Data Analysis Plan – Flipping the Script


Multi-Doc Viewer, Envision and Helping to Improve Patient Care

In today’s healthcare environment, clinicians are constantly bombarded with data. I know as a clinician taking care of a patient prior to surgery, I’d receive information from (at a minimum) the following:

  • The patient
  • Patient’s spouse/family member/significant other
  • Surgeon consult notes
  • Anesthesia consult notes
  • Lab
  • Radiology
  • Pharmacy
  • Consultations with various specialties
  • Other caregivers

This information needed to be reviewed, correlated, analyzed and acted on when necessary to ensure appropriate decisions were made in the care of the patient. Each patient was presented as a unique individual with a unique plan of care…. except…they didn’t! Yes, they received individualized care at the bedside, but that care and coordination was already based on data analysis and research.

Nursing staff already have care plans based on diagnoses, procedures and potential outcomes. Physicians use protocols when placing orders on patient charts and operating rooms have standard procedure cards and routines when preparing for specific types of surgeries. Insurance companies have algorithms to determine reimbursement rates, hospitals have access to spreadsheets to determine plus/negative ratios; so as unique as each individual is, there is already a significant amount of standardization in the way the patient is cared for—all based on previously collected data. Yet, something is still missing.

Standards of care have been established based on years of research and healthcare has been incredibly good at “standardized health care.” But in the era of Big Data, where something as challenging as Cancer care can be uniquely individualized to a patient’s specific needs, we are now at a point where we can analyze large streams of data to provide that same type of individualized patient care to the surgical patient. The ability to take existing patient information (height/weight, age, diagnosis, allergies, familial history, prior surgeries, etc.) and determine patient-specific care (what sedatives to give, what pain / nausea interventions are necessary, etc.) is available to us—we’ve already collected all the data—we just now need to “flip the script” and use that data to make our current care even better.

I left bedside nursing for clinical informatics because I saw the potential of medical data analysis to help improve patient outcomes in ways that used to take years of research. We can now follow the patient from the first surgical visit, through the entire perioperative journey to discharge from the hospital/surgical center AND through to the final surgical post-operative follow up visit. Using this data, we can now analyze ways that benefit the patient throughout the continuum of care, help clinicians to decrease (or at least mitigate) undesired outcomes and in the long run, save money.

Picis has two offerings that help improve this effort to perform data analysis and flip the script on how patient care is provided. Recently, Picis showcased Multi-Doc Viewer and how it could be used to capture large amounts of disparate data into a central location for clinician review

My next blog will focus on Envision which allows hospitals to plug directly into your health information system and view actionable data from user-friendly and custom configured reports. From department performance to episodic costing, Envision allows you to interact with the metrics you need to improve your practices on any screen, including tablets and mobile devices. This product can be used to analyze data and display it for a specific audience to take actionable steps that will benefit the patient throughout the continuum of care, bringing us that much closer to a truly individualized patient care and outcomes effort.

About the Author

Rob Aldrich, Team Lead, Professional Services

Robert has been a Registered Nurse for over 25 years. His experiences in patient care range from rural hospitals in Alberta, to heart/lung transplant patients in Texas, to Transplant/Trauma services at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Travel nursing allowed him to build a wealth of knowledge across several different documentation systems and to work with various clinical champions across the country. Transitioning to software informatics allowed Rob to provide training and product improvements to clinicians that were increasingly spending more time documenting, and less time caring for their patient. His goal is to ensure the products in the clinicians’ hands will improve their experiences with the patient, rather than impede their patient care while providing data that can be used to individualize patient care.

In his spare time, he sells real estate in the Arizona Market, coaches his son’s hockey team and enjoys camping and traveling with his wife and two children whenever time allows.