“We recognized early in the pandemic that the amount of new information coming in was completely unprecedented. Vizient is such a data-rich organization. We looked at how we could fulfill this unique niche of being able to provide our members with timely, relevant and scaled data around a lot of different topics related to COVID-19.”

— Arati Kurani, Vizient associate vice president, data applications and insights

Just over a year ago, hospitals across the country watched anxiously to learn about the novel coronavirus from a handful of cases in Washington state. As the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations expanded across the nation, hospitals grappled with figuring out how to treat the virus, keep staff and patients safe and prepare for local surges. To help members navigate the many unknowns surrounding the virus, Vizient leveraged the rich data contained in its Clinical Data Base, Operational Data Base and Clinical Practice Solutions Center to produce a series of data insights briefs that identify the impact of COVID-19 on patients and care across the nation.

“We recognized early on in the pandemic that the amount of new information coming in and how much was just not understood was completely unprecedented,” says Arati Kurani, Vizient associate vice president, data applications and insights. “Vizient is such a data-rich organization. We looked at how we could fulfill this unique niche of being able to provide members with timely, relevant and scaled data around a lot of different topics related to COVID-19.”

Data briefs address evolving pandemic, member needs

In response to member needs and concerns, Vizient has developed more than 30 data insights briefs since March 2020. “The briefs are a valuable tool to help members understand national trends, how the national trends compare to what is happening at the member organization and to help with planning and preparation,” says Saloni Jain, Vizient vice president, advanced analytics and informatics. “These data insights briefs help support members as they make decisions on things that are not well-known.”

The briefs address top of mind concerns among members. For example, members have used the data insights brief on trends in volumes to plan and prepare for the impact of COVID-19 on the emergency department, inpatient setting and elective surgeries. Other briefs examined the impact of COVID on telehealth, which helped organizations with resource planning and offering the right balance of in-person and virtual care. In addition, data insights briefs on COVID-19’s impact on specialty populations, such as obstetrics, dementia and cancer screenings, helped uncover national trends and plan for the future.

A mix of tools and resources unlock COVID-19 insights

Once an insights brief topic is determined, a variety of resources are used to develop the brief. In addition to the Vizient Clinical Data Base, Operational Data Base and Clinical Practice Solutions Center, external sources such as news coverage and peer-reviewed literature and publications also inform the data insights briefs. “Our rich data assets across quality, operations, strategy and different sites of care really plays into our ability to see what we can leverage to help solve these complex problems for members,” adds Jain.

Additional resources such as templated reports and push reports are available to member organizations that subscribe to the Clinical Data Base. These templated reports enable members to run their own data using the Clinical Data Base and other tools to replicate some of the insights they see within their own organizations. The push reports are associated with specific data insights briefs to show members key trends for their organization, benchmarked against both regional and national data.  

“We wanted to make the data insights briefs as synergistic as possible,” adds Jain. “The briefs cover the overarching trends, but we also wanted to enable members to have that continuity and ability to run their own data and access data of other members.” She adds that the ability to network, collaborate and reach out to colleagues through Vizient’s community forums has been valuable to help members understand differences in data or find opportunities to improve performance.

Beyond COVID-19 insights

The team has refreshed earlier data insights briefs with new data and will continue to release updates as appropriate.

As the country moves into the recovery phase from COVID-19, Vizient is investigating new COVID-related topics for future data insights briefs, including topics such as vaccinations, multisystem inflammatory syndrome in pediatrics and long haul patients.

Future plans also include using its rich data assets to begin producing data insights briefs on topics outside of COVID-19. “We’ve learned from COVID-19 about listening to members as they work on performance improvement efforts and using our data to offer timely, relevant insights,” says Jain. “It’s definitely something we want to continue.”

Vizient’s data insights briefs are among the wealth of resources developed for all members to support them during the pandemic, including webinars, podcasts, evidence-based reports on new technology, guides and more. This information—including the data insights briefs— are available on the COVID-19 resource area of the online member dashboard. Learn more about the Vizient Clinical Data Base, Operational Data Base and Clinical Practice Solutions Center.

Published: April 27, 2021