Throwing DERT on Cardiac Cases
First there was clinical decision support (CDS) software to help physicians on the front end, making a diagnosis. Now the Cleveland Clinic is using analytical software to detects inconsistencies and patterns in patient health records and flag certain cases for review.
As reported in a recent issue of Health Data Management, the new software, from 3M Health Information Systems, Salt Lake City is called Documentation, Extraction, Reporting and Transformation initiative, or DERT.
An executive at the Cleveland Clinic said DERT was started in to April 2011 to improve care for patients with heart conditions. In particular, it reviewed patient records to see where action might be taken to prevent potential complications. The clinic has recently expanded the DERT initiative to its urology department and to the urology and cardiac units of an affiliated hospital.
The DERT system also reports how many health care workers have handled a single patient’s chart. The clinic found that in the cardiac care area, an average of 28 people accessed a patient’s chart throughout treatment.
DERT could be very helpful in a number of ways. The government has started a major initiative to reduce hospital acquired infections and reduce re-admissions; DERT could be helpful in both areas.
I worked with the Isabel Health decision support team for two years. Isabel is a very well thought out clinical diagnosis support system. While a number of children’s hospitals installed Isabel, it had trouble penetrating the wider hospital market. Unfortunately, a lot of physicians are reluctant to use CDS software, apparently because they feel asking for outside help indicates fallibility or lack of confidence.
Isabel is particularly popular with ER physicians at children’s hospitals, to the point where the name became a verb, like Xerox. At a number of facilities, when they get a difficult case, the lead physician will announce, “Let’s Isabel it.”
The 3M software has a problematic acronym: DERT. I hope that it doesn’t get used in a casual way, such as “Let’s throw the DERT at that one,” or “Have you got the DERT on that case yet?”