Providers build data-driven health networks for value-based care

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As healthcare providers transition from fee-for-service to value-based care, they are better leveraging data to improve quality and health outcomes, as well as lower costs and increase patient satisfaction.

Providers like Geisinger Health System and Hackensack Meridian Health have long been innovators when it comes utilizing electronic health records and data analytics.

However, both organizations have moved to adopt value-based care strategies that tap into platforms that go beyond their respective EHRs, enabling them to analyze disparate data from multiple sources and supporting a comprehensive view of their patient populations—resulting in actionable insights.

“When I came to the organization (in 2015), I realized that we needed to make sure that we had good data and good data analytics in order for us to work with the participating physicians to optimize their performance,” said Patrick Young, Hackensack Meridian Health’s president of population health, during an eHealth Initiative webinar last week supported by Cerner.

During the last few years, Young has led the effort to standardize care coordination across Hackensack Meridian Health which includes 17 hospitals and more than 500 patient care locations. This streamlined, integrated approach to care management includes a Cerner data warehouse.

“We have a number of data feeds coming into our Epic system” from all Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals and outpatient facilities, explained Young. “Epic then feeds a Cerner data warehouse and they help us with (Cerner’s) HealtheIntent (population health platform) with our care gaps doing analytics.”

Young acknowledges that theirs is a unique IT infrastructure. “Most people are either a Cerner shop or an Epic shop,” he observes. “But, we’re structured to have both because we feel they are best in class.”

According to Young, other organizations are feeding information directly into the Cerner data warehouse. “We have payers providing information coming directly to us—some on a weekly basis, others monthly and quarterly—but we’re moving to more timely data,” he adds. “We have all the patient information going into the Cerner data warehouse including labs and pharmacy.”

When it comes to data analytics and practice management improvement, Hackensack Meridian Health is leveraging Cerner’s relationship with Lumeris, a health plan and value-based care managed services vendor. “We are aligned with Lumeris to be our strategic partners to optimize our physician practices—both the employed and the independent—in relation to quality and efficiencies,” said Young.

Last year, Cerner announced it was investing $266 million in the parent company of Lumeris—as part of a 10-year agreement—to offer Maestro Advantage, a new EHR-agnostic offering to help providers in value-based arrangements better control costs and improve outcomes. Under the agreement, Lumeris adopted Cerner’s HealtheIntent platform and combined its clinical methodology and advanced analytics.

Likewise, over the next decade, Geisinger intends to broaden its implementation of Cerner’s HealtheIntent across its clinical enterprise, accountable care organization and health plan. The Danville, Penn.-based integrated healthcare delivery system announced earlier this year that it signed a 10-year agreement with Cerner to make HealtheIntent Geisinger’s preferred data platform.

“In the fee-for-service days, we did a lot of counting of things—similar to running a restaurant where you’re turning tables—and now we’re in a mode where it’s about utilization, value-based care and quality of care,” says Greg Strevig, Geisinger’s vice president of enterprise analytics.

"The data platform itself needed to change along with the way that we look at those data elements,” adds Strevig. “It’s no longer about how many visits in the emergency department you have but how many avoidable visits you have in the ED, how you manage that and how you keep them within the primary care environment or within the continuum of care outside of that, where we have a Geisinger program for treating high-risk patients at home.”

According to Strevig, Geisinger is leveraging data from its EHR and health plan as well as external sources—including health information exchanges—to risk stratify patients. To manage and integrate all this clinical and claims data data, the healthcare system adopted a unified data architecture to “holistically see all the events” within patients’ care timelines.

“We have a huge genomics program here at Geisinger—the unified data architecture allowed us to bring that data in,” notes Strevig. “We provided a big data platform both internally and through Cerner’s HealtheIntent. We use HealtheIntent as the aggregator of various data sources to ensure that we can bring that together and create that holistic view to identify those patients we need to act on and take care of care gaps.”

Bharat Sutariya, MD, vice president and chief medical officer of population health at Cerner, points out that these value-based care strategies are not solely about technology.

“They require business and care delivery transformation,” says Sutariya. “But, to power those strategies, you obviously need an information-technology and intelligence strategy.”

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