Hospitals & data sharing, according to Brian Foy, Q-Centrix

By Helen Adams
Brian Foy, Chief Product Officer at Q-Centrix, discusses collecting patient data during a pandemic & why data-sharing across departments is so important

Healthcare Global caught up with Brian Foy, Chief Product Officer at Q-Centrix, to discuss data challenges, the pandemic and how Q-Centrix can unlock the value of clinical data.

Brian Foy joined Q-Centrix in 2014 to lead product development, by 2017 he led both the product and engineering teams. As Chief Product Officer, Foy led the development and launch of the only enterprise clinical data management software on the market. The eCDM TM software enables healthcare systems to capture, submit and analyse clinical data from varying service lines throughout the hospital as an enterprise. 

Data healthcare company Q-Centrix utilises its software to curate secure clinical data. Its solutions address regulatory, cardiovascular, oncology, trauma and real-world data.


What key challenges exist around collecting patient data? What impact did COVID-19 have on this? 

"The number one challenge with collecting clinical data is that, because of the fact that it is largely stored in unstructured formats, it requires highly skilled, clinically trained people to collect. Prior to 2021 there was a shortage of people with clinical skills, like nurses, to both provide care to patients and perform data collection for hospitals. The disruption caused by the pandemic exacerbated these issues.  

"In conversations with our more than 1,200 healthcare partners, the overwhelming concern related to patient data collection is the fidelity of the clinical data. It's not uncommon for hospitals to have disparate systems both technologically and operationally that result in data integrity issues throughout system facilities or departments. At Q-Centrix, we believe that clinical data is the most valuable asset because it drives improvements to patient care decisions, protocols, and outcomes. So, safeguarding its fidelity is always critical—but even more so when clinicians are making real-time decisions to fight a global pandemic. 

"The fidelity of clinical data requires a seamless combination of expertise and technology. The constraints introduced by the pandemic challenged this combination in a few noteworthy ways.

"First, there were fewer skilled clinicians dedicated to data capture. At Q-Centrix, we often liken the work of our clinicians who capture this data to forensic scientists because it paints the picture of how rigorous the curation process for this data can be. When systems were forced to redirect all their clinicians to patient care, data capture was left to fewer and often unfamiliar team members. At the same time, we were introducing new, critical data that would swiftly define care protocols. 

"As a member of this community, we wanted to help. In the early months of the pandemic, partners were struggling to capture the data. So, in addition to offering the team members to curate the data for our partners, we built a free, intuitive tool for their teams to easily capture the data."


What can hospitals use patient data for to improve patient outcomes?

"Clinical data is generated by the hospital whenever care is delivered—from cardiology to oncology. What we mean by ‘curating the data’ is that we’re structuring a massive amount of unstructured data. Most health systems send this data - regardless of service line—to third parties, the government or peer organisations, to meet specific reporting requirements. These organisations then report back to their participants after several months of review. Participation in these programs allow heath systems to be educated on the best practices in care and potentially receive accolades or financial incentives for outstanding performance. However, this data is incredibly rich and can be used for other purposes besides simply reporting to third parties.

"A small subset of the market takes the next step—bringing these rich data sets back into their data warehouse. When health systems roundtrip their clinical data, bringing it back to their data warehouse, they can do much more with it.  It is possible to gain exponentially more insights in real-time, stratifying the data against other data sets within their organisation. A recent case study highlighted how clinical data can help organisations better understand patient outcomes by specific patient populations, allowing providers to drive improvements when inequities were identified. The opportunities to better understand patient care are endless." 


How can health care systems improve data collection processes to aid in the fight against the pandemic?

"Maintaining the fidelity of the data is critical to any data collection process. However, the quickly evolving nature of the pandemic makes gaining timely access to current data even more important. Because of this, health systems that wish to have a process for reliably collecting high-quality clinical data must prioritise it as an enterprise.  It cannot be left to individual departments to figure out on their own.  Building a clinical data management model that offers high-fidelity, current data is extremely difficult. It often requires systems to add highly skilled clinical resources, standardising processes and investing in more modern software. There are several vendors in the market that help health care organisations in one aspect or another to achieve this. Q-Centrix uniquely offers all of this with one comprehensive, enterprise partnership."


How important is data-sharing across departments? 

"No hospital department works in a silo, yet that’s how many health care systems treat their data. Further, because of COVID, most of the public learned that this conversation goes beyond departments and include data-sharing across hospitals within the same system.

"We’ve seen a growing number of systems implement Clinical Governance Councils as part of a larger centralisation strategy. The councils standardise clinical data management process and decision-making for the entire system. The centralised approach leads to greater data fidelity, improved efficiency, and system-level transparency. The enterprise approach to clinical data management allows our partners a view of their performance as a hospital, service line, system. Then, based on what they find, systems can use best practices from cardiology in oncology and vice versa."


What platforms do you recommend for data-sharing? What sets Q-Centrix apart?

"We work with some of the largest clinical data registries in the country—these organisations collect data from hundreds of health systems to determine and share best practices. Notably, there are few registries today that don’t include the capture of elements related to the care and impact of COVID-19 on patient populations. At Q-Centrix, we’re advocates for clinical data registry participation within health care organisations because we’ve witnessed the positive impact on outcomes in hundreds of partners throughout the country. We know that the needs of each health system are unique. Therefore, the ideal registries for each system or facility are an investment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Further, the value of the clinical data is too precious to send out of the system without a return trip to a system’s data warehouse. 

"We are the leaders in the clinical data management market because Q-Centrix uniquely understands how to unlock the value of clinical data. We use a team of more than 1,000 clinical data experts and modern technology to curate the data, insights from a community of more than 1,200 hospital partners and analytics to guide improvements for our partners.

"Q-Centrix also offers the only Enterprise Clinical Data Management (eCDM™) solution in the market; a combination of clinical expertise and first-to-market technology that allows health systems to drive collaboration across departments, gain system-wide visibility, standardise internal data, and share benchmarks."


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