Tapping the Potential of Device Data

There is untapped potential to connect medical devices with an analytics engine that provides actionable insights that clinicians can use as part of their decision-making process. When you equip clinicians with data when they need it, they can achieve efficiencies and avoid potentially harmful events.

Clinical decision support (CDS) tools aim to help clinicians provide the best care possible. When there is a change in patient status or a harmful drug interaction, for example, CDS can enable clinicians to intervene faster. CDS tools can also help clinicians personalize a treatment plan based on certain data points that are unique to an individual patient. As these data points fluctuate, a CDS tool can adapt insights it delivers to clinicians.

Most of the time, however, critical data are either trapped on the medical device or in the hospital electronic health record (EHR). Another common obstacle is the volume of data available. It can be difficult for the care team to make sense of it, especially in a time sensitive situation. The key is to merge critical data points with a clinical decision support system that is designed to provide timely, actionable, and accountable information tailored to a patient’s needs.

Here’s what it takes to connect the data dots:

1. Think data-first

To maximize value of available clinical data, most hospitals need to start with a clean, comprehensive dataset. Gathering good information requires buy-in from clinicians who input key data into the EHR. They need to understand best practices for documentation, as well as why it’s critical to enter patient data correctly.

2. Start at the end

Now that there is so much available clinical data, it’s important to have an end-goal in mind to make sense of it all.  

“We’ve had customers ask us for all of the data from their infusion pump fleet, which is thousands of pieces of data,” said Traci Reed, director of Digital Customer Experience at Baxter. “Instead of starting at the device, start at the endpoint – what problem are you trying to solve? It is often more useful to start with a manageable question – such as analyzing pump data for times when the drug library was overridden – than to try to ask the data what it can tell you generally.”

Providing the right data in the right place to the right people at the right time is how healthcare organizations can achieve more informed, effective and efficient care.

Traci Reed, Director, Customer Value & Integration

3. Empower clinicians to leverage actionable insights

Overburdened clinicians do not have time to sift through a data haystack to find the one needle that might make a difference for their patient. The key is to invest in technologies that collect and analyze clinical data in near real-time and then deliver insights that are easy to view and interpret. For example, special alerts can be customized to notify clinicians when parameters change in a certain patient type. And, tools can be developed to guide clinical intervention, step-by-step, that combine an established clinical protocol with patient data such as vital signs.

4. Expand data accessibility

The clinical utility of patient data extends beyond the bedside. Insights derived from data can help healthcare organizations better educate patients once they leave the hospital, empowering them to manage their conditions from home. Leaders, meanwhile, can use health data to assess performance, set standards and invest in technologies that help meet quality measures and better serve patients.

“Providing the right data in the right place to the right people at the right time is how healthcare organizations can achieve more informed, effective and efficient care,” said Traci.