This Week Health

TownHall: Making Data Accessible with Traci Follett

January 16: Today on TownHall Karla Arzola, Chief Information Officer at Rocky Mountain Human Services speaks with Traci Follett, Director Clinical Informatics/Education at Sierra View Medical Center. They discuss the transformative impact that data-driven approaches have had on their organization. How has the accessibility and efficiency of data been revolutionized through the use of their Expanse Business and Clinical Analytics solution? What key improvements have been observed through the utilization of comprehensive dashboards and how has this impacted team resources? What positive influences has this approach brought to tackling clinical and business decisions? We also explore Traci's unique journey from bedside care to a leader in IT and informatics and how this shapes her perspective on the implementation and advancement of these tech solutions.

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Transcript

This transcription is provided by artificial intelligence. We believe in technology but understand that even the smartest robots can sometimes get speech recognition wrong.

Today on This Week Health.

We would just cringe when we would have surveys because it's like, what data will they ask for now? And we don't have that. We know that we'll be able to get the information that they need very quickly. So that's been very, very beneficial. Welcome to Town Hall, a show hosted by leaders on the front lines with interviews of people making things happen in healthcare with technology. My name is Bill Russell, the creator of This Week Health, a set of channels and events dedicated to keeping health IT staff current and engaged.

We've been making podcasts that amplify great thinking to propel healthcare forward for over five years, and we want to thank our show sponsors. who help to make this happen. Armis First Health Advisors, Meditech, Transcarent, and UPerform. We thank them for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.

Now, on to our show.

hi, everyone. Welcome to one more town hall episode of This Week Health. My name is Carla Arzola, and I am the CIO at Rocky Mountain Human Services. And today we'll, we will be talking to Tracy Follett. She is the Director of Information Technology and Clinical Informatics at Sierra View Medical Center.

Welcome, Tracy. Thank you. Of course. Can you tell us a little bit about Sierra View Medical Center and your role in the organization?

Sure. So Sierra View Medical Center is a district hospital. We're located in a small rural community in Central California. We're a 167 full service acute bed hospital with full emergency obstetric surgical services, and part of those 167, 167 beds is 34 bed long term care unit, and then we also have several specialty clinics, as well as a rural health clinic, so, quite a few services to be able to provide service to our local community here.

We are joint commission accredited. We also have our baby friendly designation as well as we're a primary stroke center. So we're pretty proud of what we've accomplished being small here in the rural area. I am the director of information technology and clinical informatics. I have worked in the organization for 27 years in different capacities.

Actually, my background is a registered nurse. So I started at the bedside and caring for patients and solely has kind of moved into the informatics and it arenas, and I uh, really enjoy that role. I feel like I'm a good advocate kind of for the clinical side, but also advocate for the information technology side to the clinical individuals.

So,

well, congratulations. 'cause I understand that now you have both teams. You used to have just clinical informatics and now you have technology as well. And super important to have somebody. Like you on those roles, just because obviously, if you like technology and you're able to meet and to be that middle person, it just helps tremendously.

So, congratulations. Yeah, so I understand that as an organization, you have taken a data driven approach to. Solve problems and do some decision making. Can you tell us more

about this approach? Sure. You know, we are a Meditech Expanse Hospital and we've had that in place for many years and we pretty much have it across , all of our service lines from Registration through to billing, so fully integrated and however, we, we really have been challenged as an organization, even though the data was there.

We were challenged a lot with accessibility of that data and really being able to get it efficiently, quickly. We worked a lot with just. Standard reports out of our system or custom reports that had to be built, which could take a lot of hours to run, depending on how much data there was.

And of course, reports are static, and things are constantly changing. So many times we would have to do multiple reports or we would have to do manual abstraction or something, which was also very time consuming. And so really. The frustration and kind of perception was, you know, we have all this data, but we can't get to it.

And so we really were in search of kind of a single platform, really looking to centralize, get a data warehouse analytics solution. And we went with our business and clinical analytics through Meditech, because of course that was fully integrated with what we had. And it's just been a game changer just with accessibility and being able to get that data in the hands of.

People who need to make important decisions related to clinical or business either side of things. So it's been a really great tool to use our data. That's

fantastic. I mean, we all know that access into data is the most important thing and you can have a ton of it, but if you don't have it organized, it doesn't really matter, right?

