Improving digital patient care with data at Force Therapeutics

Ruth Sun, COO of Force Therapeutics

Jul 15, 2020

Over the past decade, Force Therapeutics, an episode-based patient engagement platform and research network, has worked closely with over 70 major hospital systems and collected over 4 million data points to help inform clinicians and administrators on opportunities for intelligent care redesign.

More than 90% of post-op recovery happens in the home, and nearly half of care costs occur because of unnecessary services and complications after surgery. When recovering at home, patients need specific education, guided physical therapy, and a secure way to communicate with their doctor. For providers and care teams supporting at-home recovery patients, they need tools to scale their efforts while improving the quality of care they provide remotely.

These patient and provider needs are what the Force platform was built to help solve. And as we serve our clients, we look to see where they leverage the platform — everything from throughputs to bottlenecks. Where are their spikes and valleys of usage? How can we optimize the internal workflow of our team to deliver the best quality of service to our clients? By leveraging data, our clinically-validated platform delivers meaningful results to patients and providers at scale, with a 32% reduction in post-acute costs, 28% reduction in readmissions, and 26% increase in patient satisfaction.

Why data is critical to providing valuable care

Evidence-based patient care is in our DNA. We believe that using data to continually test and improve processes, both internally and externally to our customers, is critical. Partnering with Looker means our data provides dynamic insights to physicians and administrators, who see our platform as a must-have in hospital systems.

There are different service levels of our platform, but regardless of the level of service a client chooses to use, there are place elements that we feel are mission-critical — things like patient experience, provider real-time engagement, and analytical insights. With Looker’s embedded analytics offering, Powered by Looker, we deliver a robust set of automated reporting and insights to give all of our clients the ability to effectively iterate processes and care for their patients.

Helping care providers and patients with insights

Example 1: Identifying ways to communicate and improve care, virtually

This access to rich data has given our clients actionable insight into their processes and patient outcomes, and highlighted a focus on care quality redesign. While our platform has always helped bolster patient recovery and give time back to clinicians, remote care became the only option.

During the pandemic, our daily activities on the Force platform increased by over 140%, which was all captured by Looker. With all elective surgeries getting canceled or postponed, patients needed a way to stay connected to their care teams, whether they were in the pre-op or post-op phase. For patients whose surgeries were put on hold, the Force platform allowed them to still receive pre-op education, fill out forms, and continue to work towards eventually receiving surgery. By looking at platform usage trends, we were able to identify some gaps in the information they needed during this time and created new content to engage them. Patients in the post-op phase needed communication with their care teams to ensure they were making strides towards recovery. This influx in activity has since spurred research into patient anxiety and other factors during the pandemic.

In addition to the adjustments patients had to make, providers experienced unique challenges due to COVID-19 as well. While they wanted to care for their patients in person, through the app, they were still able to monitor their patients’ progress, answer questions, or triage concerns remotely. And by leveraging the platform, providers could check for spikes and anomalies to identify patients who needed to come in due to a critical issue.

Example 2: Providing quality, efficient care

Another goal that is always top of mind for our clients is to significantly reduce the cost of care while continuing to deliver high-quality outcomes to patients — essentially doing more with less. The biggest variation in cost of care is very much around the cost not of preventative care but of unplanned care.

Once a surgery is scheduled, there are a series of 20-40 steps prior to a surgery for a patient to take to minimize risks. If a single one of these steps isn't managed, then this can increase risk and require the surgery to be rescheduled, which costs the health system an average of $5,000. If the care team isn’t in close communication with the patient post-op or they need to be readmitted, that costs the hospital another $2,500. When a patient misses a visit or an exercise, that can jeopardize the recovery process as well as result in additional costs.

The Force platform dynamically helps with the management of these processes by acting as a digital assistant. Within the platform, patients and providers can select their preferred mode of communication, whether that be app notifications, email reminders, or text messages. We’ve also standardized clinical processes, which alert a care team member or surgeon when something is not quite right. By standardizing these pathways, providers can then configure them and adapt the alerts in the ways that make the most sense for them. And with Looker, all of these insights continue to be captured and tracked so we can keep optimizing pathways.

With the best pathways for quality of care pre and post-op established and effectively followed, the total cost of care can be reduced by $4,000-$5,000 per patient, which is an average of 20-30% savings. More importantly, this helps to eliminate unnecessary patient stress, lost time and other factors that are often associated to pre and post-op care.

Our criteria for choosing an embedded analytics solution

Having a scalable, data-driven solution for analytics allows us to make real impacts on both physician and care teams day-to-day. As we began our search for selecting a data analytics partner, we knew that data consistency, configurability, and security were the key criteria that had to be met.

Consistency

Consistency is hugely important when trying to improve quality of care. When providing insights on thousands of patients on a continuous basis it’s crucial that those insights be based on a consistent workflow that is administered, captured, and then benchmarked against other health systems in order to be continuously improved upon. With Looker’s modeling layer, LookML, we have that consistency, which in turn helps trust and execute based on the data.

Configurability

Our second criteria when evaluating an analytics solution was configurability. We needed a platform that would be easy to customize as care standards change due to region or patient cohorts, which is ultimately dependent on patients. Driving configurability and tracking it from an automation and insights standpoint is extremely valuable. With Looker, we were able to build a solution that could scale to serve the needs of many, while maintaining the option to update and customize as needed.

Compliance

Lastly, as a HIPAA and SOC 2 compliant SaaS platform, security is a critical requirement in our industry. Leveraging and partnering with organizations like Looker who view privacy as a critical component of delivering data and analytics was a key part of our evaluation process. Being in compliance with the various requirements as a digital care platform while still leveraging a powerful data platform was a huge benefit for us as we evaluated Looker.

Looking to the future of care

Implementing Looker and rolling out Looker dashboards in the Force platform was a straightforward and seamless process. Guided by Looker’s thorough documentation for the embedded Single Sign-On feature, our engineer only needed two weeks to fully integrate the dashboards and ensure efficiency on the performance and security of the data within our platform.

As the adoption of virtual care accelerates, the next evolution of our technology is helping clinicians effectively improve the way patients experience receiving pre and post-op care. For our teams at Force, Looker is key in helping drive that mission and crystalizing the insights and outcomes that a virtual care model can deliver to payers, providers and patients.

We look forward to sharing more about our experience in digital care and our partnership with Looker at our upcoming webinar on July 23rd.

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