Better data access helps to cut ER visits at Portland Clinic

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The Portland (Ore.) Clinic is contracting with an outside vendor to help it collect, organize and dissiminate patient information to providers and other appropriate users.

The clinic is making the move to identify patients who frequently use emergency department services. To get the information it needs, it’s contracted with Collective Medical, a vendor that offers a platform to collect essential patient information.

Health insurers are looking for value-based care that keeps patients healthier, and when they contract with providers, they are working toward better quality of care and outcomes. But providers want something for themselves—quality data that helps them make sure they know what’s going on with their patients, says Jill Leake, population health manager at The Portland Clinic.

"The problem is that we are getting data from too many sources instead of one comprehensive source," Leake explains.

“We needed to know who is utilizing, how often and needs additional support,” Leake says. But Oregon does not have a statewide health information exchange, making it difficult for providers to get the patient data they need.

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“Now, we get real-time information of discharges and a full view of the patient population,” Leake explains. “We send a file of our patients weekly and are notified when a patient is admitted or discharged, giving us the right information on the right people.”

Via the platform from Collective Medical, The Portland Clinic also can see where patients are going for other care, even in other states which enables the clinic to coordinate care with those physicians.

In particular, the clinic, with six sites, is looking for those patients who frequently use care services so they can be sent to care managers within the organization who will provide an increased level of care to the patients and their progress after discharge and make sure patients are going to their appointments. And it’s working in a pilot of a population subset as the clinic in one year saw a 13 percent drop in ED visits.

Now, The Portland Clinic is starting to mine all that data that Collective Medical has and is looking for trends that could change how the clinic operates and provides more comprehensive care, Leake explains.

The Collective Medical platform is a great tool, she adds, but as a data collector it’s not a tool that automatically does all of the data management grunt work for an organization, she cautions. “It takes a decent amount of staff so invest in time and staffing to reach the full potential of the technology.”

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