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Clinical decision support system tracks quality care measures

Providers that don't schedule checkups frequently enough can be reminded by providers that deploy a clinical decision support system.

What it is

Sandlot Metrix is clinical decision support software that provides a digital reminder system via health data analytics. It aims to improve health information exchange across hospitals, providers and accountable care organizations (ACOs). It works within physicians' EHR workflows and measures patient health and diseases through its specialty-specific metrics.

Metrix tracks patients who fall outside of quality care measures (for example, those who miss annual tests or screenings) with the information providers enter into the EHR. The tool set sends alerts through a digital envelope to notify the provider with clinical guidance and suggests immediate actions for patients whose care measures are missing.

Physicians using Metrix can defer alerts, setting them on an "impending" status for 30 to 90 days, before notifying the provider of the patient's progress after the original alert.

Sandlot Metrix is a modular product that works with Sandlot Dimensions, data warehouse software for clinical data used to store and retrieve specific information about a patient's care.

The alerts that Sandlot Metrix sends leverage all data and deliver community-wide notifications that are not restricted to a single EHR system. Metrix is interoperable and is not dependent on a specific EHR system, allowing for community-wide notifications to be delivered. Derek Plansky, vice president of product development at Sandlot Solutions, described Metrix as a "community learning system," and explained that it closes the loop between collecting and analyzing data by providing feedback on patients' care and progress.

Why it matters

Doctors can subscribe to a certain measure (typically tied to a CMS or commercial insurer's quality-based reimbursement plan) with specified metrics to get compliance alerts, and all data can be managed collectively through the Measure Builder feature, which creates proprietary measures of care. Metrix retrospectively tracks performance through meaningful use, the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), and other measures by gathering information from the EHR to create alerts that ensure compliance with evidence-based quality care guidelines.

"The alerts help solve the problem of having paper reports," Sandlot's Plansky said. "It allows you to get notifications when you're in the EMR."

Plansky explained that Metrix aims to reduce the likelihood of duplicate tests or missed medical actions that are likely to occur when paper medical reports are used, by alerting the physician of any missing quality care measures when they access the patient's medical information through an EHR.

What users say

Metrix is functional and efficient regardless of which EHR platform providers use, said Thomas Deas, a gastroenterologist who uses Metrix in his Texas-based practice. Metrix does not interfere with the normal workflow of physicians and provides relevant information and reminders at the time a patient comes for an appointment that are based on his community-wide medical records.

"Most other decision-support tools derive information only from the organization's EHR, which is an incomplete source of information and limited in scope," said Deas, who also serves as the chief medical officer at Sandlot Solutions. "Metrix incorporates patient information from across the community of providers connected to the HIE."

Deas, who was a member of the North Texas Specialty Physicians team that launched Sandlot, said that Metrix has timely information and reminders that help him provide patient care and support efforts to achieve desired quality measures. "Sandlot Metrix provides important information when the physician needs it, in an unobtrusive and efficient way," he said. "It is not limited by the information which is only in the physician's EHR, and it is not dependent on the EHR, yet it does not interfere with normal workflow."

Drilldown

  • Digital reminder system that tracks patients at risk who miss quality care measures.
  • Notification system for EHRs and health data analytics.
  • Electronic envelope sends community-wide alerts that works with any EHR system.
  • Monitors performance through HEDIS, PQRS, meaningful use objectives and ACO requirements, and other pay for performance measures.

Price

The pricing system of the cloud-based Sandlot Metrix system is built on a per-patient, per-year fee model. Pricing incentives are based on the size of the facility and the length of contact that is typically provided. The cost of Sandlot Metrix varies depending on the volume of patients. A low-volume subscription can cost 10 cents to 30 cents per patient per month. If starting with a small ACO, the cost is around 30 cents to 40 cents per patient per month.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Monica Vallejo, editorial assistant, or contact @HITExchange on Twitter.

Next Steps

More functional EHRs requires government intervention

Why vendors need to work interoperability into their EHR systems

Cerner-Siemens deal causes shift in the EHR marketplace

This was last published in October 2014

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