One of the more vexing issues in the national push for electronic health record (EHR) systems is that of getting solo physicians and small group practices to realize the quality gains to be made from analyzing the newly searchable patient data that’s been freshly liberated from paper.
In large hospitals and academic or research institutions with the technological advantages of robust data warehouses and analytics tools, this kind of innovation isn’t too far off on the horizon. But what of the local family practitioner who doesn’t have the IT resources to keep his or her computers running virus-free — let alone to build a data mart?
Enter the American Academy of Family Physicians, long an advocate for solo docs. The group announced this week that it’s launching a year-long pilot of a national clinical data repository. Included in that repository will be analytics tools that will return answers to physician queries of patient data in graphical and other forms. Pilot participants will provide feedback on the value of the reports they get.
If successful, the pilot could pave the way for an AAFP-hosted patient data bank for its national network of members, who will be able both to submit and retrieve patient data. In this way, family practitioners will enjoy the analytics firepower of an academic institution without the IT overhead.
“This is more than a ‘data dump,'” said Dr. Steven Waldren, director of the AAFP Center for Health IT in a press release announcing the clinical data repository. “Our CDR will generate reports and provide benchmark data that will help members compare their practice data against that of their peers.”
Physicians interested in more information about participating in the pilot can sign up here, as can anyone interested in receiving updates on the project throughout the next year.