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The Maine QIP Medical Reporting Story
Medical reporting is how Maine Quality Information Partners came together, pulling Polly from a variety of data-intensive areas of the health care industry and Bill from several years of hands-on involvement as a mental health worker and many years of creative technical work for entertainment, sports, and science education projects. The two had worked together years earlier in the Maine Legislature IT office, where Polly put in a full stint and then looked to get involved in health care for her second career.
Polly had not taken a traditional route after earning her Master of Library Science degree years ago, and, after retiring from the Legislature and getting certified in health information technology, she tried her hand at a number of roles in the health information field. When Polly met electronic medical records innovator Dan Mingle and was asked to join his team at MaineGeneral, she said, “this is the job I’d thought about when I first went back to school!”
When the team needed another member, she thought of Bill, with whom she had had a terrific working relationship at the Legislature. Creative collaboration has been integral to his approach to life since his days as a board game designer. Bill told the EMR team that one of his two heroes was W. Edwards Deming because of his belief that all important processes can be continuously improved and because of his democratizing belief that everyone involved in a process needs to be respected as an important contributor for continuously learning how to “improve how things are done.” Bill was inspired by the challenge of working to improve health care by improving the quality of medical information and clinical reporting and, when asked to join the team, he was ready.
Polly and Bill bring different perspectives, and a common respect for data to their work. For both, getting the data right has been a key part of “how they get things done.” Working creatively with others comes naturally to both of them and that makes finding solutions no problem for Maine QIP, which is now an independent partnership. Bill and Polly continue to work with MaineGeneral’s medical practices, expanding on their work to improve the quality of reporting data, supporting the report server that Maine QIP deployed for MaineGeneral, and creating new reports and updating existing reports as needed.
Getting medical information into a database is just the start; as Polly says, “There’s no point in putting it in if you can’t get it out again.” Creating custom reports from a medical practice’s EMR enables identification of best practices on a very local level. “When you’re using the data, you’re improving the data,” says Polly. Time and resources are stretched to the limit in the medical field; custom reporting helps every member of a medical practice determine how to make the most of what they have.