Applying Information Lifecycle Management Strategies Enables Healthcare Providers to Accelerate Clinical Workflow

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1 An EMC Healthcare Perspective Applying Information Lifecycle Management Strategies Enables Healthcare Providers to Accelerate Clinical Workflow By Roberta A. Katz

2 Healthcare Information Technology Challenges Information Lifecycle Management Enables Information-Based Medicine....2 The Lifecycle of a Patient Record Building an Information Lifecycle Management Strategy About the Author At healthcare organizations across the world, patient safety may be at risk every time critical information is not available to make an immediate diagnosis at the point of care. At the same time, healthcare providers face a delicate balancing act as they attempt to decrease costs while improving patient safety and the quality of care. As digital information continues to explode, healthcare organizations need to adopt strategies to manage the lifecycle of patient information which often must be kept for decades to meet state, federal, and country laws and regulations. Applying information lifecycle management methodologies enables healthcare providers to take control of information throughout a patient s lifetime, making information available wherever and whenever it is needed. Investments in the right technology solutions can also streamline clinical workflow while ensuring compliance with regulations. Healthcare Information Technology Challenges As healthcare digital assets continue to grow, achieving a unified patient view can expedite care decisions, enhance the patient experience, and lead to reduced length of patient stay. In fact, according to the American Hospital Association, one third of U.S. hospitals continue to operate in the red due, in part, to inefficiencies in the accessibility of information to support patient care decision making. For instance, today, many physicians still manually write orders and request information from multiple departments within and outside their healthcare organization. These requests can take hours to days to fulfill due to the retrieval time needed for archived information. At the same time, hospital staff may duplicate efforts as patient information is manually input two or more times, which further contributes to rising healthcare costs and increases the risk of human errors. By moving paper-based and manual processes online, healthcare providers will ultimately gain operational efficiencies leading to accelerated clinical care decision making. Additionally, federal, state, and country laws and regulations drive the need for an improved approach to information management. In the United States, federal and state regulations require that hospitals retain patient records for the life of a patient and beyond, while HIPAA requires organizations to implement business continuity strategies to protect patient information. As adoption of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) expands, many European countries are also looking at standards to protect patient information and privacy. As healthcare organizations design compliance strategies, they need to consider Electronic Transaction Rules for billing, insurance eligibility, patient referrals, and transaction codes; Privacy Rules to protect confidentiality of health information and patient rights; and Security Rules for administrative, physical, and technical safeguards of health information. Consequently, healthcare organizations must implement policies and systems that safeguard information over its entire lifecycle to ensure compliance. Information Lifecycle Management Enables Information-Based Medicine Applying information lifecycle management (ILM) strategies to improve information management challenges is a growing trend within healthcare organizations. The ability to effectively manage, retrieve, archive, reuse, and selectively delete information generated throughout the healthcare continuum will ultimately accelerate clinical workflow and turnaround times for Radiology and Electronic Health Record applications and improve operational efficiencies. 2

3 Patient information often changes change in value as it moves through its lifecycle. However, these changes typically do not always occur in a linear fashion. A patient entering the emergency room may make an inactive and aging clinical test highly critical, requiring instant availability for comparison during a new cardiac episode. Additionally, authorized caregivers require patient information immediately, whether at a remote location, such as a home office, or within the hospital unit. Gaining a full patient history is further complicated as a single online patient view should capture multiple patient encounters from multiple providers, including comparison of x-ray images, medication, test results, allergy histories, and previous care episodes. All of this information may be generated by a variety of clinical applications from multiple application vendors and clinical services (i.e., Radiology, Cardiology, and Pediatrics) and is often stored on heterogeneous systems and media. By improving online clinical workflow and building fully digitized and networked healthcare environments, physicians gain immediate access to live and archived Picture Archiving Communications Systems (PACS) and Electronic Health Record data to make realtime critical clinical decisions. Providing a flexible, tiered networked storage infrastructure allows healthcare organizations to match the value of patient data with a corresponding price and performance layer of storage. With rapid access to complete, online patient history, caregivers are now enabled to make accurate diagnoses faster, uncover medication allergies and improve patient safety, while delivering a consistently successful patient outcome. Implementing an ILM strategy can help improve the challenges associated with healthcare information management. This includes: Providing a single view that centralizes all patient information across multiple clinical and financial systems across the system to develop a safe treatment plan based on information-based medicine. Improving storage utilization with tiered networked storage platforms and software to increase visibility into all enterprise information. Simplifying management through increased automation and by integrating process steps and interfaces to the individual tools in place today. Offering a wider range of backup, protection, and recovery options to balance the need for continuity with the cost of losing specific information. Improving compliance with state, federal, and country laws and regulations by having better knowledge and control up front regarding what data needs to be protected and for how long. 3

4 The Lifecycle of a Patient Record The recent HIMSS Leadership Survey reported that improving patient safety and reducing medical errors continue to be top business issues and IT priorities for CIOs, followed closely by HIPAA compliance. Applying an ILM strategy recognizes that hospital information needs keep changing over time throughout multiple care episodes with multiple providers. This approach means that all of the information physicians need to deliver high-quality patient care remains accessible and online, regardless of age. Building an Information Lifecycle Management Strategy ILM strategies utilize a combination of hardware, software, and services, typically implemented in a phased approach. For example, healthcare organizations may start by classifying data and applications on the basis of clinical priority or business rules and policies to enable differentiated treatment of information. Then, automated policies can be implemented by leveraging information management tools, from creation to disposal of patient data. An ILM strategy also involves managing the environment with integrated tools that interface with multi-vendor platforms and reduce operational complexity of clinical point solutions. Finally, CIOs can tier their storage resources by classes of data, storing information on the right type of infrastructure based on its current value. 4

5 Bottom line. An ILM strategy enables healthcare CIOs and clinical end users to realize a significant return on IT investment by improving clinical workflow and productivity, reducing inefficient processes, thereby lowering costs. ILM also enables healthcare providers to address state, federal, and country laws and regulations for security and transaction standards, and to gain operational efficiencies by more efficiently managing e- mail archiving, applications infrastructure, consolidation, replication, and backup and continuity solutions. Most importantly, by enabling fast, efficient access to critical information, healthcare organizations can provide safe, quality patient care. About the Author Roberta Katz is Director and Global Solutions Leader for the EMC Healthcare Life Sciences Solutions Group. EMC is the world leader in information storage and management. Roberta, with more than 21 years experience in the industry and six years at EMC Corporation, and her team are responsible for advancing EMC s information storage solutions in the healthcare - life sciences industry. EMC Corporation Hopkinton Massachusetts In North America EMC 2, EMC, and where information lives are registered trademarks of EMC Corporation. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. Published in the USA. 12/04 Healthcare White Paper H

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