Using data to navigate the COVID-19 crisis

From electronic healthcare records to mapping the human genome, data remains critical to quality healthcare.

At no time could the significance of healthcare data be more crucial. The COVID-19 crisis has magnified the importance of collecting and maintaining accurate medical information. Working with IBM, we developed a solution built on IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management, a platform that creates a master patient index (MPI), a single, accurate record for each of 9 million individuals in our healthcare network.

This means we at The Health Collaborative can deliver on our commitment to support high quality healthcare. As the TriState region’s coordinator for the Greater Cincinnati Disaster Preparedness Coalition (DPC), and the only Health Information Exchange (HIE) responsible for disaster response, The Health Collaborative is uniquely positioned to support the DPC in facilitating regional coordination and collaboration. A coalition of more than 270 member hospitals and health systems comprise an integrated command structure that unites 16 teams of healthcare professionals from hospitals, emergency and medical services, emergency management, public health and other community partners.

The COVID-19 crisis magnifies the necessity for information sharing and coordination. Our existing information systems enabled us to quickly develop a means to notify practice physicians and help them identify afflicted patients and others they may have exposed. Using the MPI we can help streamline information gathering and information reconciliation, confirming tests carried out by labs outside our patient registration system are identified and linked to patient records. When lab results return, we use the MPI to pinpoint specific data to verify whether a person is on a known physician panel, enabling us to notify that physician that a patient in their care has tested positive and whether they are self-isolating at home, or are hospitalized.

At our organization, data is our DNA. As a Health Information Exchange (HIE), our mission spans an expansive mandate. Our solutions aggregate individual medical histories, treatment plans, immunization records, medications and allergies, imaging and laboratory test results for patients in the State of Ohio and surrounding areas. We populate our system with this rich trove of information to inform clinical tools that providers use to refine their diagnoses, helping streamline the healthcare workflow.

The Health Collaborative can realign patient information, remaster the data to see if we have name, address, phone, Social Security and other information, and align with our MPI to locate, aggregate and deduplicate data. This is especially helpful for the Ohio Department of Health, which has no master patient index to resolve data discrepancies by person.

By contrast, The Health Collaborative contains extensive records for more than nine million Ohioans. With our ability to bring person, address, demographic data and geocoding to the mix, we can develop mapping patterns, pinpointing hospitals and other areas of concern, including examining whether gender, race, ethnicity and economic circumstance renders certain populations more vulnerable.

Working with biostatisticians and correlating their information with ours, we are building a system that enables greater visibility into the particulars of the virus. The data we have gathered and compared reveals many points of interest, unveiling patterns that may not have been evident before. In concert with the medical scientific community we are examining rates of transmission, information about immunity, geocoding for outbreak location, statistical spatial analysis of geographic transmission patterns, and validating whether the data we have gathered is providing a correct picture of the efficacy of our efforts.

Our work at The Health Collaborative remains ever evolving. COVID-19 has provided the opportunity to further expand our technology capabilities and talents to serve the needs of our healthcare community and our region. Despite all the work we do with healthcare information, every new piece of data sparks a new question, increasing the need for further analysis and validation. Whether consolidating a patient’s medical records or analyzing aggregated data from patients in a single zip code, our goal remains the sameextrapolate meaning from healthcare data, that better supports individual health outcomes in our region.

The Health Collaborative is a non-profit organization that leads data-driven improvements that result in healthier people, better care and lower costs. To learn more, visit:

From data integration to data quality and data governance, IBM InfoSphere Information Server has the flexibility to meet your unique requirements. For more information, visit:

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