- Written by Outcome-based Health Care
- Category: Outcome-based Health Care
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When wanting to improve healthcare, many analysts tend to focus only on the ending or the outcome. This can be an easy thing to track because there is a beginning and end, but there is so much in between that holds a wealth of information that is only being lost when the soul focus is what comes at the end. Both the processes and outcomes in healthcare are important, but require diligence, understanding and technology.
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 is necessary not only for the diligence factor but also in the other two categories. Diligence isn’t only to the patient’s care but to the cost that are 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 rate 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 to success within an organization.
- Healthcare systems want to be able to assess the quality and services being provided as well as the over performance of the medical professionals.
- Medical professionals want the process flows to be organized, flexible when necessary and supportive to both them and their patients.
- Patients want 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 thing 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.
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. An older example of this is years ago mothers in labor would initially start out in the labor room, and as things progressed and it was almost time to deliver, they would be moved to the delivery room. Many women complained that being moved while in labor was not only uncomfortable, but could be embarrassing at moment. Other mothers progressed so quickly that they were never able to make it to the delivery room, and some of the equipment that was needed for distressed babies or mothers wasn’t available in the labor rooms.
Many hospitals made the decision to make a labor/delivery room all in one, where no moving would take place outside of extreme emergencies, and where most everything is available for mother and child. However, this has come at a cost for being utilized, due to the fact that the rooms are now much more personable rather than sterile, all the equipment, whether used or not is required in each room, the rooms are larger to handle more family, medical personnel and equipment, which takes up more real estate, and then the mother and baby are moved to another room that is meant for recovery. By making changes that patients want, it may come at the cost of something else, or at a premium price.
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. In this case, mothers have been willing to pay a little more for the better experience, and this has also translated to better patient satisfaction levels. All aspects need to be looked at and understood how they play a part in the bigger picture.
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.
Discovery from technology will enable more to accomplished for the organization as a whole. No one is forgotten, care can be delivered effectively, costs are contained and knowledge is gained by everyone involved. For 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.
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