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Improving Care through Innovation
By Steve Hess, CIO, UChealth
Big data is emerging as a key tool in how we personalize care for patients and improve operational efficiencies for clinicians. As exciting as this time is for health care IT innovators, we face challenges in determining how to inform health care providers on ways to use the volume of data we’re getting from multiple sources–and identifying the infrastructure to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning effectively.
UCHealth is focused on optimizing how we use big data to achieve better outcomes and improve patient experience, while making information easy to use in clinical workflows and driving down costs.
Partnering with RxRevu
Since September, UCHealth, a nationally recognized health care system based in Colorado, has been partnering with digital health company RxRevu to help reduce antibiotic resistance and improve patient care. RxRevu provides critical antibiotic information and integrates that data directly into the clinical workflow within our electronic health record system, Epic.
The new technology was first implemented at the University of Colorado Hospital Emergency Department, the second busiest emergency facility in the Rocky Mountain region. It is now being introduced at additional UCHealth hospitals and medical departments. Epic uses clinical workflow pathways to direct recommended tests, treatments and escalating levels of medical care. RxRevu’s innovative Prescription Decision Support platform, RxCheck, is integrated into these pathways to assist physicians throughout the patient’s evaluation.
UCHealth just last month started deploying RxCheck to provide additional data to physicians at the point of prescribing medications to treat heart failure conditions. This additional prescribing information can increase accuracy, improve patient outcomes and impact the cost of care. Our goals include supporting clinicians in prescribing the best and most current evidence-based medications, improving the patient-provider experience, and generating data to improve future heart failure treatment all while easing the provider interface with the EMR.
UCHealth’s emphasis on innovation is reflected in the recent formation of the UCHealth CARE Innovation Center, a hub for developing, testing, and implementing healthcare innovations
RxCheck integrates seamlessly into current clinician workflows and leverages patient data, claims, formularies, cost data and protocols to provide providers with real-time clinical decision support. There are 30 or more commonly prescribed medications for heart failure patients, and often, a patient needs a combination of medications to best treat the condition. The RxRevu platform analyzes multiple data fields from the patient’s health record, best practice recommendations and cost to help determine the best course of treatment for the patient–most importantly, the right drug, for the right patient, the first time, with fewer clicks and no alerts or hard stops. Having this data at our fingertips is better and easier for providers, better for health insurers and, most importantly, better for patients.
Lowering Patient Wait Times, Creating Efficiency
UCHealth is expanding its use of a platform called iQueue, developed by Silicon Valley startup LeanTaaS, to further apply data science and predictive analytics to healthcare operations that include ambulatory clinics, radiology, pharmacy and clinical labs.
UCHealth has for some time been using the iQueue platform, first implementing it in October 2015 at our infusion centers at University of Colorado Hospital where we saw immediate results. Patient wait times dropped by 60 percent during “rush hour” and throughout the day were an average of 33 percent lower, and there was a 28 percent decrease in staff overtime hours in the infusion center. UCHealth quickly found other operational uses for the platform in our operating rooms, where since May 2016 it has been analyzing UCHealth’s OR data in real time, reporting on OR utilization and recommending changes to improve OR utilization and efficiency.
Building the UCHealth CARE Innovation Center
UCHealth’s emphasis on innovation is reflected in the recent formation of the UCHealth CARE Innovation Center, a hub for developing, testing, and implementing healthcare innovations together with the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
The center serves as an incubator for novel ideas and disruptive technologies, as well as a springboard for launching process improvements and products, and bringing them to market in order to improve healthcare delivery– creating innovative solutions to complex modern healthcare challenges.
By combining the intellectual assets of the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty and the clinical resources at UCHealth, the CARE Innovation Center is focused on developing, testing, implementing, validating, iterating and spinning out the next generation of digital technology and decision support science. The CARE Innovation Center team includes physician informaticists, engineers and data scientists working with clinicians who have unparalleled expertise in clinical care delivery, process improvement, implementation science, clinical informatics, and predictive analytics: a world-class team at the forefront of improving the way healthcare is being delivered.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have tremendous potential to impact care. We have made significant investments in healthcare IT with our electronic health records systems and now have access to data we previously never thought possible. At UCHealth, with our new partners and more on the horizon, we are able to analyze years of historical and case log data to create predictive algorithms. But we are just getting started in realizing how we can use those health care data and influence the next generation of healthcare IT and operational intelligence.