EHR data mining: two key secrets to success

EHR software can offer extraordinary amounts of information into the inner workings, successes and limitations of a medical practice. However, the information is only helpful if administrative and clinical staff are able to obtain, track and utilize the data. EHR data mining can uncover trends in a clinical practice and help to determine how well the practice is achieving their clinical and financial goals.

Decide which type of EHR data you want to focus on

Metrics that practices should be mining include appointment tracking and missed visits, billing and accounting payment schedules, diagnoses treated and patient demographics, financial and clinical outcomes, clinician productivity, and patient satisfaction. These components of a practice can shed light on ways to improve the practice and areas that can be promoted in networking. For example, if you can show high-quality care for lower costs then your practice becomes highly attractive to potential users.

Recommended reading: find software with strong EHR data mining functionalities with our completely up-to-date EHR vendor directory.

Your EHR should have simple language query tools for easy searching and data extraction. The system should export reports in a format that is easy to work with and modify, such as to an Excel document. It is important to determine what the goal of your data search is to be. If you don’t have a clear objective, it can be easy to search random and disorganized information with no valuable result. Consider outsider patient demographics, not only your most commonly referred conditions or patient populations. This information can give you indications of potential specialties or marketing strategies to harness.

Make your findings accessible to non-clinicians

Spend some time identifying the best predictors of a given outcome from a wide range of independent variables. This means not excluding based on age, insurance, visit history etc. and including all subjects. You may find that the patients with the best outcomes for a given diagnosis all happen to fall outside the predicted parameters for age limitations or medication lists.

Make sure that your discoveries and insights are meaningful to other people. A large spreadsheet full of data will not be useful to a marketing team, board of directors or payer sources. However, translating the information into a concise report and even a nice graph, will help relay the information you have gained in an easy to understand format.

Aim for tangible results

Use the information to produce real-world results. If you spend your time simply collecting and analyzing data without putting it into real use, then it will be a waste of time. Make sure that there is a practical implication for your collected EHR data. Use the productivity, patient outcomes and quality results in updating and motivating your team and driving new patient referrals.

If you find that your outcomes are less than optimal, use this information as a learning opportunity and consider continuing education or employee development. Additionally, if you find ways that your practice is overspending or missing out on potential revenue, then use this information to change processes and improve billing operations.

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Amy Vant

About the author…

Amy Vant is a doctor of physical therapy and clinical director for an outpatient physical therapy clinic in the United States. She has experience utilizing and implementing many forms of medical documentation through various healthcare practice venues. Amy enjoys writing about healthcare administration strategies, including electronic health record systems.

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Amy Vant