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Most Hospitals Employ Some Type of Clinical Surveillance Product

Most hospitals are using a clinical surveillance solution, whether from a third-party, built in-house, or as part of their EHR, according to a recent survey of 100 hospital executives.

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Source: Thinkstock

By Fred Donovan

- Most hospitals are using a clinical surveillance solution, whether from a third-party, built in-house, or as part of their EHR, according to a recent survey of 100 hospital executives by Sage Growth Partners on behalf of clinical surveillance provider VigiLanz.

Clinical surveillance solutions enable physicians, nurses, and other care team members to better monitor patients, particularly those susceptible to worsening or life-threatening conditions.

The top five ways clinical surveillance can be most helpful are (in order): identifying adverse drug events, advancing antimicrobial stewardship initiatives, patient safety alerts, preventing inpatient infections, and managing readmissions.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents said that clinical surveillance is extremely, very, or moderately important to their organization. Nine percent of respondents said it is only slightly important, and 3 percent said it was not important at all or they did not know its importance.

More than two-thirds (71 percent) of respondents said they invest in additional technology solutions to help them synthesize and understand EHR clinical data.

Two-fifths of respondents said they use their EHR for clinical data analytics, 27 percent for financial data analytics, and 26 percent for operational data analytics. Five percent said their EHR does not offer any of those data analytic capabilities, and 2 percent said they do not leverage their EHR’s analytic capabilities.

Of the respondents who use their EHR's clinical data analytics, 29 percent said it works extremely or very well, 49 percent said it works moderately well, and 22 percent said it works slightly well or not well at all.

More than three-quarters of respondents said they have probably or definitely seen return on investment (ROI) from their clinical surveillance solution, 19 percent were unsure, and 2 percent said there was probably no ROI.

“As hospitals continue to take on more value-based payment models, their ROI for clinical surveillance will grow,” said VigiLanz CEO David Goldsteen.

A full 92 percent of respondents said their clinical surveillance technology definitely or probably helps them improve quality, while 8 percent were unsure.

Close to one-quarter of respondents said at least 31 percent of their revenue will be tied to value in 2019. Of those, 6 percent said more than half of their revenue will be tied to value.

Of respondents who solely use a third-party clinical surveillance solution, more than one-third said that over 31 percent of their revenue will be tied to value-based contracts in 2019.

“Our survey showed that those who use a third-party solution for clinical surveillance are also more involved in value-based payment models, suggesting that they view clinical surveillance as a key lever for their success,” said Goldsteen.

Only 15 percent of respondents who solely use an EHR for clinical surveillance said that more than 31 percent of their revenue will be tied to value.

“I believe that we will only continue to see hospital leaders and physicians choose these solutions for a broader spectrum of patient care insights than is available through EMRs. These insights lead to more optimal care decisions that help them meet quality and cost targets and will lead to greater success under value-based payment models now and in the future,” Goldsteen concluded.

An earlier Spyglass Consulting survey of 30 clinical informatics thought leaders at hospitals and health systems identified a number of benefits from clinical surveillance solutions: improving quality of care and outcomes by enhancing patient safety and reducing the risk of hospital-acquired conditions and patient’s length of stay, increasing regulatory compliance, reducing healthcare costs by avoiding expensive ICU transfers and hospital readmissions, and increasing staff satisfaction by providing state-of-the art tools.

At the same time, hospitals were sceptical about vendor claims concerning early detection and predictive warnings for patients considered at-risk of deteriorating conditions. Hospitals want vendors to provide validation of claims through published peer reviewed articles that demonstrate the clinical efficacy of their algorithms based on hospital data and a way to review and modify their algorithms to address the needs of their unique clinical environment and protocols.

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