Strong clinical data is at the heart of every strategic initiative around physician utilization, case cost analysis, clinical standardization, orthopedic savings and clinical integration. Without trustworthy data, these initiatives fall flat or stall. That’s why providers are actively seeking data partners who can add missing elements to inform their clinical data management.
Clinical data can feel difficult to normalize, groom and interpret. The right data elements help, but it takes a diligent and focused team to achieve 90-95% full spend visibility without a mountainous amount of manual work.
If your organization is already collecting and working with clinical spend data, you likely resonate with Curvo’s clinical spend management philosophy. However, not all hospitals are taking advantage of cost savings opportunities – in fact, many clinical data partners miss the boat completely. Elements that are obvious in Curvo’s service environment are missing in others. We want providers to set a high bar of expectations from their clinical data management partnership.
This blog will help providers like you understand if you are getting the type of support you need from a clinical data partner. Curvo’s goal is to help your health system or hospital bridge the information gap and to demonstrate what a strong clinical data partnership should look like.
Data Variants, Duplicative Normalization, and Unmapped Data
For example, a health system wasn’t in a particularly good place in terms of data collection, so they naturally had questions about how well Curvo could handle issues like data variants, duplicative normalization, and unmapped data. They’d heard the sales pitches before, but they wanted specifics and detailed result examples.
Data variants came as a result of various departments not reporting data in the same way. Those data variants then needed to go through a process of normalization. And of course, without a structured approach in place, there were all sorts of buckets of unmapped data: data that was being collected but not tagged or processed in a way that was usable.
The solutions to these three challenges are intricate, and we’ll touch on aspects of these below.
Complete Purchase Record: If You’re Not Sure Where to Start
The hospital in our example asked a very foundational question: “What does a good complete purchase record look like?” They wanted to understand which specific fields should be included. Our expert team members were able to show them anonymized examples from current customers, making clear exactly what a strong complete purchase record should include.
The specific elements of each purchase record should include:
- Standard materials management
- Purchase history export
- Contract numbers
- Manufacturer information
- P.O. line numbers
In a best-case scenario situation, clinical spend data would also show up in the form of:
- Case numbers
- Surgeon last name
- First and second initial procedure date
We leveraged our vast experience to show a potential customer, visually, exactly what will help them get the best results from Curvo’s software should they choose to partner with our company.
Clinical Data Submissions Weren’t Being Captured
With this particular hospital, we shared examples of a well-formatted clinical data submission. This type of submission has many similarities to the purchase record, but there are some points of differentiation. For one, it should include construct component recording (capitated pricing versus a construct model).
The hospital’s response to this was that they weren’t capturing clinical data whatsoever, so they weren’t sure that Curvo would be able to help them. They were ready to start collecting the critical data points, but didn’t yet have a concrete plan in place.
We were able to reassure them and help them realize that in their particular scenario, starting from a blank slate could actually be beneficial. Our experts worked with this hospital to identify where the data was coming in and exactly what it would take to capture it in clinical data submissions.
Data Upload Method and Timeframe
Another question we received from the hospital regarded the timeframe and method of uploading data. Curvo customers are given options of the method as well as the timing of how data is uploaded to the data portal. While this can be accomplished in a fairly manual process, this isn’t our top recommendation.
Instead, we recommend setting up a scheduled FTP data feed. Curvo’s FTP data feed automatically uploads at intervals, eliminating the need for an employee to manually oversee the process.
Certain platforms and vendors automatically create and export PO data reports; Curvo has the ability to bring in data through an ETL process and also connect different source data to generate analysis within the Curvo platform.
If this seems too advanced for your facility, that’s okay. We can certainly accept an end-user upload at the end of each month. However, keep in mind that you will be able to access intelligence more quickly by utilizing the FTP.
A Clinical Data Partnership Resolves Your Pain Points
A successful clinical data partnership is one that resolves your pain points. Aggregating and then normalizing spend data across multiple hospitals in a system (or even across the various departments in a single hospital) is a challenging – and often painful – endeavor. Without the right clinical data partnership, the task can seem impossible.
Many large healthcare systems operate in a fashion where individual facilities are siloed in their own operating systems. These systems don’t tend to connect well, nor do they output data in the same ways. The result is disparate, inconsistent data sets that can’t be used together without undergoing data cleanup and normalization. A clinical data partner worth having can resolve these data discrepancies for you.
Further, hospitals don’t want to be told all the things that are wrong with their data. They want a clinical data partner who proactively resolves these issues, not one who makes excuses about the quality of the data. Generally, a hospital who seeks out a clinical data partner knows there are some issues with the data – that’s the whole point of the partnership. Hospital leaders don’t have time for circular, unproductive conversations. They want results.
A Proactive, Responsive Partnership
At the most foundational level, customer success with a clinical data partner looks like a proactive, responsive partnership. If you feel like you’re constantly hounding your clinical data vendor for answers and insights, that’s not success. Similarly, if you face long delays or must reach out multiple times to get a response from your clinical data partner – that’s not success, either.
A successful partnership is one that’s both proactive and responsive. Your clinical data partner should proactively find data anomalies. It should also be responsive to your evolving needs, willing and able to perform at whatever level of depth your organization requires at the moment. When in doubt, your clinical data partner should pick up the phone to address complex questions and not force customers to only interact via email and chat.
An Expert Clinical Data Partner
In addition to using all the best practices around data capture, a clinical data partner should bring expertise. They should stop at nothing to ensure data is normalized, categorized, and enriched to the fullest potential. They should bring ideas and observations. They should be flexible in the dealings and willing to accommodate customized needs.
Most importantly, a successful clinical data partner must be proactive in their communication and not wait for their customer to catch data anomalies. These are the table stakes of a strong clinical data partnership.
Our Approach at Curvo
At Curvo Labs, we take our customers’ success seriously. In this article, we’ve outlined just a few of the most common questions we receive from those evaluating Curvo’s solutions. Finding a clinical spend management partner is an important endeavor, which is why we take answering each and every question seriously.
Are you curious about how Curvo’s clinical data management solutions could help your organization? Don’t take our word for it. Talk with one of our customers and hear what they have to say. – I want to talk to a Curvo customer!