A Single Version of the Truth Takes a Whole Toolbox

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , October 2, 2012

In healthcare, doctors are the primary generators of information. Movements toward accountable care, value-based purchasing, and patient-centered medical homes are efforts to standardize the generation of that information. Without standardization, the kind of data analysis I described in the September HealthLeaders magazine cover story is difficult, if not impossible. In the forthcoming December issue, I'll delve into this issue further in an article I am currently writing about the role that online order sets play in this standardization.

In the course of researching the analytics cover story, I talked to more healthcare provider organizations about this standardization challenge than I was able to quote. One such organization is Mountain States Health Alliance, a 13-hospital system in east Tennessee and southwest Virginia.

Like many other providers, Mountain States is forming an accountable care organization. As such, the organization has to quickly identify major changes in admissions, patient days, length of stay, case mix index, and payer mix. "We're developing a very robust data governance structure, to where we're talking about access to data, turning data from just information into actual knowledge, so we don't have 50 people in the organization trying to get to the same number in different ways," says Logan Pigg, director of finance at MSHA.

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