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Beyond ICD-10: Next-generation technology alleviates data silos

Unstructured clinical data is goldmine of information for ICD-10 codes. Now providers have to figure out how to easily access it.

Don Fluckinger, News DirectorWhile other industries might describe the morass of unstructured clinical documents floating around healthcare systems as “big data,” it’s probably more accurately described as unstructured clinical data.

Marooned in network backwaters such as noninteroperable data silos, free-text fields in electronic health records—or worse yet, paper—some of this unstructured clinical data will form the statistical DNA of population health management, a key to reimbursement for accountable care organizations. Other data points stashed in these network hiding places will provide crucial documentation for claims reimbursement under the new world order of ICD-10 coding, after the present ICD-9 sunsets Oct. 1, 2014.

Accessing all the clinical data on a network and harmonizing it across information systems for the accountable care and ICD-10 era will require next-generation technology tools. This issue of Pulse delves into several of those issues, including content management systems and workflow automation, along with its cost-cutting efficiency cousin, supply chain management.

Furthermore, we offer tips into best practices for ICD-10 implementation, along with using telemedicine services to cut emergency room visits and create further efficiencies in patient care. While it might not be possible to be completely prepared for 2015 by the time you read through this Pulse, we hope it will at least provide a good start.

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