Monday, February 20, 2023

‘Data minimalization’ could be key to helping doctors through data overload

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Now years into the so-called “data revolution,” the healthcare system is still working out the best way to use that information to improve patient outcomes. That’s particularly true in the population health and value-based care space where scores of data points can be flooding healthcare providers. Technology has surfaced as a way to help manage and organize data for clinicians. 

A panel at a ViVE partner event sat down to discuss the future of analytics in population health.  

“If a provider is at the point of care, they are typically constrained on time, capacity, likely resources,” Kevin Coloton, founder and CEO of Curation, said during the panel. “They have a lot of other stressors on their time. One of the key challenges is volume and the ability to sift through massive amounts of information.”

Looking at the issue through a technology lens, he said there are two ways to look at data: data maximization and data minimization.

“Data maximalism is focused on generating as much analysis as possible using very high precision tools to cull through medical records and retrospective chart reviews and CCDA documents to compile this massive list of potential. Those organizations … get focused on the potential in the value of the data. The challenge becomes, how do you use it?

“Data minimalism is literally, what is the minimum data set a provider needs at the right moment to act, to elevate the care of the patient? And if that happens appropriately, the patient gets better care, better outcomes and appropriate financial reimbursement.”

Ben Quirk, chief strategy officer of CareMax and founding partner of CareOptimize, said that over the last few decades the healthcare industry’s perspective has changed on how to best use patient information. 

“When managed care was the fad back in the 90s and early 2000s, it was all about utilization management and making sure that the patients went to physical therapy before they went to orthopedic surgery. It was much more around cost containment. This new wave of value-based care is really about empowering physicians at point of care to provide better care for the patients.”

Quirk’s company works with dual-eligible patients, meaning patients are covered by both Medicare and Medicaid. He noted that this population often has a lot of healthcare data. 

“Keeping that together and curated for the physician is incredibly important. We don’t want the physician to be looking through charts. We want them to be really focused on that patient at point of care or between visits, and it would be impossible to do without technology that brings it all together and creates a cohesive chart for that physician to go ahead and look at.”

Dual-eligible patients aren’t the only population where health data can be overwhelming and often disjointed. 

“A lot of folks, when you think about autism, I think, it’s really natural to think about the behavioral health side,” Jia Jia Ye, cofounder and CEO of Springtide, said during the panel. “That’s the thing that immediately comes to mind. But in fact, kids with autism tend to have really high and complex comorbidities on the medical side as well.

“So upwards of 70% have comorbidities across sleep, feeding, GI, psychiatric issues, and the solutions that exist today are incredibly focused on point solutions. So you’ve got the therapy providers on one side, and then you’ve got a huge portfolio of medical doctors that you send your kid to … so it is very hard and very fragmented for families.

“What you see is then, the result of that, is that there are tremendous costs. So there is tremendous cost to payers and there is tremendous cost to the system.”

One common thread between patient populations is designing for the end user. Coloton said it’s crucial to keep the provider’s perspective front of mind. 

“It’s really important [that] the data minimalism concept is really about what does a provider need?” Coloton said. “A sincere focus on the end user’s actions. And if you look over the shoulder of a provider typically, and they open one of the major EMR screens that has a patient’s summary, we’re not surprised to see 50 to 70 items that need to be addressed.

“Now, if they had 10 minutes, are they going to do five a minute? It’s just not plausible … Let’s really organize it so that it’s actionable and related directly to the strategic priorities they have as a practice, and the needs of a patient, and just deliver those at the point of care.”


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