When you go to the doctor you are looking to get better or have something solved that is bother you. You don’t expect or desire a negative outcome, nor do the medical facilities have the wish to bring harm to their patients. But, simply wanting to improve outcomes is not enough, if that were true, I’d be a millionaire and a lot taller than I am currently. So, how do organizations and facilities find ways of improving healthcare outcomes?
Improvements to anything mean you have to step back and assess what is going on and what needs attention. In the healthcare industry, you can’t run by gut feelings, nor can you forget that you have data on your side. But, there is a systematic approach to improving healthcare outcomes within an organization. Mainly, there are three steps to take that will make all the difference in the world.
Content System Change
The content system is the backbone of the systems because it where the standardization happens. Standards within healthcare are essential to making sure that medical professional have a defined set of criteria from which to work; criteria that is fact- and experience-based with best care practices and process controls at the fore-front. If this isn’t the norm within your organization, it is time to make changes and implement a content system that does take all of the standard required by the government but also the organization’s standards that are usually above and beyond the government’s, and provide better outcomes for patients.
Deployment System Implemented
Once the standards are set, they must be pushed out on the organization and have everyone adhere to the new standards. Some might consider this to be an implementation system, but this just comes down to semantics. Anyway that you want to classify it, you have to have everyone one board, and you need a hierarchy with leadership as well as defined workflow. What you are looking at is putting into practice everything you thought would improve patient outcomes, all the knowledge and experience from other healthcare organizations, and to do it as quickly, smoothly and efficiently as possible. Sometimes this requires working through one department at a time. Deployment should be looked at on an individual basis for each organization.
Analytics System Reviews
The analytics is where you measure your hopes and see if there is evidence that the changes and implementations have made a difference. By utilizing technology to dig through the data that your organization has been collecting, and the information that is presented from the medical staff, you turn action into evidence-based information. Understand that this can be either negative or positive, but it is information that will help guide further progress and also healthcare outcomes in the long-run.
There are specific things that an analytics system looks for:
- Outcomes – is the organization meeting set goals, such as reducing readmissions by a certain percentage each year?
- Process – is the organization following the best practice and set protocols as established?
- Verification – does one change adversely affect something elsewhere?
The old way of seeing or even measuring improvements usually involved tracking a patient to see if they were readmitted within a short amount of time or if they passed away. The analytics system goes so much further than this and defines so many different areas to truly understand if policies, practices, and protocols are really working. Other areas of concern that are now being tracked include:
- Lowering of blood pressure
- Better long-term numbers with diabetics
- Recovery from illnesses
- Better standard of living with chronic diseases
- More dignity with end-of-life decisions
As you can see there is so much more that goes into healthcare outcomes now as compared to years ago, and this takes into account so much more about the patient instead of haphazardly looking at only surface issues. As physicians look more deeply at a patient and track progress, they will more easily be able to see where improving healthcare outcomes are being made and where changes or intervention must be made.
Another very beneficial aspect to the analytics systems is that it provides the reports and other visual presentations of what the data taken in represents. The last thing that a hard working healthcare professional needs to do is work with more papers and less with patients; having a system that is able to quickly bring up statistics and helpful information in a form that is easily interpreted and revealing makes it so much more straightforward to perform their duties with each specific patient. This system also works at a higher level of work process flow and indicates practices that are working and efficient, plus helps specify where waste and ineffective are bogging down the organization.
There are many factors and aspects that go into improving healthcare outcomes, and nothing should be discounted if it works within a healthcare organization. The most important aspect in all of this is the patient, and so careful consideration should be made to help each and every patient, no matter the situation or the projected outcome.