Hospitals and healthcare organizations constantly seek to improve their processes which in turn also improves their performance. There are many effective Hospital Initiatives to Improve Performance and there are more initiatives been implemented every day. Improving processes and tracking the outcomes is a winning combination for any healthcare organization that seeks to improve its productivity and continues to deliver high-quality care.
When wanting to improve healthcare, many analysts tend to focus only on the ending or finished outcome. This can be an easy thing to track because there are a beginning and end, but there is so much in between that holds a wealth of information that is only being lost when the sole focus is what comes at the end. Both the processes and outcomes in healthcare are important but require diligence, understanding, and technology. Hence, any hospital initiative to improve performance should include not just the beginning and the end but the middle processes as well.
The Diligence Initiative
Following through with a patient from start to finish is the diligence part of healthcare measures and something that is easy to track, but requires attention to detail throughout the care of the patient. It would be easy in a way to not document all that is happening with the patient, but it is necessary not only for the diligence factor but also in the other two categories. Diligence shouldn’t focus only on the patient care but also on the costs associated with care. Most of this information is mandated to be reported to different government agencies and stakeholders in the organization, thus, not much more is truly required by anyone in the organization. Some of the information being collected includes readmission rates for certain diseases or illnesses, number of people that have died while in the care of a physician, infection rates, and additional surgical intervention rates. But, this isn’t the end of the journey and shouldn’t be the only measurement of success within a healthcare organization.
Healthcare systems should be built in a way that the quality services and care being provided can be easily accessed by patients and medical professionals alike. Medical professionals want the process flows to be organized, flexible when necessary and supportive to both them and their patients. Patients want to access and ease of navigation when utilizing different departments, and for the costs to be under control. This is sort of a short wish list that everyone would like to see, and by no means are any of these things impossible to provide. It all comes back to being diligent in getting done what needs to be done and being willing to make the changes where and when necessary.
The Understanding Initiative
As with many other industries, in the healthcare industry, when you make one change there is usually a ripple effect across other departments and parts of the organization. (This is why process improvement is advised to be a continuous project and not just a one-off thing. When making any sort of modifications in any industry you can find that you pull the string on one thing and other things are affected. This is no different, and may even be more so for the healthcare industry. Creating a balance between cause and effect so as to provide the best care possible but not sacrificing too much is very difficult, but is doable. All aspects need to be looked at and understood how they play a part in the bigger picture.
The Technology Initiative
It is hard to begin to comprehend all the data that is being generated every day, even if you wanted to break healthcare out, you are talking about petabytes worth of data generated yearly. When you consider that everything is going electronic, including doctor’s notes and x-rays, it is easy to see how quickly it can eat up storage space, which is exactly why it is necessary to have an enterprise data warehouse (EDW) specifically defined for healthcare. What makes an EDW and accompanying software so helpful is that it takes the data that is being collected and does something with it, above and beyond general reporting and accounting. The ability to dig through the data to find patterns, keep more accurate track of what is going on and be able to share information across different departments and different facilities will make all the difference in the world on a number of different levels.
Any discovery made from technology will lead to more accomplishment for the healthcare organization as a whole. No one is forgotten, care can be delivered effectively, costs are contained and knowledge is gained by everyone involved. For a Hospital’s Initiative to Improve Performance processes and outcomes in healthcare, this is a win-win situation.
When combining diligence, understanding, and technology you have a successful combination of progress and responsibilities laid out. The outcomes for patients will reflect the work and change that is put into the healthcare system because it translates to overall better care, and that means customer (or in this case patient) satisfaction.