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Clinical Data Requires Nimble Navigation

Michael Zeis, for HealthLeaders Media, July 25, 2012

This article appears in the July 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

"I sense a data theme throughout the results," says Craig E. Samitt, MD, president and CEO of Dean Health System in Madison, Wis., a physician-owned integrated delivery system with 60 healthcare facilities in southern and central Wisconsin.

The 2012 HealthLeaders Media Clinical Quality and Safety Survey shows widespread use of electronic health records, which, for those who work to get it going, can provide a data foundation to be tapped to prevent errors and support clinical decisions. Three quarters of respondents are using EHRs now. One-quarter (28%) of those EHR users have taken the next step and use analytics for such applications as clinician alerts. Within a year, the number of EHR users who are also using analytics will double. Says Samitt, "If we presume that technology provides data and data gives us information to improve quality, it is a critical next step that organizations are moving to analytics, not just technology."

According to Chris Snyder, DO, chief medical informatics officer and chief quality officer at Peninsula Regional Medical Center, a 365-licensed-bed hospital in Salisbury, Md., "The value added from data is going to drive quality."

By and large, metrics associated with the development and testing of new medical procedures are process measures. The value-based purchasing model is designed to reward outcomes, though, so the healthcare industry seeks a different kind of measure.

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