Technology a backbone for med group's population health efforts

As the practice of medicine continues to evolve into a more collaborative effort, physicians should stop working in silos, according to Robert Fortini, chief clinical officer at Richmond, Va.-based Bon Secours Medical Group.

Fortini, in a recent interview with Healthcare Informatics, discussed how Bon Secours uses information technology to propel its population health efforts.

"Not to quote Atul Gawande, but you can't practice like a cowboy anymore, you need a pit crew," Fortini said. "Medical practice has very much evolved into a team sport. ... [Y]ou have to take away as many [documentation] obligations away from the physician as possible."

At present, according to Fortini, Bon Secours uses internally developed solutions that attach to its electronic health record system to analyze patient statistics. The solutions give providers a risk-based score from 0 to 19 that helps to determine Bon Secours' progress on efforts such as reducing length of stay and emergency department visits.

"We've built out various patient registries within [our EHR] and have applied tools to those registries," Fortini said.

At a Health IT Policy Committee meeting last month, National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo said that the next phase of work at ONC will focus on harnessing health IT for population health.

"That is the major next chapter that we must undertake as part of the President's major domestic policy initiative," DeSalvo told the committee. "[T]o see the promise of health information technology in the clinical interface for the health systems and the population and community at large to come to fruition.

Last June, Bon Secours became part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program for accountable care organizations. A report published a month earlier in May by the Institute of Health Technology Transformation determined that analytics are the key to population health management and the success of AOs. The paper concedes that there is "no single roadmap to achieving analytics excellence," but sets out an analytics framework starting with establishing a data governance committee, putting together an analytics team through setting benchmarks and ways to measure efforts.

To learn more:
- read the full Healthcare Informatics interview

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