Tony Ryan, Co-founder & CEO, MedVault
Clinical staff today are spending more and more time on data entry and repetitive administrative work than ever before. This is not what doctors had in mind when they first started training and it is most certainly not the optimal state of affairs for patients. I think it is clear for all to see that change is needed especially with some studies showing that doctors are spending as little as 33% of their day interacting directly with patients. Given this environment the most valuable commodity in medicine today is time, yet so much of it is being consumed by non-critical tasks. At MedVault we believe data science can help to turn the tide on this administrative burden by unlocking new levels of clinic efficiency. Fortunately the key resource necessary to power this change is already in place within the majority of clinics in the developed world….clinical data.
Since the introduction of electronic health records clinics and practices have collected a wealth of information but today still, they can only access a fraction of its true utility. This is because around 80% of data collected is unstructured making it about as useful as its paper predecessor for analysis. Thanks to recent advancements in natural language processing and machine learning this unstructured data can now be converted into smart structured data. This new resource can now be used to power any number of useful tools that will help clinics and practices to more efficiently manage their administrative burden. For example, new chronic disease management programs which are becoming more and more prevalent in the primary care sector require several administrative tasks. From firstly identifying your patients with the disease to registration and continued monitoring to maintain compliance the workload is significant. By using the newly structured data resource clinics will be able to access a simple monthly report that identifies a list of all their chronic disease patients (e.g. unregistered diabetes patients) in minutes instead of spending days sifting through records. This instantly saves clinic staff time enabling them focus on more pressing matters. By making data smart and unlocking its inherent value for everyone we believe clinics can really start to claw back much of the time that has been taken from them by increased administration and compliance.
Smart structured data not only allows for the automation of various repetitive tasks but can also be used to simplify the complex and help reduce human error. For example, the screening process for repeat prescriptions can be tedious and time consuming leading to errors falling through the cracks. In most cases these errors are picked up by the pharmacist resulting in a phone call to clarify and more doctor time consumed. In the worst-case scenario the errors can result in serious litigation. By using a simple online request form and putting a pre-screening solution in place to compare the patient’s previous prescriptions to those requested (including generic alternatives etc.) the majority of repetitive work can be removed, and accuracy can be improved. Net benefits for the clinic are a streamlined screening process, reduction in time spent clarifying prescriptions with pharmacists and less litigation risk. Smart structured data has the potential to make a significant impact on clinics without requiring them to change or massively alter their current processes. Instead it can be moulded to the needs of each specific clinic. At MedVault we believe smart structured clinical data will become a key foundational resource for all clinics in the future enabling them to do more with less and freeing staff to focus on what they do best…treat patients.
MedVault is an award winning Irish medical technology start-up with the goal of creating a more efficient and data driven primary care system. MedVault is currently piloting its innovative MedVault analytics solution in a number of clinics across Ireland and plans to make its solution available to all clinics in Q4 this year. MedVault analytics helps clinics to convert its unstructured data into smart structured data and provides the tools to make use of this new resource. These tools include a solution to help clinics to automate repetitive admin tasks associated with chronic disease management and also a tool to help clinics identify missing STCs that should be claimed each month.