national healthNational Health IT Week is a nationwide awareness week sponsored by HIMSS and the Institute for e-Policy. It is “focused on catalyzing actionable change within the U.S. health system through the application of information and technology.”

Tweet: National Health IT Week: How analytics contributes to healthier communities

The five-day celebration from Oct. 8-12 acknowledges the successful and lasting effects that technology has had on the U.S. healthcare system, as well as continuing the promise to seek out innovative solutions. Let’s examine the role that analytics plays in National Health IT Week.

This year’s focus

This year’s National Health IT Week focuses on four “points of engagement” that include:

  • Supporting Healthcare Transformation
  • Expanding Access to High Quality Healthcare
  • Increasing Economic Opportunity
  • Making Communities Healthier

Dimensional Insight is proud to support HIMSS efforts towards the development of technology in the healthcare sector and contribute to improvement in the four areas above. We wanted to take a quick look at how our technology is supporting the above goals.

Supporting healthcare transformation

Analytics has the power to support healthcare transformation, providing insight in new ways. Take for example, our customer Doctors Center Hospital, based in Puerto Rico. In September 2017, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, and Doctors Center Hospital quickly saw its facilities become over-crowded with patients. With limited staff to treat patients, many employees couldn’t get in to work. Thankfully, the hospital had implemented Diver a few weeks earlier. While it had limited access to the system due to the hospital running on generators, it was able to view patient census numbers by each area of the hospital. This allowed managers to direct staff to the areas of most pressing need.

The real transformation, though, is an ongoing process that is happening as Doctors Center Hospital continues to build out its analytics platform. The hospital’s president is the main driver of analytics within the organization. He looks at the executive dashboard every morning at 6:00 a.m. to get a daily pulse on operations. From there, he starts asking questions. The dashboard has been transformative within the organization, as everyone is now looking at the numbers since it is what leadership is focused on. The hospital has also built out a dashboard for its emergency department that measures throughput so the hospital can aim to provide better, faster care to its patients.

Increasing economic opportunity

Western Maryland Health System, a rural hospital that services patient populations in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia,  ranked as the 46th out of 46 hospitals in Maryland on quality measures. With the goal to increase its standing, the hospital had to reexamine their operations and focus on the Triple Aim: population health, experience of care, and per capita cost. The hospital implemented Diver to give it insight into various areas, including readmissions and other key quality indicators, and was able to turn its operations around, achieving top status in the quality rankings, and moving from negative to positive revenue.

In addition, like other hospitals, the organization had to deal with rising drug costs. Western Maryland was using the IV form of acetaminophen, which cost $35 per vial after a massive price increase. With analytics, the hospital was able to determine that the oral form of the medication was just as proven. This provided the opportunity for the organization to decrease its use of the IV form by 78%, saving nearly $200,000 in the process. For Western Maryland, analytics was able to provide insight that enabled the hospital to make changes that improved not only its costs and revenues, but also its quality rankings.

Get involved

National Health IT Week features events that include meetings scattered throughout the country, as well as multiple virtual opportunities. This year, one of the most innovative ways supporters can participate is through a virtual reality meetup, where they can celebrate and network with other HIT professionals using a VR headset.

You can also join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #NHITWeek and #IHeartHIT. Or you can join other HIT professionals in a virtual march, by writing to state legislators about pressing health IT topics.

Kayla Chiara