And that takes time. And so tell us about the impact of having this analytic available via dashboard or however you present them. aNd how has this impacted your team's time and resources, right? Can you talk about some of your use

cases? Yes, definitely. So, again, going off of kind of the old kind of custom reports, that static report, many times those reports would just take hours to run, depending on how much data it relied heavily on.

Very skilled individuals to be able to write reports to pull out that data. So great if we had a report that had all of your specifications, but as soon as we needed something new we had limited resources. And then beyond that it was very inefficient because many times we would be utilizing multiple reports or multiple areas.

Some would be manual abstraction some would be running a report. Reports were, we're pulling from different areas and it just was uh, very cumbersome, time consuming, not efficient, and it didn't a lot of times cover the information that we needed. So, to be able to go to the central source, this analytics platform, very simple to use, and we actually there, it comes with a lot of standard dashboards, census, volumes key things that just I mean, we provide those dashboards to our leaders, to stakeholders that need access to particular data, and I mean, it's a, it's click of a button, and not only do they have access to the data, they can also modify it to what they're looking at.

So if they're wanting to drill down strictly to for example, a specific service line, volumes within the surgical department, looking at times. And we can even drill down into very specific to the provider within the OR and the cases and the staff, et cetera. So, being able to put that, those tools in the hands of leaders, our executives has just been very helpful and they're simple to use.

And if we need to modify, we need to add yes, it does take, specific people that could. And they could potentially build some of these things, but it doesn't take long, at all, like the report writing did, so it really saves time on the person who is developing the dashboards, it saves time on the end user side when they're trying to get the access to their data.

With static reports, you run the report and it has those specifications. If all of a sudden I'm like, you know, I'd really like to look at it for just three months of time because this report says six months. They can just easily just do that or drill down to a specific provider or a specific patient diagnosis.

So, very simple that that end user is able to modify to what they need. So it's great that you have

been able to empower your users. I have to ask you something. How long, you know, How does the training look like for those users? Is it super simple?

It's really very intuitive.

But there are, some training. We usually like to give them some key tips on how to modify their data. If they would like to modify their data. I would say with. And about an hour of time, we usually like to sit down with a leader or an executive because many times they have lots of specific questions.

And so yeah, but it doesn't take long at all. Honestly, anybody could really open up some of these standard, you know, census, for instance, and it lists the locations and you pick the location and there's how many patients you saw in that month or, in the timeframe that you determined.

So very simple to use. β€Šβ€Š πŸ“ πŸ“ We'll get back to our show in just a minute. With Meditech Expanse, you'll have all the tools that you need to keep people at the center of care. Engage your patients, reduce clinician burnout, explore innovative care delivery models, and leverage precision medicine and advanced decision support to make informed decisions.

CY Expanse quickly ascended the class rankings to become one of healthcare's top overall software suites. Visit ehr. meditech. com to learn more. And now, back to our show. πŸ“ β€Švery nice.

So how are you leveraging analytic to target areas that need improvement?

So we, we use a lot in the clinical areas. A lot of clinical quality initiatives, looking at falls. We actually have dashboards for our infection prevention. So looking at any of our, hospital acquired infections. We use it looking. Again, for volumes there are a couple of departments that use it for looking at productivity of their staff.

So our medical records department is able to look at that and a lot of monitor productivity and help improvements there. Our imaging department has used it to look at times of day of when the, to look at what where our volumes are based on times of day, so they're able to modify their staffing, and, be more fiscally responsible there and in being able to staff accordingly, We also use it, of course, to meet a lot of regulatory requirements.

I mean, we all have that promoting interoperability and our electronic clinical quality measures, and those are all things, of course, that we can monitor through the year to see, you know, where our vulnerabilities are, and identify those areas those gaps and then be able to address those gaps and then be able to measure and monitor our progress with any one of those improvements.

That is super interesting so let's see, because sometimes one of the challenges that we have, or you're not going to jail for my experience, right? So some of the challenges that we have is like, how do we prioritize? What data do we want to run? Like what's important to the organization, right?

So we have to define what are those operational metrics or key performance indicators that are the ones that keep moving the organization towards end goal And so how do you keep your your executives informed and involved? And what are some of the analytics that have resonated with them?

