Over the past decade, Healthcare Informatics has recognized healthcare leadership teams who have gone above and beyond in their use of information technology solutions with the Innovator Awards. But those innovators could not have achieved such success without dedicated vendor partners. To that end, Healthcare Informatics now brings the Leading Edge Awards, honoring vendors whose combination of expertise and innovation are shaping the future of healthcare systems. The 2015 winner in the category of Cost Savings is Loop360 Healthcare Solutions, an Austin, Texas-based vendor that takes a 360° view of your healthcare needs. Vipul Mankad, M.D., founder, chairman and chief medical officer of Loop360, spoke with Healthcare Informatics about the importance of clinical analytics—and why identifying quality issues before they happen can offer your organization significant cost savings. He also emphasized how predicting adverse, expensive medical events allows the organization to focus care coordination resources and reduce costs.
Vipul Mankad, M.D.
Healthcare Informatics: Tell me more about Loop360’s overall mission.
Vipul Mankad, M.D.: Our mission is to make a positive impact on the quality of healthcare—and the cost of healthcare in our society. To accomplish that mission, we develop technologies that assess evidence-based care and predict those adverse events that result in expensive care. Because, if we can help provide better ambulatory care, we can both improve the quality of patient care and prevent excessive costs, for example, those related to unnecessary hospitalization.
Healthcare Informatics: What are some of the biggest challenges you see healthcare organizations facing when it comes to managing those excessive costs?
Vipul Mankad, M.D.: First, it’s not easy to align the incentives of providers, insurance companies, patients and society. All of those groups need information. But in healthcare, too often, we’re data rich but information poor. There is a lot of data in the physician’s offices, from patients and family members and from insurance companies. But, historically, we haven’t made good use of that data. As a result, the CEO, the doctor, the patient or the patient’s family does not have actionable information.
Healthcare was slower than many other industry to move from paper to information technology systems. And now that there’s been a fundamental change in the way we process information in healthcare, we’ve done a good job of creating electronic records—and we’ve even made many of those records interoperable. We have standards so different systems can talk to each other. But while all those repositories have information, they don’t have state-of-the-art analytics to help us make the best use of information. And actionable, clinical and predictive analyses are required to use all that information so that we can really manage costs.
Healthcare Informatics: How can making sense of all that data help to lower the cost of care?
Vipul Mankad, M.D.: The first thing that any analytics platform needs is to integrate data from disparate sources and make it analyzable. You need to clean and scrub the data so it can be used. And the analytics need to be agnostic of the EMR systems. The platform needs to be able to take data from any system, regardless of what kind of electronic medical record (EMR) system or business system you have. The system must also integrate the insurance company data, often provided in a different format. And all the other data systems, labs or images, that are part of your organization. Once that database is created, you often see data presented in dashboards. A descriptive deployment of common diseases, high-cost patients and locations where higher costs are occurring. And while that’s helpful, it doesn’t give you the whole picture. It is like driving a car while looking at the rear view mirror. It does not tell you where future costs or quality problems are.
That’s where Loop360 distinguishes itself. Because we offer advanced analytics that can analyze the performance of providers to see if what their practice is consistent with nationally accepted clinical guidelines. Why is this important? Because we know that patients in the U.S. only get about 50 percent of the recommended care—and often they are receiving excessive care not recommended in the guidelines. So our analysis places an emphasis on unnecessary care, that which is not consistent with guidelines. We call it “Don’t Do” guidelines. Our analysis allows you to catch those instances, have a dialogue with providers, and then reduce that unnecessary care and unnecessary costs.
Healthcare Informatics: Many healthcare organizations are moving to accountable care organizations (ACOs). How can Loop360’s analytics help them manage the changes that come with such a move?