Despite its prevalence, healthcare data is rarely holistic. Data silos cripple the healthcare system, making a single view of a patient an often-unreachable utopia. These silos prevent healthcare organisations from leveraging their data to better improve patient outcomes.
Notitia, along with vendor Qlik, have partnered with our client Outcome Health with their POLAR reporting platform, which provides data and analytics to more than 5000 users across 1500 general practices throughout Australia.
The POLAR platform, mainly used by Primary Health Networks (PHNs), has allowed Outcome Health to transform and present data to support better patient health outcomes, quality improvement exercises, and get people excited about what they see.
Analytics adoption within organisations lives and dies with enthusiastic end user adoption - so getting time-poor healthcare professionals engaging with analytics is a critical success factor in driving adoption
Melbourne-based not-for-profit, Outcome Health, has been in operation for more than 20 years, providing a range of dedicated data intelligence and clinical services to help Australia’s health system further improve patient outcomes.
Jason Ferriggi, Outcome Health Chief Information Officer is responsible for Information and Communications Technology (ITC), along with commissioning and vendor relationship management and negotiations.
"The holy grail for health data analysis is monitoring health outcomes from the cradle to the grave. We want to know where a person starts, where they end, and how their care was applied throughout the years. We need to know what went wrong, so we can make things right, and reduce any friction for future patient care.”
- From primary to tertiary care, patient data is collected at every step of the healthcare journey.
- Despite its influence, healthcare data rarely takes the entire data lifecycle into consideration (gathering, integrating, organising analysing and maintaining the data)
- The missed opportunity - or disconnection - is not having access to quality data that’s more usable and more actionable.
This disconnection hinders healthcare organisations from harnessing the full potential of their data, Mr Ferriggi says.
“Healthcare information systems are great at collecting data but they provide few, if any, insights that analyse the process or monitor their data throughout,” he says.
“Managers are forced to function in the dark and react to events rather than plan in advance, which impacts their jobs and patient outcomes in a number of ways.
"Changing this approach is our primary mission.”
The Healthcare Continuum Of Care
In most cases, data is siloed into different systems throughout the stages of the healthcare continuum of care. What does this mean for the healthcare sector?
- Disparate systems and privacy considerations make the playing field more complicated.
- There is a disconnect between meaningful research, and the predictors that determine patient outcomes.
- Data disconnection breeds discontent. It also means that data is not harnessed to its full potential.
- Without a contiguous system in place, PHNs can't use data to properly understand a person’s journey through the system, or how to support better care in the future.
Leveraging Qlik & Notita: POLAR platform
Outcome Health uses Qlik to support their POLAR reporting platform, which provides data and analytics to more than 5000 users across 1500 general practices throughout Australia.
The platform, used by Primary Health Networks (PHNs), transforms and presents the data to support better patient health outcomes, quality improvement exercises, and get people excited about what they see.
Mr Ferriggi says that Outcome Health leveraged partner Notitia, to implement the platform.
“Working with partner Notitia has been helpful to manage licenses, log support tickets, and understand the architecture surrounding Qlik's newest functions," he says.
Outcome Health’s POLAR dashboards fit into two models:
- Data discovery: This is where Outcome Health present all the data to the end user in a manageable template design. Mr Ferriggi uses the analogy of a cake to explain its function. “Starting at the bottom, you apply filters to scopes of data (layers) to reduce your cohort until presented with patients that matter to your analysis. Every filter reduces the patient cohort and makes the layers of your cake smaller and smaller,” he says.
- Guided analytics: Outcome Health guide the user through a series of steps to get to the cohort they need. This approach works well for their suite of reports focusing on chronic disease, and follows through four steps: selecting the population cohort in question; reviewing and explaining why the patient falls into that cohort; managing the cohort and ensuring adequate healthcare services; and monitoring the data quality slant.
“Our work on POLAR was recognised at the Qlik ANZ Health & Public Sector Digital Transformation Awards 2022, where we won the award for Excellence in Providing Better Community Outcomes with Data,” Mr Ferriggi says.
Linking the Future of Healthcare Data
When it comes to the future of our data and population health, we envision a more holistic approach on the horizon, Mr Ferriggi surmises.
“The holy grail for health data analysis is monitoring health outcomes from the cradle to the grave," he says.
“We want to know where a person starts, where they end, and how their care was applied throughout the years - we need to know what went wrong so we can make things right and reduce any friction for future patient care.”
Mr Ferriggi says it starts by asking questions:
- What exactly happens to a person throughout their life, and more importantly, what are the health data points in between?
- Is analysing health-related data points an exercise in 'joining the dots,' or is it an exercise in looking at the lines between the dots to see patterns that could predict a person’s health outcomes?
- Are we an end-to-end journey on the timeline, or a network of different relationships that, in the end, lead somewhere great?
In Australia, linkage projects with data kept at different government organisations are becoming increasingly valid.
The next stage in our technical evolution is to engage our information within data communities, while protecting personally identifiable information, Mr Ferriggi says.
“By leaning on a responsible model of security and lasting protection, we can move into the realm of fully visualised and fully connected healthcare journeys.
“Having seen POLAR's benefits to the primary health sector, I look forward to pointing our powerfully cohesive data at the entire healthcare journey, to learn more about what it means to receive great treatment.
“With the foundation we’ve built, it might not take as long as we think, " Mr Ferriggi says.
(Written from a case study authored by Jason Ferriggi, Outcome Health Chief Information Officer)
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