Yeah, so our executives, they were some of the ones that were just just very frustrated with, with the, the lack and lack of control, really, over being able to access data at the moment. that they wanted So many times we will provide that information to them, but we really have sat alongside them, trained them, they have executive dashboards to be looking at.

Yeah, they look at volumes, they look at admissions and discharges, and again, they can drill down to specific service lines. And so we've really provided them the tools to be able to get to that data anytime and not have to rely on, I need to contact this person and then they need to run a report or they need to send me this and you're not waiting on anybody.

You, you jump into your. dashboard that you want to see and you modify the way you know, apply your filters the way that you want to apply those. And so, during the COVID pandemic, and we actually still utilize it, we have a COVID dashboard. And so at any moment in time, they can go in and look at our numbers of COVID, our number of tests that we've done, a number of admissions, etc.

They also look at A lot of provider we have provider scorecards, essentially, so, we have intensivists, we have hospitalists, emergency department group, and we have residents, we actually have medical residents here as well, and so there are scorecards for each of those provider groups that they're able to go in and be able to see, length of stay of the patients per provider the admissions, the observation statuses, their CPOE scores, how many orders are they entering on their own.

readmission information and also resource utilization. So all really important key things and really putting them right into their own hands for them to access at any time. So they have really been very satisfied with this.

That is fantastic. You also mentioned that you use this for regulatory purposes, right?

And so, Speaking of Joint Commission surveys, how do you use these tools in order to be successful with some of those, being compliant with Joint Commission and the surveys? Can you tell us about that?

Yeah, so, the Joint Commission survey has one of the big things that we did that has just been super helpful and beneficial to our surveys is there are certain patient population groups that Joint Commission always wants to perform retrospective chart reviews.

And so they would come in and say, I want to see all the patients on the restraints. I want to see all your, you know, the patients on suicide precautions for a certain timeframe And again, very challenged with being able to kind of quickly run around and try to find that previous until we had this single data warehouse.

And we actually created a dashboard of all of the commonly requested Patient populations so that when they come in and they say we want to see the patients who have had procedural sedation done in the ICU we have that list, patient list, and it's all updated to real time.

When you run it, that's where we're at. So, , that has been very helpful to just have because within, Within minutes, they will have the patient list they need to go through the chart review. And then secondly, during Joint Commission surveys, and actually our state surveys, lots of surveyors come in and they may just on the fly request certain types of data.

How many patients have been transferred out of the emergency department, as an example. And so we are, again, previous, our previous life, we were scurrying around for the report writer to try to You know, rustle up an NPR report, and now we can just go in and on the fly, I mean, within minutes, within 30 minutes, I mean, if we, if our, analyst has to kind of build the queries or do a little bit more manipulation of the dashboards, he can do that very quickly and simply, and they have that on the fly data request, I mean, just within minutes, and that's also been just a game changer.

We would We would just cringe when we would have surveys because it's like, what data will they ask for now? And we don't have that. We know that we'll be able to get the information that they need very quickly. So that's been very, very beneficial. Okay,

I cannot imagine. So what are the next steps for your analytics strategy as you look ahead for next year or even for things that are you are completing, going into 2024?

Yes, so, We really want to continue. We still do have some data manual extraction. We still do have aggregating of multiple sources to get the information that we need and we're having to manually create our own, Excel spreadsheets and things like that. So really just working on prioritizing.

We have a data governance committee. And so we kind of work with our clinical team, our business teams to prioritize kind of who is next, but we really want to work on transitioning off of the kind of the older static report methodology and moving into being able to create these BCA dashboards that are a lot more accessible for individuals and for end users.

That would be the first thing. And then secondly, we are able to bring in data from other applications. So our HR and payroll system, our cost analysis and financial system, those are a little bit separated out out of our Meditech system. And so we're able to bring data from other sources to incorporate VCA.

So again Ultimate goal being that we have a centralized, single data warehouse where we can run all of our information that we need. So it would be able to broaden our context of the information we're able to get to be able to incorporate other applications into this platform. But

that is fantastic.

I mean, I'm sure there's plenty of work to do. There's this is a never ending, never ending, right? Well, fantastic. I appreciate the time and and thank you and congratulations again for your

new role. Oh, thank you very much. Have a great day. Take care. Bye

β€Š πŸ“ I love this show. I love hearing what workers and leaders on the front lines are doing.

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Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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