Monday, January 10, 2022

Improving the Provider and Patient Experience by Automating the Collection of Health Information

by Mike Taylor, VP of Marketing

Before the advent of electronic health records (EHR), healthcare data was largely confined to file folders and banker’s boxes. Now with the industry adopting e-health systems, anchored by EHRs, healthcare professionals working in Health Information (HI) are exploring the new frontier of data analytics. When implementing an e-health application, regardless of size, a systemic approach is necessary to account for the technical factors that impact the system's success.

The biggest technical challenge is creating interfaces between a new system and the existing environment. Lack of plug and play interoperability can result in an incomplete picture of the patient’s health status and could be detrimental to patient care. Any information deficit can dramatically affect a patient’s safety and often increases the overall cost of care. To get a more complete understanding of the patient’s conditions, healthcare organizations often struggle with manual interoperability challenges.

The good news for HIM leaders is technology now exists to tackle the issue of incomplete information due to data system interoperability challenges. Software solutions can act as a universal conduit for patient information, helping providers gather and organize patient data across the health system. Select applications can receive health information from numerous sources, in many formats, using provider-specific rules to help automate the information collection process. During the process of ingesting data, data is stored according to prescribed rules and places it into the “right” areas in the medical record, usually the EHR.

Although many health systems made a significant investment in state-of-the-art EHR systems such as Epic and Cerner; there is data that is difficult for these systems to ingest and organize. Often, patient data is provided in paper form or via fax. Now technology captures the data from paper and faxes, applies the prescribed rules to organize it, and automates much of the information processing.

Applications are now able to accept electronic data and can route it to the appropriate area of the EHR. Some information, whether in paper, fax, or electronic form, is routed to a queue where HI professionals can review it before incorporating it into the record. With these technologically-enabled processes, HI professionals get the patient information organized more quickly. After the initial rules are agreed upon, technology eliminates the need to undertake the labor-intensive task of classifying information gathered manually from several sources. Leading applications use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to convert and organize patient data. In some cases, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are incorporated as well to streamline workflows based on the rules and guidelines for each health system. By leveraging these technologies cost of information processing is significantly reduced, eliminating delay caused by manual data classification, while improving the quality of data.

There are numerous success stories of health systems that have implemented technology to automate the collection and categorization of patient records. As the complexity of health information increases, more and more health systems can benefit from this approach resulting in reduced operational costs, higher quality patient records, and improved physician satisfaction.


Company Contributor: Solarity helps healthcare providers take data from many sources in many forms - paper, faxes, and electronic. Via automated processes using advanced technologies, Solarity organizes data from outside an organization and moves it into the right place in the right system more quickly than existing processes. Solarity’s solutions streamline manual processes, saves time and money, improves data and information processing, and makes the provider and patient experience more satisfying.

Description: Solarity is a sophisticated information management system that helps healthcare system providers collect and organize data from a wide range of sources in many formats easier, better, cheaper and faster.

Location: Springfield, Missouri

Author: Mike Taylor, VP of Marketing at Solarity

Mike joined Solarity in 2020 as VP of Marketing. Mike has extensive B2B marketing and business development experience in healthcare revenue cycle with a focus on health information management. Prior to joining Solarity, Mike was Chief Marketing Officer at himagine solutions, a leading provider of outsourced medical coding and related HIM services. Mike received his MBA from Washington University’s Olin School of Business and graduated with a BS in Marketing from Indiana University.