A discussion on LinkedIn recently opened around an article by John Glaser, PhD, CEO of health services for Siemens Healthcare. He recently spoke at the HFMA conference in Orlando and told the audience, “most electronic health record [EHR] data is really crummy.”. Since this is a topic that is central to the creation and design of our ActionCue Clinical Intelligence application, I added my comments to that discussion.
We have said many times before that too many EHR systems and other HC applications are flat – simply letting users retrieve what they have entered, without much processing into the compound value-added answers the people who run hospitals really want to, and need to, see. We talk about rolling up from elemental facts to data, and to information, knowledge, intelligence and eventually insight – when the user understands what she or he needs to do.
That was a good point that Mr. Glaser and I shared, but in the comment we talked further about how context needs to be applied to move up that value hierarchy and that’s where a distinction divides diverse users and their needs in HC IT applications. Lots of people rightfully want medical intelligence that helps doctors be better doctors on a patient-specific basis. But people who run the clinical operations, need information in a different form and context. They need the “big picture” of the entire operation and it should be already prepared for them and presented in a fast, easy, understandable way, not simply available for the user to query piece by piece.
So that opens the door to understanding the remarkable intelligence and insight in ActionCue Clinical Intelligence that lets hospital executives and managers drive improvements in patient care and safety and see evidence-based results in just a few months. If you haven’t seen the ActionCue demonstration, request one here.
Beyond the monthly or quarterly Quality Improvement meetings where we show up to either strut our collective performance achievements or gingerly release the tale of woe that befell our beleaguered improvement projects, are the real champions of quality. These are the people who are your front lines and actually reveal to you the substance of your quality initiatives. Take a look at the blog post by Robert Lloyd, Executive Director of Performance Improvement at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. It’s been my experience that most people who find a folder misfiled and refile it correctly, notice that storage is being utilized for a purpose other than that for which it was intended and help to find a solution, or review their documentation one more time for a code they participated in to assure complete accuracy, do these things because it’s their nature. They want to leave something better than how they found it, and quality is at the heart of their work ethic.
It has also been my experience that even people like this can become disheartened when quality is merely a four-walled room and a monthly meeting. In Lloyd’s post, he tells about the CEO who, upon learning that there was a shortage in the ER Department, went down and started registering patients and even transporting them in wheelchairs to their next destination. The people who reflect the culture of quality in your hospital are beacons of care and commitment in their own right, most likely. But, with leadership such as the ER-working CEO who demonstrates a walking-the-walk focus on every person doing quality, there will be a rise in dedication to quality that is widespread, enthusiastic, and positively infectious!
A recent article in Hospital Dive “Hospital CEO turnover: A symptom of a greater sickness?“, touched on some real problems that are actually somewhat peripheral to the CEO’s core functioning – including pressure from investors and payors and the general and historical challenges in IT for healthcare.
Obviously the most proximate and impactful measure of a CEO’s success is institutional financial success. However, that is merely the scoreboard for the functional and operational success of what hospitals and other healthcare delivery organizations do — deliver healthcare. Patient care quality is inescapably foundational to the operational and financial goals of any CEO of a healthcare delivery organization (HCDO). More and more, regulations, practices and thinking in healthcare are holding CEOs directly responsible for patient care quality. It is no longer sufficient to simply meet the mandates of external reporting, as delegated to mid-management specialists. As almost all other industries have embraced, hospital CEOs are needing to stay on top of “the numbers” or metrics of functional performance — preferably in, or near, real-time. This is the only way for a hospital CEO to not only drive patient care improvement but demonstrate her/his effectiveness at doing so.
The age-old methods and practices for managing Quality — largely paper, Excel spreadsheets or rudimentary systems for boffins and data analysts — simply do not cut it for regular use by CEOs. Queries, jotted notes, desktop calculations and raw data are not actionable or useful items alone. What the CEO needs is INSIGHT.
Insight (the highest order of the evolution of information) informs someone what he or she needs to do. Simply passing responsibility for all of the queries, data manipulation, filtering and analysis off to subordinates fails to solve the real issue of involving the CEO in the work of driving improvement. Advanced techniques in business intelligence, or BI, as used in other industries, include normalizing, compounding and distilling a lot of data into critical insights that a CEO can internalize in 10 minutes instead of four mind-numbing hours in a governing board meeting. When a platform can do that, and be used by executives and clinical managers, the organization gains a whole new paradigm for managing clinical care quality which coalesces into a “culture of quality” that has staying power.
It was for this purpose that ActionCue Clinical Intelligence was created, and is steadily evolving. We at Prista call the ability of the CEO, with the use of the ActionCue platform, to find out in 10 minutes exactly where performance issues exist within the entire clinical operation and what the organization is doing to correct them, the Fast Path to Insight™.
To learn how you can gain meaningful insight and quickly begin to improve your patient care, call today to request a short demonstration and find out how the ActionCue Clinical Intelligence software will work for you and your organization.