Pump Up Your Jam (and your EHR Reporting)

A few weeks ago I finally got the motivation up to get our bikes ready to ride. The tires were completely flat. I started to pump up the tires with a little hand pump I have, but it takes several hundred pumps to inflate a tire to 55 lbs. I admit, I didn’t actually inflate the first tire all the way with the hand pump. After I had pumped 300 times and I only had about 20 lbs, I decided I needed some assistance. The next time I was at the department store with the name that means the same as “destination”, I took a look at their electric pumps. I reviewed all of the choices and decided on one that you plug into a wall outlet instead of a car 12V outlet. This will give us the most flexibility if we need to inflate a car tire, inflatable pool toys, etc.

I’m so excited to get the pump home so I can air up the tires and possibly go for a bike ride! I unpack the pump and look for the power cable. There is none. I read the box again. It doesn’t list any requirements. One line in the features section of the box says that it will connect to any extension cord. I guess this was the manufacturer’s way of saying that you need an extension cord to plug it in. I box it back up and put it on the shelf.

The next day I go to one of the big home improvement stores. I pick up an extension cord. The ends are connected together, but it looks like a three prong extension cord. When I get home, I take the pump out of the box, I unwrap the extension cord, unplug the ends… and it is a two prong extension cord! ARRRGGGHHH!

Well, I loathe going shopping, especially to the big home improvement stores, so I wait another day or two before going back to exchange the extension cord. When I do go back, I find the extension cords and unplug the ends to make sure that I get a three pronged extension cord this time.

Has this ever happened to you? I still maintain that the first problem with the pump was just clarity of packaging. How was I supposed to know that I needed an extension cord to plug something in? I confess to the second problem with the extension cord. I should have looked more closely to make sure I was getting what I needed. I didn’t realize that extension cords still came in two prong. My bad. In the end, I got the bike tires pumped up, but it took much longer to get it done with more than one trip to one of my favorite places on earth.

What’s the point? We see this regularly with clients and reports. Many clients are looking to analyze and use their data to better their business, but some have not committed to making the business changes to capture the data in a way that is usable for analysis. They just don’t have what they need to do the analysis.

We built a very complex quality report a while ago for a customer. This report had 15-20 quality metrics that were each dependent upon multiple pieces of data. You had to have this diagnosis group, have this lab, this Rx group, and data filled in the preventative medicine of the progress note for that day or in a note in the last 12 months. All of the quality metrics were that way. When we were scoping the report, we were very specific, with screen shots, about where the data will be captured, what specific data values we would count, and what the timeframe was for each metric. We set a timeframe that the providers had to complete their notes after the service date. We would then daily run the metrics for an appointment X days after the service date.

We went through testing. We modified some of the metrics. We did more testing. Then, when the client was satisfied, we installed the report on the users’ computers that needed it and told them to start running the report. Well, that would have been great…if what we were reporting was already how ALL of the providers were documenting. We had a call about once a week for the next couple of months researching issues with the report. All of them ended up not being the report, but the data that had been entered.

When you invest the time and money to come up with reports and other ways to analyze and make the best use of your data, you must make sure to educate the users to enter the data in the system in a way that you can analyze. You must insert controls that help you catch data entry or process issues. You can build the most awesome report or analytics in the world, but if you don’t have reliable data entry and a way to catch your data issues, the report is going to provide you incorrect results.

Admit it. You’re now ready to “Pump Up Your Jam” when it comes to your EMR reporting needs. And you probably have that song from the 90s running through your head too. You’re welcome. Mi7 is the pump to your jam, working with you to define the key metrics for your medical practice and come up with a way to track and report on that data. But it doesn’t end with the pump and the jam. Mi7 can also help you build the analytic reports to catch issues related to patient data, billing reports, efficiency and more to keep the business side of your practice on track.

Contact us today to discuss your EHR reporting needs.