MDabstract Easing the EHR Transition


With the passage of the HITECH Act in 2009, the era of the electronic patient record was ushered into healthcare at warp speed. What wasn’t known at the time was the burden the transition, and ongoing EHR usage, would place on health systems, providers and the patients they serve. In response to this pain, and from their own experience adapting to an electronic record, a group of physicians and administrators founded MDabstract. Fast forward 10 years and their team of discrete data specialists and auditors are known by healthcare organizations across the United States for their ability to deliver accurate, cost-effective, clinical data solutions. 

In an interview with CIO Applications, Kristi Payne, COO of MDabstract, shares with us her thoughts on the state of EHR use today and the role her company’s high-touch service will play in the years to come.

Please provide us with a brief overview of MDabstract.

We founded MDabstract over ten years ago in response to a tectonic shift in medical record keeping. The electronic health record era had begun, and there was no choice but to brace for it and adapt. Our entire goal was to be a service that could help physicians and health systems not just survive but thrive. We believe we have met, and continue to meet that goal, as client referral is one of our biggest sources of new business. Today, MDabstract has grown into the industry leader in manual data migration; and we ensure health systems and providers have the vital, discrete, clinical data they need to provide the best possible care for patients.

In your interactions with CIOs of leading companies, what sense do you get of the challenges they face now in the Healthcare space, and how is MDabstract effectively addressing these issues?

Healthcare CIOs operate in a challenging space. They are often not from a clinical background, but their job is to leverage solutions and technology that will allow medical staff to provide exceptional care. For Healthcare CIOs, the patient is always top of mind. Trying to balance the technology with medical outcomes is no easy task. Having extensive experience in the healthcare industry, we understand it and aim to be the partner that helps them marry the technical and the clinical task of EHR migration. As a result, our solutions are clinical in nature. We consider ourselves as the discrete data solution that supports health systems in utilizing their EHR technology to the fullest. MDabstract’s manual solutions act as a link that connects the technology and the clinic to ensure that providers have the data they need inside the EHR system. We want to help providers give their patients the best medical care possible, and health systems have the data they need to enable successful financial outcomes while supporting clinical effectiveness.

Could you shed some light on your Healthcare solution on the basis of its methodology, features, and benefits involved?

Clinical Data is an extremely valuable asset to a health system. One of our main services is manual migration of EHR clinical data, where we ensure that our clients’ most valuable asset, i.e., the patient data, is accurately and efficiently moved into the new system. This helps providers stay up to speed with their patients healthcare delivery. In cases where data is being electronically migrated, we also assist.

Today, MDabstract has grown into the industry leader in manual data migration; and we ensure health systems and providers have the vital, discrete, clinical data they need to provide the best possible care for patients

While some data can and should be moved electronically, the manual solution we offer is valuable exception work that must be done well. We provide all our services, utilizing trained abstractors. This isn’t a piece of code that either maps your data correctly or not—this is a high touch, expert-level service that allows for data nuance and flexibility coupled with quality auditing processes.

We bridge the gap between technology, healthcare providers, and patient satisfaction. And we do it in a way that ensures that the clinical data asset is usable for successful downstream clinical and business processes. This spells a win for the health system, the providers delivering care, and for the patients receiving care.

What are the strategies employed by MDabstract to thwart market competition?

Many healthcare IT organizations are focused on data management and specific components of EHR migration, like electronic data conversion or legacy system archival. While we operate in the same space, we offer a completely different value proposition. As a manual solution, we are not limited in our offering to health systems, or by what can be electronically mapped. We are not bound to any particular codified data or even to using/housing information in a single data repository. Each of our projects is customized to clients’ specific data needs. We ensure that the data that enters their EHR system sets them up for successful physician visits, billing encounters, and reporting requirements. This flexibility really sets us apart— customized solutions incorporating each client’s specific needs, so the dollars spent are targeted.

As a solution that uses medically trained staff, we combat the “garbage in garbage out” that is so prevalent with electronic migrations. We have the ability to find critical clinical elements stored in scanned documents or buried historical medical history that would otherwise not be able to move into a new EHR system. Every EHR migration requires a human element to enter or validate legacy clinical data in the new system and pride ourselves on being the experts that do this work more accurately, with more experience and for more of a measurable ROI than anyone else in this space.

What does the future hold for your organization? Any footprint expansion plans or platform enhancement strategies that you can shed light upon?

The future is in diversification and expansion. When we started MDabstract, we didn’t fully know how it would evolve and change as EHRs were still so new and rapidly changing. But, we find every year, the need for our flexible solutions and expertise continues to grow as technology pushes ahead. We continue to engage in more manual projects and as hybrid migrations—the combination of electronic data movement and manual abstraction—occur more often, we are expanding our services to assist clients in validating, accepting, and completing clinical data that has been electronically converted.

There is also massive growth in the MIPS/risk adjustment/payer reporting space. Data has to be consolidated, verified, discrete, and complete. And again, this is a high touch undertaking that MDabstract is well-positioned to help with due to our teams, flexibility and experience. Healthcare IT continues to push optimization in this space and we are excited to be a part of it.

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