- A study conducted by Nationwide Children's Hospital and The Ohio State University suggests that hospitals can reduce costs and improve quality of care by studying the data from a local group of similar patients and expanding learning from there.
- NCH and the medical data analytics program at Ohio State University analyzed data from the electronic health records of 131 children treated in the hospital’s cerebral palsy program and fine-tuned protocols and care coordination based on similarities in their condition and associated risks.
- The Learn From Every Patient program saved $1.36 million and triggered a 27% drop in hospitalizations, 30% fewer emergency room visits and 29% fewer urgent care visits.
The one-year pilot program cost $225,000 to implement and yielded a 6 to 1 return. The study showed, for example, that yearly x-ray exams of children with cerebral palsy, who are prone to hip dislocation, aren’t necessary in children with mild CP. Changing the protocol reduced radiation exposure to that group of kids and reduced costs.
“These results demonstrate that a learning health system can be developed and implemented in a cost-effective manner, and can integrate clinical care and research to systematically drive simultaneous clinical quality improvement and reduced health care costs,” co-author Peter Embi, associate professor and interim chair of biomedical informatics and chief research information officer at OSU, said in a statement.
Currently, most “learning health system” efforts involve integrating EHRs of similar populations across a number of health systems, but that can be cumbersome and time-consuming. NCH hopes its “bottom-up” approach will provide an alternative to that top-down approach.