The American Academy of Family Physicians expects in the second quarter of 2013 to launch a data repository for its members that will support analysis of benchmarking data. Explaining the repository is the focus of an educational seminar at HIMSS13 in New Orleans.

About 40 physicians in 11 practices have been pilot testing the repository, which currently is populated with claims data from 60,000 family physicians, courtesy of claims clearinghouse/revenue cycle management vendor Emdeon. AAFP members are being asked, but not required, to contribute clinical data, says Steven Waldren, M.D., senior health I.T. strategist at the association and presenter of the session at HIMSS.

Emdeon, the largest medical clearinghouse with connections to the most health payers, also can offer laboratory and medication data pulled from claims, and has interfaces with many electronic health records vendors. The three-phase pilot started with claims data, then brought in labs and medications, and now Emdeon is working with a couple of EHR vendors to pull clinical data.

But the repository when officially launched will remain a work in progress for some time, Waldren notes. Physicians initially will have access only to data generated in their own practice, and the lab data, for now, comes from claims and does not include results. But just having knowledge that a test was done, combined with medication history, “allows us to do a significant amount of additional analytics that are just too challenging without that information,” he adds.

Over time, however, physicians will have access to data from other providers, such as mammography claims data from a local hospital or diagnostic imaging center. AAFP is working on consent models to pull preventive data from other providers, as well, Waldren says.

Data analytics will be a critical tool for family physicians as they move toward new payment arrangements, enabling practices to better target performance areas that need more focus, Waldren says. “Without it, I don’t see us being effective in the areas of accountable care and value-based payments.”

Education session 53, “Improving Outcomes with Benchmarking Data: The AAFP’s Clinical Data Repository,” is scheduled at 12:15 p.m. on March 4.


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