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Cardiologists Will Soon Be Data Scientists, Too

How software is making cardiology structured reporting a source of empowerment and collaboration for providers

When Dr. James Tcheng isn’t operating on patients at Duke Health, he can be found in front of a computer, coding away at solutions for cardiology.

His affinity for both biology and technology makes sense, as digital innovation becomes a hallmark of good healthcare. It’s also reflective of a trend happening across the industry – clinicians are learning to think and operate like data scientists as well as caregivers.

“I’ve been a computer geek for as long as I can remember,” Dr. Tcheng said. “Through high school and especially into college, I did everything I could to figure out how computers worked. With my career at Duke, I spent the first 17 to 18 years in the clinical trials arena. I then had the epiphany: I can develop all this science, follow the scientific method, develop evidence all I want, but to disseminate it, it needs to be embedded into clinical processes and especially clinical systems — computers, if you will. That’s how I became focused much more on the informatics side.”

Central to the idea of “clinicians as coders” is structured reporting –  a unified process through which clinicians input patient data.

Structured reporting, according to Dr. Tcheng, helps hold healthcare professionals accountable for effectively capturing and managing individual pieces of patient data, thus enabling the information to be reused for different purposes and prompting others on the care team to fill gaps in information where needed.

“When all members of the team are doing components of the documentation, you can cut the amount of time to document a procedure by more than 50 percent, and you can make the final reports available almost immediately,” Dr. Tcheng said. “The mantra is capture once, use it many times.”

That mantra resonates – not just in clinical practice but in everyday life. Imagine the time saved when information like your address, frequent flyer identification or credit card number is auto-populated. The data is captured once but can be used over and over again without additional time or effort.

A structured reporting tool that is already delivering outcomes for hospitals and health systems is GE Healthcare’s Centricity Cardio Workflow (CCW).

Connecting data from all modalities to a single cardiology information system, CCW allows cardiologists to document patient reports with less clicks, less time and less complexity. For example, CCW includes a feature where clinicians can fill out an “all normal” report and then document by exception. It also enables clinicians to see how the report will look as they enter the data, so they can easily see what is missing and address those gaps before submission.

Ascension Wheaton Franciscan, one of the largest providers of care in Southeast Wisconsin, saw a 92 percent decrease (from 7.5 hours to 30 minutes) in cardiac catheterization physician report turnaround time with the use of CCW. The tool also helped reduce the variability in report turnaround times – from a difference of 1.2 days to just two hours.[1]

Globally, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) account for 31 percent of all deaths. Among Americans, approximately one person dies from the disease every 40 seconds. In addition to the toll that CVD takes on lives, it also drives incredible costs – an estimated $1,044 billion by 2030. [2],[3]  Given the volume of patients who enter hospitals needing cardiovascular care, it’s critical that the doctors who treat them are empowered with tools that centralize clinical information and drive efficiency.

“The stronger the data you have, the better off an individual patient will be, or the health of all patients will become, based upon the implementation of structured reporting,” Dr. Tcheng said.

 

[1] The results expressed in this document may not be applicable to a particular site or installation and individual results may vary. This document and its contents are provided to you for informational purposes only and do not constitute a representation, warranty or performance guarantee. GE disclaims liability for any loss, which may arise from reliance on or use of information, contained in this document.
[2] http://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/ten-points-to-remember/2017/02/09/14/58/heart-disease-and-stroke-statistics-2017
[3] https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm