The importance of actionable data

While hospitals generate mountains of data, we’ve already established that it’s hard to extract it, it’s usually of low quality and it’s not easy to trust anything it might be telling you. Even if you are able to access and obtain the data, it’s likely to be weeks or even months old by the time you receive it.

Add it all up and it’s tough to derive any actionable intelligence from all that data you’ve got lying around inside your EMR.

So let’s discuss what taking action looks like when you’re actually able to create high-quality, near real-time data sets and compare them to an index set.

An actionable spectrum

When thinking about using data to drive decision-making and make clinical interventions, it’s helpful to imagine a spectrum organized by level of effort needed to implement high-value changes. On one side sit things that deliver high value with the least amount of effort — the low-hanging fruits, if you will, that will always be the first priority to act on. On the other side are actions that require more effort to deliver value.

Let’s begin, accordingly, on the less-effort side. Agilum’s Variance Reports, part of our Comparative Rapid Cycle Analytics (CRCA P&T) solution, help find patterns of over-or under-performing patient-care measures relative to a census population. It can highlight the need to make adjustments to your formulary, especially on high-cost, high-volume drugs, and it enables in-depth analysis of drug prices. Again, those are things that would be very difficult in most healthcare settings, unless you have qualified analysts and other resources on staff.

So for example, you could use the tool to make a product change from a brand-name to a generic or seek better pricing on volume purchases from your distributor or the manufacturer, with no detrimental clinical effect.

A little further along the spectrum, let’s say you’ve used Variance Reports and learned that you’re paying too much for a long-acting insulin. This may prompt changes to how you’re managing diabetic patients to better optimize your insulin portfolio in order to get better pricing and improve your margins.

POP-BUILDER Rx™, accessible through CRCA P&T, opens up the possibility of undertaking still higher-effort interventions. It’s powered by our proprietary, longitudinal database comprised of more than 140 million unique, de-identified patient records, offering a valuable opportunity to compare your patient populations to that of a real-world index that is near to real-time, with data updated daily. It permits in-depth analysis on opportunities to lower drug cost by comparing data on average length of stay (ALOS) and readmissions associated with certain therapies with those of a nationwide index.

The tool puts actionable information at your fingertips that is ordinarily much harder to come by. You could, for example, turn to an outside vendor to pull all of your patients and their diagnoses, drugs and procedure data into a table for you to analyze. But if you have questions about it or there’s a problem, you’d need to ask them to pull the data once again and re-send it, and because the data sets reflect only a prescribed period of time, there could be errors and the data may not match up with your pharmacy dispensation numbers and other information. And then what are you to make of it?

COVID-19 as an example

With their unfamiliarity, new or rare diseases present an urgent but challenging need for clinicians and administrators to analyze data to help guide treatment decisions, with COVID-19 as an excellent example.

During the early days of the outbreak, Agilum leveraged its longitudinal database several times, publishing influential reports on survival rates and ALOS by drug regimens, break out mortality rates by age and gender, and helping health systems in New York manage drug supplies and predict drug requirements for the novel coronavirus.

It’s an illustration of the potential power of data to improve care. Imagine what more you could be doing with yours.