Public Data Showing Active Fire Zones Overlaid with Patient Address Data Helped Community Health Center Staff Act Rapidly
SAN MATEO, Calif., October 30, 2017 — Unifi Software, the leader in providing a seamlessly integrated suite of self-service data tools delivered on a Data as a Service platform, today shared how doctors, nurses and front-line staff at West County Health Centers used its platform to locate, outreach and provide immediate aid to patients during the devastating Sonoma and Napa fires. Using a combination of publicly available data on the rapid spread of the fires, overlaid with patient data, West County Health Centers were able to quickly get people immediate personalized care.
West County Health Centers (WCHC), a federally qualified health center that serves approximately 12,000 patients in upper west Sonoma County, California—80 percent of which are poor, 200 percent are poverty-level and below, has been serving patients with a care team model for the past 40 years. WCHC which is deeply embedded in the north bay community addresses the social determinants of health, and whole person health in addition to addressing patient’s individual medical needs. The center uses traditional data from electronic health records and goes well beyond that by pulling in claim data from Medicare and Medicaid health plans, and brings in data for their homeless population such as census data to understand the context in which people live, looking at neighborhoods, social and educational attainment.
In the hours, days and weeks while the fires spread from Santa Rosa to Sonoma and Napa, West County Health Centers (WCHC) used their own patient data records to transform addresses into longitude and latitude points and then overlaid that information on an interactive map of the spreading fire areas, which was publicly available, to identify where the greatest need for medical services might be. They also identified public and private schools, many of which were being used as shelters, to see if anyone there had been affected and proactively reached out as a community health center. Air quality was a huge concern for those with asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), or heart conditions. People fled without medicine. Getting to those patients quickly was a primary concern to prevent having those same patients end up in emergency rooms where services are extremely costly.
The fires burned more than 160,000 acres, destroyed 8,400 structures and sadly took 42 lives. Jason Cunningham MD, a family physician and the Agency Medical Officer for West County Health Centers, is charged with overseeing the clinical quality of the center’s health care delivery. He uses data to inform the center’s quality improvement efforts on a continual basis. For Jason and his team, data is not just about the outcomes, it’s about the people and the impact they can make to the community.
“During a crisis having a personal connection can make all the difference in trying to help people. Everyone we spoke with was grateful for the outreach that we did. It wasn’t the work of data scientists or data analysts that made this possible—doctors, physicians, nurses and front-line staff having access to this data in real-time were able to make an immediate connection with hundreds of people affected by the fires. We believe self-service access to data is a compelling mechanism for better health care delivery,” said Cunningham.
Unifi’s Data as a Service platform pulls in a wide variety of disparate data sources for WCHC including EMR data, claims data, weather and geo data, homeless data and census data and makes that data available. WCHC uses Tableau to visualize the output for its staff to engage with data. Clinical staff, nurses, physicians, medical assistants and community health workers all need data to inform their work. They need to be able to digest it and have it presented in such a way so they can interact with it.
During the crisis, Jason used ArcGIS to layer the various data sources – patient’s location, schools, and active fire lines, and then visualize the data adding a 1.5-mile radius around the affected area. Each dot on the map represented a patient and if clicked patient data would appear. Data was easily downloaded into Excel in order for doctors and medical professionals to make calls and conduct outreach.
“We are in a very different time. We no longer need an enterprise-level solution that’s top-down sending reports that take months to fine tune before physicians and staff can interact with it. We’re in a self-service world. I can have the content experts and the subject matter experts being the ones to really dive in and create the platform. Unifi is a really great example of that,” said Jason Cunningham MD, Agency Medical Officer for West County Health Centers. “Unifi allows me to create a metadata layer to normalize data from many disparate datasets and put business intelligence tools like Tableau on top of it. It’s being able to bring in multiple data sets beyond just clinical data that allows me to digest and gain insights that I was never able to do before. Self-service access to data has opened up a brand new world. As doctors, we need to combine many more resources to drive our insights beyond just clinical data.”
“What happened here in Sonoma and Napa is devastating. Entire communities have been greatly impacted. What WCHC was able to achieve with our platform on a local scale in terms of offering personalized health care is profound. It’s a great example of how everyone can be empowered with data to affect change,” said Sean Keenan, Co-Founder and Vice President of Product for Unifi Software. “Access to self-service data tools is changing healthcare like every other industry. Now doctors and practitioners can gain a collective view of data to gain a broader perspective on how to treat patients.”
About Unifi Software
Unifi’s Data as a Service platform breaks down the barriers of operational data silos and democratizes information across the enterprise. At the heart of the platform is a comprehensive suite of self-service data tools to empower business users. Employing machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies, governed by IT and cloud-optimized, Unifi predicts what the business user wants to visualize and then connects the resulting data natively to the BI tool for fast, accurate results.
Unifi was founded by data and enterprise infrastructure experts from Greenplum (now part of Dell Technologies), Oracle, Microsoft, and Platfora (now part of Workday). Headquartered in San Mateo, CA Unifi operates regional offices across the U.S. and a development center in Bangalore, India.
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