Patient data helps navigate the COVID-19 crisis for nine million Ohioans

By | 3 minute read | December 8, 2020

woman looking at data

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 at The Healthcare Collaborative 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 can deliver on our commitment to support high quality healthcare.

A Health Information Exchange responsible for disaster response

As the Tri-State 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 that 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. This enables 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.

Rich patient information informs clinical tools

At our organization, data is our DNA. As a Health Information Exchange, 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 number 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 to pinpoint hospitals and other areas of concern, including examining whether gender, race, ethnicity and economic circumstance renders certain populations more vulnerable.

A system for visibility into COVID-19

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 provides 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 same—to extrapolate meaning from healthcare data that better supports individual health outcomes in our region.

Watch Dwight Blubaugh discuss master data management for COVID-19 response.