To show particular treatments and healthcare professions deliver value and improve patient health, data collection is usually necessary.
With a need to promote interoperability and greater connectivity among different health professions, EHR systems are changing and so are requirements from insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid and other programs. While these changes have been a source of significant frustration for some practices, the increased data collection that results is actually an opportunity for doctors to advance chiropractic care.
Simply put, robust data collection demonstrates the effectiveness of treatment and advances evidence-based care. Every scientific endeavor applies a healthy dose of skepticism, and data collection advances chiropractic knowledge while also demonstrating what a lot of patients and doctors already know from experience.
What does chiropractic data look like? It comes in many forms, but here are some of the main categories:
- Business Health—How financially healthy your business is.
- Patient Care and Retention—Data about when patient treatment begins and ends, how well patients are retained with your clinic, and other information.
- Payment Efficiency—How often you are paid, if payments are on time and other payment metrics.
- Patient Satisfaction—Various metrics, indices and measures of how satisfied patients are with their care.
- Reimbursement Values—Financial reimbursement for care provided.
- Treatment Outcomes—Changes in patient health in response to treatment.
- Wellness Journey Data—Over time, the experiences patients have and the health metrics they generate that show their health journey within your clinic.
Other types of data may also be relevant, depending on the practice.
Decisions about what types of healthcare treatments are working are often made based on the volume of data collected from patient visits. Depending on which patients are receiving the best care outcomes, investment in research and patient care reimbursement is allocated. Data is a very important, determining factor in future healthcare industry decision-making. As such, it is vital for this data to be available in the first place.
Many visits, in fact, are never even seen from a data perspective because of the popularity of all-cash chiropractic care.
Accurate, complete data can help people see the benefits of chiropractic care in general and of specific treatment strategies. It is really important to keep collecting data and to make sure that data is complete and accurately reflects what is happening in your clinic.
In fact, a lot of data is being missed entirely at some practices right now. We know Medicare requires a certain amount of data collection, but with all-cash, self-paying patients there is often very little data collected and reported. Even when this data is available, it often stays with the clinic.
According to ChiroTouch, 57 percent of chiropractic appointments are paid for in cash and run the risk of not showing up in data collections. Because patients paying for their own appointments out-of-pocket are often very motivated to receive care, many of them may be seeing great outcomes in their health. It would be terrible if the chiropractic profession missed out on this information. Right now, 3 percent of appointments are billed to Medicare and another 43 percent are billed to private payers. So, not all of chiropractic’s data is necessarily seen by a public or private payer.
What clinics can do
This is why interoperability in EHR is so desperately important. Right now, there are quite a few EHR vendors out there that either already do support interoperability in their software solutions or are working towards that goal. As healthcare data becomes more portable and can follow patients around through the different clinics and types of healthcare they seek, we should begin seeing more interconnectedness in the healthcare system and start seeing greater recognition of the role of chiropractic care.
If you want to help improve patient care through your use of data, learning more about how data collection works and is used can be helpful. Your EHR vendor may have more suggestions and resources to help you, too. It is a worthwhile contribution to healthcare and may help your patients in the long run.
- Moberg, Robert. “Data: Enemies, Allies and Trends [Webinar].” CTAcademy. http://learn.chirotouch.com/l/124901/2017-04-05/m9d3b. Published: April 2017. Accessed: August 2017.