HCA’s Approach to data

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality https://www.ahrq.gov within HHS, has developed a series of case studies to help accelerate learning and innovation in healthcare delivery to achieve the effective use of data in the clinical setting for continuous learning and improvement.

One of the case studies describes how HCA https://hcahealthcare.com, a for-profit health system is committed to capturing data broadly and using the information to provide insights and generate knowledge. “Our data ecosystem goes far beyond the EHR as the EHR is a transactional system within the larger information ecosystem” said Jonathan Perlin MD, PhD Chief Medical Officer at HCA.

HCA is viewing their data both predictively as to what is going to happen and prescriptively as to what HCA should be doing. The health system has brought in data scientists to apply machine learning, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence.

For example, HCA is using natural language process and machine learning to segregate pathology reports into benign and malignant reports to identify types of cancer. As a result, HCA’s cancer coordinators no longer spend the bulk of their time reading through pathology reports and now patients can have their biopsy results within 24 hours.

HCA has also rolled out a program that uses predictive analytics to identify sepsis before a clinician typically can spot the infection. Under the “Sepsis Prevention and Optimization of Therapy” (SPOT) program, a series of algorithms in the health system’s data centers comb through significant pieces of patient information in real time such as lab reports and vital signs, capable of triggering an alert when signs of sepsis show up.

The health system has captured every clinical data element in their system since 2009. The data contained in the clinical data warehouse is aligned to additional data systems housing discrete business functions. HCA is working to create a single enterprise data warehouse to contain both a traditional structured data center and an unstructured information system that will include notes and images and eventually audio and visual elements.

Go to https://ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/lhs/lhs_case_studies_hca.pdf to view the HCA case study.

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