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Building a Better Alert: A Conversation with Dr. Jeffrey Hertzberg

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - By: Hixny

Few things can improve provider response and care coordination like real-time alerts. But not all alerts are created equal. How do you design a timely, well-targeted alert—and keep it from becoming background noise?

For the answers, Hixny turned to one of the foremost thought leaders in healthcare IT.

Dr. Jeffrey Hertzberg, M.D., M.S., President of Medformatics, Inc., has spent more than 20 years of his career designing and implementing healthcare information systems.  This expertise, combined with his experience as a board-certified physician in generalJeff Hertzberg, MD, hi-res - for website internal medicine, gives him a unique view of the various needs within the healthcare system—and how clinical data can meet those needs.

Today, he works with Hixny as a subject matter expert to identify the proper information for alerts and the best ways of providing that information. Here, he shares his views on why intelligent, standardized alerting is critical as the healthcare industry evolves.

Q: Providers have more access to patient information than ever before. Why is now the time to change the kind of information they are receiving in alerts?

A: We have entered the era of value-based healthcare, and as this shift becomes reality, providers need clinical information that goes beyond the basics and dives deeper into what’s happening with patients now, wherever they are on the healthcare continuum.

Q: How is your work with Hixny broadening the definition of valuable information, as opposed to simply information?

A: In my work with Hixny, we are getting to real-time information that is vital: for example, the blood pressure reading that could make a difference in a patient’s life. Our objective is to alert doctors with this vital information at a time when they can still do something to impact the outcome.

We aren’t just alerting for the sake of alerting. We are building in the intelligence and logic for the system to only trigger an alert with information that matters most to a patient’s well-being.

Q: Right now there’s a communication gap as patients work with many different providers. How do we close those gaps?  

A: That’s the value of what Hixny is doing. What sets Hixny apart from others is how interoperable it is with other systems—seamlessly communicating the most valuable nugget of information to providers so that they can take action.

Q: What’s the process for ensuring that providers can rely on the information they’re receiving in alerts?

A: We are working directly with a team of clinical providers for this very purpose: collecting feedback from them, listening to what they need and find most useful in alerts. In addition, we are basing triggers in the system for hypertension and diabetes on nationally accepted guidelines for 2016. From all this input, we are filtering out everything that is not actionable to ensure that alerts provide the most clinically relevant information.

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