Improving Provider Data Management Through Consolidation Creates Success

BJC Healthcare is one of the largest nonprofit healthcare organizations in the United States, focused on delivering services to residents primarily in the greater St. Louis, southern Illinois, and mid-Missouri regions. BJC stands out among large healthcare organizations in that their data management operations are extremely advanced. They operate a single “master” system that allows them to manage outcomes better than most organizations, excel in provider data communication, and set trends in data governance. An interview with BJC’s Provider Data Management Center (PDMC) Director Christy Treacy and her team provides a deeper look into their data management system, progress they have made by using a master provider database, how data governance has changed the way they standardize data, and goals for continued program growth.

Using a Master Database is Important

In 2006, BJC began to use Echo as the source of truth for provider data and information. BJC operates a Centralized Verification Organization (CVO) integrated with the PDMC and has designated Echo as the one database to combine the information from the CVO and PDMC and to support all of their data collection. The CVO does the credentialing and primary source verification for all active physicians and allied health practitioners, and the PDMC processes referring providers, including residents, fellows, and employed nurses.

BJC’s story of operating a single database is not unheard of, but their system is more advanced than what most healthcare organizations use, making them stand out as a leader in the industry. Tracing the idea back to its beginning, Treacy recalls starting this effort in 2006 in order to have a central repository to house all of their providers’ NPI numbers, as the CVO was collecting this information during the credentialing process. After experiencing success for that purpose, they began to move all of the provider information to be stored into the one location rather than in 15 different entities.

One of the big components that the PDMC has implemented with tremendous success is the ability to feed the hundreds of downstream systems throughout the BJC health system. Typically, large organizations create a separate export map for each of the systems they are feeding downstream, but BJC created one master file to export that contains 98 different data fields (i.e. address, licenses, specialty, demographics, id number, facility ID number, etc.). The export goes to BJC’s interface engine, IIG, which does the manipulation and cross walking to get the data in the appropriate format for the downstream system. This file is then sent downstream and the recipient is able to choose what data they need from the export. This has made a significant difference in the efficiency of the PDMC’s sharing of information.

Success in Accuracy, Data Sharing, Requests, and Efficiency

When reflecting on the successes of the PDMC, Treacy and Waterkotte cite the significant reductions in inaccuracies in data, delayed claims, delays of patient care, duplication of provider information, and increased identity protection. Additionally, they emphasize the significant alleviation of manual work since the creation of the PDMC and the Enterprise Export.

Before the creation of the PDMC, requests for data were handled independently by each hospital, which was a large task due to BJC’s size. Waterkotte comments, “We get requests all day, every day from people who want information out of the database. Instead of having to create exports, schedule events, and send reports manually, Enterprise Exports alleviates all of that. And now that we have one central place where information is housed, we have a place to go back to when problems arise.” The ease of sharing information has allowed for major strides in communication between sister hospitals.

Another success that has gradually come with the implementation of the PDMC is a more efficient process for requesting data. Now an IT ticket must be submitted and approved that has the specific details of what data is needed, why, and how often. This process has eliminated a significant portion of phone calls with questions about obtaining information. There was much confusion surrounding terminology specific to Echo and incorrect requests for certain data fields were often submitted. The ticket process helps clarify what is being requested so that the team can pull the correct data.

This blog post excerpts an article in the Q1 2017 Provider Advisor. For additional information about BJC’s enterprise data governance and vision for the future of its data management, complete the form below to download the entire issue.

April 1, 2021

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