Fred Zolla, Executive Chairman, Stratus Interoperable
Interoperability is the number one strategic imperative confronting the healthcare industry today. Unfortunately, electronic health record systems (EHRs) are not interoperable—nor are many of the software systems used to run healthcare businesses today.
Without interoperability—healthcare reform won’t happen. The adverse impact on patient outcomes, safety and healthcare costs will continue to grow and organizational improvement will stagnate. To be truly interoperable, healthcare organizations (HCOs) need the ability to access, manage and connect all data sources across the continuum of care, quickly develop Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and apply advanced analytics so they can develop actionable insights and make more informed decisions—faster.
“The real problem is twofold,” said Fred Zolla, Executive Chairman of Stratus Interoperable, Inc. “First, the healthcare information technology industry as a whole—and electronic health record vendors in specific, have no real financial incentive to address interoperability issues quickly and often make the problem worse by holding data hostage for additional fees. Second, universal interoperability as currently defined, is still many years away from being a reality and there is no guarantee that it will work when and if it gets here. We simply need a new way of thinking about interoperability, so data transparency can happen now!”
Instead of addressing interoperability from a vendors’ perspective, Zolla and his team reimagined interoperability from the providers perspective. Rather than trying to force all data sources to talk to each other, the team believed it would be simpler and faster to take a vendor neutral approach and build a platform that would act as a bridge between data sources. Since all the needed technology is already available, Zolla felt that with a process and data model redesign this approach would allow providers to access, analyze and exchange data immediately, rather than waiting for the EHR industry or the government to set standards. It could also replace rigid, one-size-fits-all government/industry standards with a flexible solution that could change as data needs change.
The Stratus Interoperable team also understood that EHR’s and other transactional database systems are simply the wrong tool to use for the advanced data analysis needed to drive actionable insights. By taking a fresh approach to process, utilizing data warehouse technology for superior analytics and creating a proprietary, patent pending data model, the platform could integrate clinical, financial and operations data from across the care continuum into centrally accessible longitudinal patient records. Providers would have real time access to the data they needed, make faster and more informed decisions, improve clinical outcomes, reduce costs and increase strategic competitive advantage.
Over the past three years, Stratus Interoperable developed and commercialized StratusLink™
—a Data Management and Business Intelligence Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables decision makers at all levels across the continuum of care to quickly access, analyze and share comprehensive patient health data, make better decisions and more successfully forecast the future. StratusLink is affordable for HCOs of any size, it operates separately from EHRs and other healthcare information systems and it does not compete with or replace either.
“What makes StratusLink such a great solution is not that it can connect data from any disparate IT system,” states Zolla, “but unlike transactional database systems, the platform can efficiently retrieve and organize large data sets, handle complex analytical queries and make all that data centrally accessible and strategically usable—right now.”
How StratusLink Works
StratusLink agnostically collects data, regardless of its source or format from any clinical, financial or operational system. StratusLink aggregates the data into a highly secure and HIPAA compliant data warehouse. The data is then converted into proprietary longitudinal patient record (LPR) comprised of integrated data files from a range of sources such as payers’ claims data, providers’ EMRs/EHRs, practice management systems, patients themselves, and other providers. The process creates a comprehensive, precise and addressable medical history of each patient. This comprehensive patient by patient medical history becomes the foundation to apply advanced analytics that extract the true value from data, even data that’s siloed or held hostage in vendor controlled systems.
Next the data is normalized, which includes three sub-components: audit trail, data tag, and anomalies detection. The audit trail extensively audits and documents the sequence of the data as it moves from a data source to LPRs and provides optimum protection against any data corruption. Data tagging ensures attaching the right data to the right patient.
“We’ve designed a master patient indexer that looks at all appropriate touch points and tags patients with unique identifiers, enabling smooth access to patient records and fool-proofing their accuracy,” says Zolla.
StratusLink then identifies any anomalies by making continuous counter-checks of various data sources. A good example was when our marquee customer, L.A. Jewish Home (LAJH), a premier long-term post-acute care provider, was developing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for its census—they noticed an initial recording indicating 12,700 active patients. A platform counter-check mechanism identified an actual census of 1200 beds and LAJH was immediately able to recalculate and rebuild the KPIs.
Last but by no means least, the StratusLink platform delivers advanced, search-driven analytics built to enable authorized individuals get their questions answered, visualize data, build/ share reports and dashboards—all in seconds with little or no training.
“Our analytics engine is as easy to use as performing a Google® search” explained Zolla, “and Its clinical, financial and operations viewers deliver a 360-degree view of longitudinal patient records as well as a 360-degree view of the organization.” The StratusLink platform is also equipped with a library of hundreds of KPIs, with relevant KPIs pre-linked to CMS Quality Measures. Users can also quickly and easily build their own KPI’s and dashboards on-the-fly, all of which simplifies and speeds communications, reports and presentations.
The simplicity and flexibility of the platform is indeed a testament to Stratus Interoperable’s incredible success. Built on the value of innovation, accountability, trust, and caring, the dynamic team at Stratus Interoperable is not short on future planning. It intends to further develop StratusLink by moving to Microsoft Azure and making StratusLink available to accountable care organizations, hospitals, health systems and beyond.