Real-Time Data Necessary for Clinical Decision-Making, Says Dr Lee Norman

Challenges around data are mostly around data itself, particularly if it is not timely, says Lee A. Norman, MD, MHS, MBA, the senior medical director for Optum Care Kansas City.

The data used in clinical decision-making needs to be as real time as possible, said Lee A. Norman, MD, MHS, MBA, who appeared at The American Journal of Managed Care®’s Institute for Value-Based Medicine® event on population health in Kansas City, Missouri. He served as the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment from 2019 to 2021 under Governor Laura Kelly. Norman, who also served in the US Air Force and later as a colonel in the Kansas Army National Guard, is currently senior medical director for Optum Care Kansas City.


What are some of the challenges to implementing data in health care practices improve patient care?

The challenges are mostly around data itself, which is, do we have the quality of data and is it timely? I can remember back in the olden days, let's say in the mid-80s, where we signed up to take care of patients and HMO [health management organization] plans, and we didn't have any data as the month would go along. And then all of a sudden, at the end of the year, we'd find out how we did, both in terms of clinical data and in terms of financial performance. That's not adequate. Those plans went bye-bye.

What is really necessary now is data that's almost as real time as possible and [that can] help us to understand where are we strong? Where are we weak? How does this patient fare in this value-based world compared to the fee-for-service world? There shouldn't be a whole vast difference between those worlds as it relates to patient outcomes. But it's very critical, and it always has been, but we're getting better at it, to have data at our fingertips to make good clinical decision-making.

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