healthcare system could undoubtedly provide facilities with the knowledge and opportunity to target a potential health problem in its early stages with accurate risk assessments and preventive care. Unfortunately, the means by which this data is currently compiled and utilized is falling short in application. If clinicians do not possess thorough assessment tools, they cannot accurately assess a patient’s care and/or treatment needs in a timely manner, resulting in a failure to match patient acuity levels with effective care and accurate reimbursement.

In practice, judgment

James G. Spahn, M.D., FACS, is the founder of WoundVision, a pioneer in advanced wound- detection technology. For more information on WoundVision solutions: www.rsleads.com/102ht-202

exercised by a clinician in the choice of prevention and/ or treatment plans for an individual patient is based, to an extent, on theoretical considerations derived from an understanding of the na-

ture of the illness. But, it is based also on an appreciation of statistical information about diagnosis, treatment and prognosis acquired either through personal experience or through medical education. The important argument is whether such information should be stored in a rather informal way in the clinician’s mind, or if it should be collected and reported in a systemic way. No clinician – no matter how thorough and intelligent he or she may be – has the ability to personally acquire enough factual information when compared to that which can be obtained from technology and statistical models. It is partly by the collection, analysis and reporting of statistical information that a common body of knowledge is built and solidifi ed. The truth is that the amount of on-hand knowledge needed to deliver appropriate pre- ventive and/or treatment care has become so vast that even highly specialized clinicians have trouble keeping current with new information relevant to their profes- sional area of focus. Addressing the multi-source, multi-attribute informa- tion acquired across the continuum of care is integral for

38 February 2011

healthcare providers and their patients. As they adopt new methods, providers must help integrate and analyze data based on each patient and his or her given situation. Upon analysis, effective care plans that address all the potential risk factors for each patient can then be extrapolated to ensure proper prevention and/or treatment and desired results. Additionally, it is important for caregivers to have access to patient data at the point of care. When face to face with a patient, a clinician must be able to obtain and utilize all available medical information to make critical determinations regarding the direction of patient care.

The truth is that the amount of on-hand knowledge needed to deliver appropriate preventive and/or treatment care has become so vast that even highly specialized clinicians have trouble keeping current with new information relevant to their professional area of focus.

The organization and trending of data is a relatively new area of activity when it comes to patient analysis, management and overall treatment. During this process, a software solution is generated to assist the caregiver in designing an acceptable outcome for the patient. Ideally, these refi ned data processes can be implemented into a system that gives healthcare providers the freedom and confi dence to authorize treatment for their indi-

HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY www.healthmgttech.com

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