Clinicians and IT team up to maximize efficiency at Amberwell Health

June 25, 2024 |  EHR, Productivity, Big Data, Transformative Technology

Clinicians and IT team up to maximize efficiency at Amberwell Health

Therapists at rehab center discuss analytics on a tablet

Data empowers health systems, and we’re taking full advantage of that at Amberwell Health. As an integrated healthcare system in northeast Kansas, being open to progress upholds our mission to sustain and strengthen rural healthcare organizations. Maintaining a path to innovation relies on data as a guide, so we needed an efficient way to capture our collected metrics. 

Collaborating with MEDITECH, we created tailored Business and Clinical Analytics (BCA) dashboards in Expanse to track internal rehabilitation metrics with the overall goals to maximize productivity and drive growth efforts.

Turning vision into reality

Within Amberwell Health, three of our clinics located in Atchison, Hiawatha, and Horton, KS offer rehabilitation services committed to a patient-first approach and delivering individualized care. The quality of that care relies on the optimization of our operations to fulfill the community’s needs.

The BCA dashboards provided the opportunity to strengthen our goals into data-informed initiatives. Our objectives included:

  • Track growth and referral patterns
  • Measure time spent between different care settings and disciplines
  • Monitor trends to identify opportunities or problems
  • Increase employee accountability

During the build-out with MEDITECH, our rehab leadership and IT technicians worked closely to identify key performance indicators that would align with our objectives, which led to the creation of the ITS and productivity dashboards.

The ITS dashboard captures how long it takes from order entry to prior authorization, assessing the process efficiency and frequency of orders. The productivity dashboard hones in on valuable stats like treatment types, patient evaluations, no shows, and meetings to determine where our day-to-day efforts are concentrated. Navigating the dashboards, we have found substantial benefits in the filtering system. With the filters, we can drill it down to more granular data points such as provider, insurance, clinic, and more to spot trends, which helps us make more informed decisions going forward.

Improving productivity measures

Combining the power of both dashboards meets our need for standardization across three locations and solves a common struggle for rehabilitation centers: proper documentation to evaluate time efficiency.

Therapists are regularly on the move between different care settings, so documentation not only establishes structure but is important for identifying opportunities for improved productivity. Between the three clinics, our services also include contract work and home health, making it difficult to decipher where therapists dedicate their time. By categorizing those different settings – inpatient, outpatient, home health – and location in entries, we can review which clinics staff visit and what type of service they’re providing.

A therapist’s daily regime also involves certain tasks that aren’t reimbursable, so it’s important to know the time allotted to those responsibilities. To record those occasions, we created a data point labeled as meetings. Whether they’re clinical, non-clinical, administrative, or educational, meetings help us track time spent without patients to capture a full picture.

When we know where the need is, we can achieve an equitable and appropriate dispersal of therapists across the clinics and identify where to invest our resources.

Visualizing the data

The BCA solution allows our IT team to generate both raw data and visualizations in reports, so metrics can be shared in whichever way proves most effective to the requester. In other words, we’ve embraced the mindset that meaningful data prospers when it can be clearly interpreted and applied.

The reports also include filters so viewers can narrow stats down to whatever provider, patient, discipline, or other measure they are most interested in analyzing. Used in combination with other MEDITECH features, such as the community-wide scheduling statistical tool, leadership gains insights on both provider and patient behaviors.

Since the dashboard’s launch at the beginning of the year, we’ve established a benchmark for future endeavors. Down the line, as our archive of information grows, historical data will be a key driver in rehabilitation roadmaps.

Educating staff 

Past launch, we’ve shifted our focus to staff education on the importance of data governance.  Proper data keeping practices equip us with invaluable data assets, but it also takes trial and error to develop a process that works for everyone. Training focuses on merging integral data entries into our current workflows in a way that avoids disruption.

We also wanted to give employees the means for improved accountability. Accurate documentation not only benefits our measurement goals but allows staff to be in charge of their own data entries into MEDITECH Expanse. Patient-driven time includes more than solely scheduled appointments. With our new system, we can see allocated time towards clinical endeavors that aren’t necessarily reimbursable but just as important to serving our patients.

Once established, the expanded data records will also save time for admin and IT, eliminating the need to backtrack if stats can be easily located in reports.

Setting up for success

Without the expertise of MEDITECH’s support team, our goals would not have been realized. Throughout this collaboration everyone’s ideas came together to form a cohesive piece that met our original vision and opened up doors to new innovative endeavors.

BCA supported us on the path to success, and we’re eager to see better outcomes as we fine tune our data governance and data literacy. Looking to the future, we’ve embraced the power of the BCA dashboards and already have plans to add more.

See how other MEDITECH customers increase physician efficiency with MEDITECH's BCA solution.

Read How Lawrence General Leveraged BCA

Written by Margo Chartier, PT, DPT, Executive Director of Rehabilitation Services, Amberwell Health and Linoy Utkina, Healthcare Data Analyst, Amberwell Health

Margo Chartier has a distinguished career in physical therapy and rehabilitation services. She earned her bachelor's degree in physical education from Fort Hays State University in 2003. She completed her Master of Physical Therapy at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2005, followed by her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the same institution in 2012. Margo began her career as an Athletic Trainer and Rehab Tech at Amberwell Atchison from 2003 to 2005. Since 2005, she has been serving as a dedicated Physical Therapist at Amberwell Atchison. Her exceptional skills and commitment to patient care led her to the role of Director of Rehabilitation Services for Amberwell Health in 2019. Margo’s extensive experience and leadership have been instrumental in advancing rehabilitation services at Amberwell Health.

Linoy Utkina serves as the Healthcare Data Analyst at Amberwell Health, specializing in leveraging data to enhance operational efficiencies and patient outcomes. With expertise in healthcare analytics and quality improvement, she plays a crucial role in developing reports, analyzing complex datasets, and implementing data-driven strategies. Her commitment to advancing healthcare informatics aligns with Amberwell Health's mission to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care across their community. Linoy currently holds a BS in mathematics from Louisiana State University at Alexandria, and she is pursuing a MS in mathematics to enhance her theoretical knowledge thereby furthering her analytical capabilities.