Dr. Jeffrey Hertzberg, President of Medformatics, Inc., has spent more than 20 years designing and implementing healthcare information systems. This expertise, combined with his experience as a board-certified physician in general internal medicine practice, gives him a unique ability to understand both the information needs of providers as well as the technical capabilities necessary to deliver actionable clinical data that leads to a better overall patient experience and directly impacts positive outcomes.
He has been working closely with Hixny as a thought leader and subject matter expert to define the delivery of the right information for alerts as well as how that information is provided to be of value and result in more proactive patient engagement.
Dr. Hertzberg 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 what information they are receiving alerts about?
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 is going on with patients at whatever touchpoint in the healthcare continuum they are interacting with.
Q: How is the work you’re doing with Hixny broadening what constitutes valuable information versus information?
A: My work with Hixny is so important because we are getting to the real-time information that is vital. For example, the blood pressure reading that could make a difference in a patient’s life, and alerting the doctor at the time when they can still do something to impact the outcome for the good of the patient.
Q: Right now there’s a communication gap as patients work with many different providers. How do those gaps get closed?
A: That’s the value of what Hixny is doing. What sets Hixny apart from others is how interoperable it is with other systems. Communicating across any system means the most valuable nugget of information is being passed to the provider to enable them to take action. 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: What’s the process for ensuring that providers can rely on the information they’re receiving in alerts?
A: We have taken the very important step of working directly with a team of providers to collect feedback from them and listen to what it is they need and find most useful when alerts are sent. We are basing triggers in the system for hypertension and diabetes on nationally accepted guidelines for 2016. We are filtering out everything that is not actionable and designing the alerts in close collaboration with a team of clinical partners to ensure the alerts provide the most clinically relevant information.
Q: What impact do you think registries like the ones being developed in New York State for hypertension and diabetes will have in improving population health?
A: Traditional quality reporting has been retrospective, which has really limited its value. It isn’t helpful to find out those patients with hypertension and diabetes didn’t receive the care they needed six or twelve months later. Retrospective quality reporting waits until there’s a problem and then reports on it and oftentimes that’s too late for many patients. In New York State, an alert system is being developed that notifies in real time, helping providers go from reactive to proactive. With this new system, as soon as the “exception” is recorded in the registry (e.g., a previously normotensive individual has a dangerously high blood pressure reading), the responsible provider is alerted and action can be taken. That’s what makes this work so exciting: the ability to impact population health for the better now becomes a reality.