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New automation of communicable disease notifications in Qatar

by Peter G. Bresko
Published on January 8, 2019

I have had the privilege of working at some of the best organizations in the world. This brings with it a litany of experience around value, quality, and safety in health care. I am proud to be joining the amazing team at Cerner and look forward to enhancing Hamad Medical Corporation’s value portfolio in the years ahead. My name is Peter Bresko and I am the senior quality measurement leader for Cerner in Qatar.

Health care today is constantly evolving and attempting to adapt to new technologies, new requirements, and a more educated client base. There isn’t a day that passes by where news stories, articles and blogs offer up a new solution for an existing issue that promises more ‘value’ for the patient, provider, or support staff. The three pillars of health care: cost, access, and quality are constantly battling one another and each one is dependent on the other.

Increase cost? You will enhance your quality but inevitably you will decrease your access. Increase access? Certainly, quality may decrease because volume will impact your outputs. The point is – to put it simply – today everything affects everything else, and to be a leader in this market, entities must look beyond the above paradigm and branch out in terms of what they are really trying to affect.

Value is emerging as the unseen fourth pillar that can positively affect the other three without sacrifice. But what is value in health care? How do we gain more value without losing something else? As Warren Buffet stated, “price is what you pay, and value is what you get”. This simple statement is quite profound when examined through the lens of the health care market. All clients pay for solutions. But not all clients are able to get the value out of the purchased solutions that they require. This is due to a variety of issues relating to inefficiency, lack of knowledge, etc.

Value can be anything from decreased time spent with a solution or vice versa. That’s where my role with Cerner comes into play. It’s my job to demonstrate value back to our clients, determine where value can be attained, and pull it all together with value added metrics. This can be through the Quadruple Aim, and our value aims of health outcome, financial outcome, patient experience, and end-user experience. Essentially, value is a critical success factor for clients in the 21st century.

For this blog, highlighting examples of what we are doing will be a featured segment. Our first example of a simple but effective value initiative is one recently completed by a client here in the Middle East. Our dedicated clinical strategists worked for the better part of eight months supporting the implementation of an automated report surrounding communicable diseases. The process required the physician to:

  1. Know which of the over 120 diseases were reportable
  2. Fill in this triplicate form
  3. Ensure that this form was then hand delivered to the appropriate entity in a timely manner

Manual processes are not ideal, can lead to harm, and are known to fail. On top of that, this was a paper heavy manual process that also had environmental impacts. Together, we were able to develop an automated messaging system within Cerner’s existing solution to push this information automatically to the Public Health department every 30 minutes. Essentially, a registry of active communicable diseases was created for millions of people! It is huge accomplishment and the first of its kind in this geographical area.

Through automation, providers now spent less time on a manual paper process, not to mention the decreased environmental impacts. A five-year estimation on environmental impact from the paper savings alone demonstrates a reduction in over 1,100kg of carbon dioxide released in to the atmosphere.

It’s also worth highlighting that automation of the reporting increased the number of communicable diseases notifications. It’s a success worthy of celebration and congratulations to all who made it happen!

The above example is just one of what will be several value initiatives being highlighted on this blog. Through our Cerner Value Aims of patient experience, health outcomes, financial outcomes, and user experience, we as partners will be demonstrating success and value through working hand-in-hand with our clients. These value aims are becoming more and more tangible for our clients, and ultimately for patients everywhere.