Healthcare Global caught up with Brian Foy, Chief Product Officer at Q-Centrix, to discuss data challenges, the pandemic and how Q-Centrix can unlock the value of clinical data.
What key challenges exist around collecting patient data? What impact did COVID-19 have on this?
“The number one challenge with collecting clinical data is that, because of the fact that it is largely stored in unstructured formats, it requires highly skilled, clinically trained people to collect. Prior to 2021 there was a shortage of people with clinical skills, like nurses, to both provide care to patients and perform data collection for hospitals. The disruption caused by the pandemic exacerbated these issues.
“In conversations with our more than 1,200 healthcare partners, the overwhelming concern related to patient data collection is the fidelity of the clinical data. It’s not uncommon for hospitals to have disparate systems both technologically and operationally that result in data integrity issues throughout system facilities or departments. At Q-Centrix, we believe that clinical data is the most valuable asset because it drives improvements to patient care decisions, protocols, and outcomes. So, safeguarding its fidelity is always critical—but even more so when clinicians are making real-time decisions to fight a global pandemic.
“The fidelity of clinical data requires a seamless combination of expertise and technology. The constraints introduced by the pandemic challenged this combination in a few noteworthy ways.
“First, there were fewer skilled clinicians dedicated to data capture. At Q-Centrix, we often liken the work of our clinicians who capture this data to forensic scientists because it paints the picture of how rigorous the curation process for this data can be. When systems were forced to redirect all their clinicians to patient care, data capture was left to fewer and often unfamiliar team members. At the same time, we were introducing new, critical data that would swiftly define care protocols.
“As a member of this community, we wanted to help. In the early months of the pandemic, partners were struggling to capture the data. So, in addition to offering the team members to curate the data for our partners, we built a free, intuitive tool for their teams to easily capture the data.”
What can hospitals use patient data for to improve patient outcomes?
“Clinical data is generated by the hospital whenever care is delivered—from cardiology to oncology. What we mean by ‘curating the data’ is that we’re structuring a massive amount of unstructured data. Most health systems send this data – regardless of service line—to third parties, the government or peer organisations, to meet specific reporting requirements. These organisations then report back to their participants after several months of review. Participation in these programs allow heath systems to be educated on the best practices in care and potentially receive accolades or financial incentives for outstanding performance. However, this data is incredibly rich and can be used for other purposes besides simply reporting to third parties.
“A small subset of the market takes the next step—bringing these rich data sets back into their data warehouse. When health systems roundtrip their clinical data, bringing it back to their data warehouse, they can do much more with it. It is possible to gain exponentially more insights in real-time, stratifying the data against other data sets within their organisation. A recent case study highlighted how clinical data can help organisations better understand patient outcomes by specific patient populations, allowing providers to drive improvements when inequities were identified. The opportunities to better understand patient care are endless.”
Published in Healthcare Global. Read the article here.