Updated March 23 at 12:28am

Five Questions With: Dr. Jonathan Elion

Founder of ChartWise Medical Systems Inc. talks to Providence Business News about the company’s Chartwise:CDI system and the evolution of medical reporting techniques.

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Five Questions With: Dr. Jonathan Elion


Dr. Jonathan Elion founded ChartWise Medical Systems Inc. with more than 25 years of experience in medical computing and information standards.

The South Kingstown-based company recently introduced ChartWise:CDI, a first-to-market interactive software system that’s designed to improve precision in quality computer-assisted clinical documentation.

Elion talked to Providence Business News about the new ChartWise product and the evolution of the medical reporting industry.

PBN: Can you explain how your ChartWise:CDI system works?

ELION: As the first computer-assisted clinical documentation improvement tool on the market, ChartWise:CDI starts by helping the Clinical Documentation Specialists at a hospital in their review of inpatient medical charts.

It identifies areas where additional clarifications from the physician may be needed to assure complete and accurate coding of all aspects of the patient’s condition and treatment, and manages the process of obtaining those clarifications. Extensive knowledge and expertise are built into the system, with an encyclopedic knowledge of medical coding (ICD-9 and ICD-10), laboratory tests, medications and medical nomenclature.

Unlike traditional consulting-based approaches to documentation improvement, the knowledge is built-in, and does not walk out the door when the trainer does. Finally, comprehensive data analytics provide real-time tracking of performance, and help to identify problems areas that need further attention.

PBN: In many industries, people worry about keeping up with new technology. Have you seen this at hospitals and health care providers, or are people eager to switch over to new tech?

ELION: Hospital information technology departments are all currently swamped trying to implement or update their computer systems to meet the government incentives for “Meaningful Use.” They find it difficult to even think about working with any other new technology, and often don't have the personnel resources to do so.

ChartWise:CDI fits well into this situation, as it is a web-based solution that requires no hardware or software to be installed or maintained. Documentation Specialists and other allied health professionals welcome the improved efficiency they achieve using the system, and especially the rare blend of comprehensiveness coupled with ease of use.

Physicians are not anxious to have another set of mouse clicks come between them and their patients. Even though they do not need to interact with the system directly, many clamor to do so when they find that they are better able to keep up with the review and clarification process.

PBN: How does the CDI system benefit different kinds of health care professionals?

ELION: Chief financial officers are thrilled to see the increase in revenues and reduced audit risks that usually accompanies improved clinical documentation. The data analytics provided by ChartWise:CDI also helps to reduce expenses and assist hospitals to better allocate resources.

Compliance officers are provided tools to manage and oversee the documentation improvement process, and to help assure conformance with industry best practices. Documentation specialists are able to review more charts, and seek more and better clarifications from physicians.

There are analyses that favorably impact hospital efforts to improve quality, safety and patient satisfaction.

Physicians, finding their practices and resource utilization under close scrutiny, have the tools to completely and accurately document all aspect of their assessment and treatment plans, showing fully and fairly the severity of illness of their patients.

PBN: ChartWise recently landed financing from FCA Venture Partners, what do you think has led to your success?

ELION: Working with a consultant with a longstanding history in equity investments, we actually started with a list of more than 1,000 potential investment partners. We narrowed the list to about 150 that we felt had some interest in health care IT and in companies in our stage of development. Of those, we initially met with over 35 firms, some by phone, but most in person.

We found a large number of firms with capital to invest, but FCA Venture Partners also brought a longstanding and in-depth knowledge in Health Care IT, a portfolio of like-minded companies, and broad network of colleagues and contacts in the space.

We are thrilled with this new partnership, and proud to have become part of such a distinguished group of companies.

PBN: How have you seen the technology side of the medical reporting industry change over the last 5 years?

ELION: One subtle change that is starting to make a big impact is the ability to have the machines gather the data rather than people.

ChartWise:CDI, for example, gathers over 600 data points and metrics while managing the review process. This is in sharp contrast to the old-fashioned (but still prevalent) approach of having a highly paid professional running around at the end of each month to gather the same data from a variety of different systems and paper charts.

The computer-driven data gathering in turn enables concurrent data analysis, scorecards and dashboards. Administrators and managers can see what was happening six minutes ago, not just six months ago.

Comprehensive data analytics provides greater insight into the meaning of the numbers, providing “actionable data” that can have a real impact on quality improvement projects.

Finally, the ability to construct new and meaningful reports quickly, and tie them to triggers, alerts and notification systems has the opportunity to totally change the way patient care improvements are managed.


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