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Using longitudinal data to make a difference for stroke patients

According to the American Stroke Association, 80% of all strokes are preventable. Sadly, CDC statistics show that stroke kills approximately 140,000 Americans each year, accounting for 1 in 20 deaths. A stroke occurs every 40 seconds in the U.S. and takes the life of a patient every 40 minutes. Costs related to strokes – health care services, medicines to treat a stroke, and missed days of work – are staggering; close to $34 billion per year. Why then, if 80% of strokes are preventable, are disability, deaths, and costs related to strokes so high? Since last month was stroke awareness month, I’d like to highlight the value of longitudinal data.

Thanks to studies like the Framingham Heart Study, we know that hypertension, obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation are all risk factors for stroke. Too often, patients arrive in an emergency department or care center with a stroke that could have been prevented if these factors had been adequately managed.

Agilum’s Patient Data Intelligence Platform™ (PDIP™) has aggregated tens of millions of unique longitudinal patient records over the past 15 years – and it continues to grow by more than 1.3 million patients per month. This real-time patient data platform collects disparate, structured, real-world data, and then de-identifies, aggregates and normalizes the data. Agilum’s Expert Services team then applies Agilum’s Comparative Rapid Cycle Analytics™ (CRCA™) process to resulting clean data to identify information that enables organizations to take action.

The ability to analyze a multivariate dataset encompassing thousands of people with similar medical conditions enables hospitals and health systems to dissect the data and hopefully prevent at-risk patients from disease progression that may lead to a stroke. This data can provide valuable quality improvement and cost-savings insights.

For example, a provider may discover by interrogating the data in the PDIP that a patient has hypertension, high cholesterol, and is a smoker. If the hypertension and high cholesterol can be optimally managed, and a smoking cessation program initiated, this patient may be able to avoid a stroke and all the financial and physical hardship that entails. Similarly, longitudinal data may be able to show that over time, an intervention such as a CT scan or a specific drug therapy reduces costs and improves care in stroke patients.

Longitudinal data, like that found in Agilum’s PDIP, can recognize patterns and provide in-depth analysis of patients with chronic conditions. Instead of a small snapshot, clinicians can see the whole picture. Agilum’s PDIP provides a complete clinical timeline of each patient, from the initial medical contact to the present moment. Having this longitudinal data available for an individual patient, along with hundreds or thousands of others who have risk factors for stroke or who have already had a stroke, can start to reveal trends that may affect outcomes.

Are there signs or symptoms exhibited from a patient with hypertension, which if observed in enough patients, may serve as a red flag to providers to help prevent a stroke?  Being able to see the patient’s comorbidities, diagnostic procedures, blood pressure measurements over time, and any previous emergency department visits or hospital admissions may provide valuable insights to a provider who’s creating the patient’s care plan.

According to the CDC, stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. If patients are empowered to know the risk factors, signs and symptoms of stroke, and providers are armed with the longitudinal data provided by Agilum’s PDIP and our CRCA methodology, early action and intervention are possible. Agilum’s PDIP can help organizations reduce total cost of care, improve quality, and provide better results for all.