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Big time data analytics in a small town

Search for examples on data analytics in health care, and you’re likely to find lots of stories featuring large integrated health systems in urban areas. But don’t overlook what’s happening in rural communities such as Hutchinson, Kansas. It’s the focus of a recent Healthcare Informatics article, Innovation on the Plains: Hutchinson Clinic’s Bold Data Moves.

Hutchinson Clinic CIO, Bob Davidson, points out that though the clinic is based in a small town (population: 45,000), more than 262,000 patients from across the state actively rely on the organization for care. With Allscripts TouchWorks® EHR as its core solution, Davidson shares advice on the value of data, including these insightful quotes from the article:

Value of coordinated care

“Our doctors have to do their own rounds with the hospital across the street, and take turns covering their call, and so on. And since we implemented the EHR system, and it’s available for them everywhere, and it helps the doctor to do more than just stabilize a patient over the weekend; they have enough information that they can start treatment. And consequently, the hospital stay moves them closer to recovery…We work closely with the hospital across the street, and they do have an EHR, but they mostly use ours, because it’s so complete.”

Value to physicians

“… in terms of the value that the doctors are deriving from all this, now, they get reminders, warning signs, that a particular patient is due for their hemoglobin a1c, for example; and more broadly, the doctors can look across their patient population for whatever chronic disease program they have, and they can see how they’re doing. And they’re very competitive, and the data helps them do a better job.”

Value for managing diabetes

“The really great thing about the EHR and the way we’ve utilized it—we’ve been collecting discrete data on our patients for years now and that has enabled us to really look at our population. For instance, when we were certified for the diabetes recognition program for NCQA, every one of our primary care doctors qualified for DRP certification on the first run, just because of the data available and the fact that they had been using the data to manage the diabetes population very well.”

Value of patient involvement

“We’re also working with Allscripts on their Achieve product, a goal-oriented, task-oriented engagement tool. If a doctor wants a patient to check their blood glucose three times a day, there are tasks for the patient to complete through FollowMyHealth. So if you have a patient from Dodge City who might be diabetic, and if there’s a significant change, the doctor can contact the patient, to bring them in to be seen, and that will encourage that communication process. The toughest part is just getting them to sign up. Once they’ve signed up, it’s not that hard to get them to use it. I myself am a big fan of it as a patient.”

To learn more about Hutchinson Clinic’s innovation with data, check out the full article, download a free case study or watch this video:

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