Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Medalogix analytics optimises home visits

Steve Rogerson
June 19, 2018



Nashville-based healthcare data science company Medalogix has introduced a home health management product that uses predictive analytics and optimisation technology to provide guidance on patient care plans to healthcare providers.
 
Based on the historical analysis of millions of patient records, care plans and outcomes, Medalogix Care analyses each patient's clinical and functional assessment and provides an objective determination of how many home health visits a patient may need to achieve the desired outcome.
 
The announcement comes after Vanderbilt University Medical Center's health economists peer-reviewed Medalogix's models and found them to be more accurate than the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) publicly available risk adjustment models.
 
"Healthcare is behind the curve as it relates to data science, even as the biggest tech companies are investing billions of dollars in machine learning," said Elliott Wood, president and CEO of Medalogix.
 
He said Google, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM were leading the charge while the worldwide spend for artificial intelligence was projected to grow to nearly $20bn in 2018 alone, a 54% increase over the previous year.
 
“Machine learning technology allows us to do more for patients that need additional clinical attention,” said Wood. “That's what drives our company. We strive to help others do more with less. Great technology alone won't get us there, but great technology in the hands of great clinicians will be a giant step forward."
 
Medalogix's data scientists identified several trends that were surprising. For example, based on analysis of multiple patient populations, they found a clear trend of diminishing returns and reduced visit effectiveness for some patients earlier in the home health episode of care than was expected. With the industry average number of visits provided per episode between 15 and 19 visits per episode, this should create resource capacity for an agency's higher risk patient population.
 
Early simulations of the data suggest that a home health agency should be able to reduce visits by a significant amount while achieving the same or better outcomes. With the ability to optimise episodes and resources, patients with high-risk needs are likely to get more care than what they've experienced historically.
 
The pilot programme of Medalogix Care began in October 2017 with its long-time customer Encompass Health.
 
"We spend a lot of time and resources ensuring the data we collect are accurate," said Bud Langham, chief clinical officer at Encompass Health-Home Health & Hospice. “Our nursing and rehabilitation professionals are excellent at caring for patients in the home setting, but building a just-right care plan is very difficult because there are literally hundreds of factors to consider for each patient. Having evidence-based recommendations and statistical support to augment our clinical decision-making is critical as we continue to move towards a value-based system. As an industry, we have to get there to ensure our patients receive the right care, by the right disciplines, at the right time."
 
Clinical users piloting the technology have said the evidence-based recommendations provided an objective resource for evaluating patient-specific visit needs, augmenting the field staff recommendations and experience.
 
Furthermore, users can leverage this technology to approach commercial plans and enter into value-based arrangements.
 
"Having these kinds of capabilities has the potential to change the conversation with our strategic partners," said Luke James, chief strategy officer at Encompass Health-Home Health & Hospice. "We've been able to partner with Medalogix in the past to identify risks within our patient populations, and this allows us to take risk in a measured fashion and have confidence in our approach."
 
The need for technologies such as this is growing, especially in light of the recently initiated CMS Home Health Groupings Model, which will change how agencies are reimbursed. The Medalogix platform is integrated with several home health and hospice electronic medical records (EMRs) and is claimed to be the only portfolio of predictive analytics products focused on improving patient outcomes in the home health space.
 
Encompass Health has a US footprint that spans 127 hospitals and 268 home health and hospice locations in 36 states and Puerto Rico.
 
Medalogix was founded in 2012 to help home health agencies identify patients on census at-risk for unplanned rehospitalisation. Since that time, the firm has developed products and services that help home health providers create clinical programmes, manage large populations more efficiently and drive value to strategic partnerships.