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How Patient Matching Technology Optimized Care At One Of The Country’s Only COVID-19 Hospitals

Featured in Becker’s Hospital Review

As COVID-19 emerged in Minnesota, it only took Minneapolis-based M Health Fairview 72 hours to build a dedicated hospital equipped for patients fighting the virus. However, a significant technology challenge quickly surfaced when legacy EHR systems couldn’t communicate. But M Health Fairview prevailed because it had a critical advantage: an existing strategy for patient matching, a key element for connected health.

In a Feb. 10 featured session sponsored by Verato and held during Becker’s February Health IT + Revenue Cycle Management Virtual Forum, industry leaders discussed how patient matching played a vital role in the COVID-19 hospital’s success.

The speakers were:

  • Genevieve Melton-Meaux, MD, PhD, surgeon and chief analytics and care innovation officer, M Health Fairview

  • Eric Murray, director of IT data solutions and technology, M Health Fairview

  • Joaquim Neto, chief product officer, Verato 

Four key factors M Health Fairview integrated into its COVID-19 hospital to optimize care:

  1. Longitudinal views of patient data. Using a universal master patient index, hospital staff can take a comprehensive look at the variables that affect a patient’s care journey. Without creating these longitudinal views of patient data, medical researchers would not be able to write algorithms that make care more efficient.

  2. Metadata enriched with referential data. Stitching together patient data across multiple systems and making that process invisible to end users was vital for producing risk predictors tailored to the hospital.

  3. An algorithm that diagnoses COVID-19 using chest X-rays. M Health Fairview staff members realized these X-rays have pathognomonic findings pretty early on in the pandemic. Using a combination of international, national and local data, a research team developed an algorithm and validated it internally and externally, and then integrated it to the EHR.

  4. An algorithm that identifies which patients can be safely discharged. Researchers at M Health Fairview used several determining factors to build an algorithm that can determine which patients can safely return home. Once these patients are discharged, they are enrolled in remote patient monitoring programs.