The newly launched analytics platform from web-based and mobile EHR vendor Practice Fusion is meant to give physicians, insurers, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and industry analysts highly granular intelligence about populations of patients.
Based on technology from 100Plus, a company San Francisco-based Practice Fusion acquired in February, the product, Practice Fusion Insight, is meant to be the analytics platform for the free, advertising-supported Practice Fusion EHR. Practice Fusion claims to have records on 64 million patients. Like the core EHR, Practice Fusion Insight works on smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.
Practice Fusion is marketing two types of Insight services: reports on how physicians are prescribing drugs and findings to help doctors better manage patient populations.
Though the company has taken heat from privacy groups about its practice of pushing advertising messages to EHR screens based on data in patient records, Chris Hogg, vice president for data science at Practice Fusion, says Insight will not be marketing from individual patient information. "We're not selling data. We're selling de-identified, aggregated insights," says Hogg, who started 100Plus with the help of Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard.
According to Hogg, the analytics platform will allow pharma brand teams to gain insights such as "What hill do I own?" in terms of what specific groups of patients they have substantial market share of.
On the provider side, the technology helps physicians see how well they are managing populations of patients and lead them to improve compliance with recommended care guidelines. Data for population health management exists in EHRs, but getting at it and applying it is has been difficult. "It's the interventions that are hard," Hogg says. "It's really a user experience problem for a doctor."
Practice Fusion Insight is looking at individual disease states. "We started with one of the most obvious areas, which is high cholesterol," Hogg says. Next up will be diabetes and then hypertension.
The service is matching cholesterol levels against National Institutes of Health guidelines to assign an LDL cholesterol goal based on individual risk. Doctors can email groups of patients to encourage regular screening, behavioral changes, whenever there is new information suggesting elevated risk or perhaps in the event of a drug recall.
"We just want to make them efficient," Hogg explains. "The real goal is to create a feedback loop."
Physicians eventually will be able to manage patient populations through the month-old, consumer-facing Patient Fusion portal and doctor finder. The portal allow users to track medical costs and spending and make appointments online, but it also provides a means of secure communications between physician and patient.
"The key is how do you keep the patient engaged and close the loop between visits?" Hogg explained.