Clinical decision support vendor Zynx Health recently introduced Knowledge Analyzer, which offers a data analytics platform that sits on top of the CDS system. Northwest Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle, a pilot site, has found new benefits from the platform.

Among other uses, the analytics enable identification of issues in computerized physician order entry sets that need resolution, says Mary Horan, M.D, CMIO at Northwest Hospital. For instance, she can analyze existing order catalogs for the presence of recommended, evidence-based practices that are tied to clinical and financial outcomes.

The analytics also match the organization’s own terminology and content so operation of a separate order catalog in several systems is not necessary, which makes maintaining and updating order sets easier. This enables clinicians to work directly from the electronic health records system and provide the right interventions to the right people at the right points in the workflow, Horan explains.

The analytics system further enables Horan and other authorized users to more efficiently conduct order set reviews and update processes by confirming the interventions are in good shape and honing in on just those issues needing to be addressed. Further, order catalogs are accessible via the electronic health records system, which eases physicians’ workflow. “It takes away some management challenges that previously existed where we had to maintain order catalogs in multiple places,” she says. “It lets us keep evidence-based order catalogs in the EHR and eliminates maintaining them in other clinical decision support systems.”

The real beauty of having analytics on top of the CDS is that it eases work to pare down the number of order sets to those that are the best recommendations for patient care and to maintain the order sets, Horan notes. The focus is on making sure the order sets being accessed are specific to the diagnosis and incorporate the best evidence that currently exists. There are 40 order sets now compared with about 100 previously. “This tool has been most helpful in terms of showing a maturation of analyzing, communicating and auditing what care is best for the patient,” she says.

Before the analytics went in, Horan and others at Northwest Hospital believed they had a robust process for order review already and thought the content was excellent. “Knowledge Analyzer showed us that these order sets are living documents and things change. Order sets need to be active and require care and feeding; they are not just stagnant. There is always room for improvement.”

Having the “right” people in the room--meaning very detailed-oriented people--is important at the start of such an analytics initiative to make sure that data mapping is done correctly, Horan advises. “It helps to be a little OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder),” she jokes.

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