For a long time, Quality and Safety Event reporting have been recognized as important but often downplayed tasks when it came to getting the attention of executives and allocating resources. Shifting investments and allocating resources has become even more of a challenge as budgets continue to get tighter and tighter.
Quality-related reimbursement, as applied through Value-Based Purchasing (VBP), MACRO/MIPS, ACO programs and other components in the pay-for performance (P4P) model, have only increased the pressure without providing much guidance on how to actually improve quality.
Although the goal of submitting quality and safety reports and data to external organizations is becoming something more than just checking a “to-do” item off the list, much of the reporting and education efforts in hospitals and other healthcare organizations fall short of making real advancements in Performance Improvement.
The ROI that can perk up executives’ attention and guide their investment is to make Performance Improvement more effective and efficient. While Performance Improvement has been a focus for decades, most organizations focus on the wrong things, such as manually gathering information and data and over-educating staff on the theories and science of QI methodologies. Others are still wasting their time with more meetings, more documents and artifacts and more working overhead.
Worse still, all of these efforts suffer negligible support from innovative IT solutions that are specifically designed to support more efficient and effective Performance Improvement. This is the year, maybe even the quarter, to change that.
Start from the Top
Championing the shift from investing in reporting to investing in the Performance Improvement process itself has to come from the top. Senior management up to the C-suite needs to not only lead, inspire and set the direction, but also provide the resources and fully communicate the importance of creating a smarter and more efficient Performance Improvement process.
Instead of merely asking staff and managers to just “work harder and better,” the goal needs to be about making their job easier and more streamlined.
7 Steps to Better Performance Improvement
An efficient Performance Improvement system needs to be supported by innovative and intuitive IT and can be achieved by taking the following steps.
- Abandon historically-rooted inefficiencies, including artifacts and activities of decades-old QI programs, functional and organizational boundaries that disrupt workflows and manual data gathering and processing.
- Get everyone on the same page with tools that integrate improvement, all quality metrics and event reporting/investigation.
- Ensure every internal reporting and analytic activity drives into improvement.
- Focus on enabling the improvement work correctly instead of over-educating the staff.
- Prioritize synergistic, internal, real improvement activities over external reporting.
- Make sure the access and presentation of needed insight for executives is just right—not too deep and complex nor too shallow and impenetrable—so they can own and drive the effort appropriately.
- Implement a technology-enabled PI workbench specifically for improvement efforts that does all of the above, streamlines and offloads manual efforts from staff and leaders, delivers results and ROI and supports a real culture of improvement in quality and safety.
Improving ROI with Technology
Each of these steps has the potential to be a project in its own right and a daunting task at that. Fortunately, a growing awareness of how Performance Improvement and Quality and Safety reporting can feed one another is prompting a shift in technologies and platforms to support this new focus.
ActionCue CI was built intentionally to increase ROI by changing how Performance Improvement is managed and facilitated using the steps outlined above. Learn more about how ActionCue can help executives, risk/quality managers and clinical staff bring Performance Improvement into the 21st century.
Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University and Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s Center for Health Research argue in an article published in the November/December issue of Annals of Family Medicine that Health Information Technology, in particular health records and health information exchange, can be a conduit for keeping patients insured — which can lead to higher percentages of scheduled visits.
“There is a significant business case for implementing health IT systems to help keep patients insured,” the authors say. “Patients who lose coverage are often unable to schedule visits, so they seek care outside of visits … in ways that are not commonly reimbursed.”
One way to help keep patients insured is by sending them a simple reminder of their policy renewal dates.
“A good starting place is the data already being collected and/or automatically imported,” the researchers say. “[Patient-centered medical homes] could work with their healthcare systems and/or EHR vendors to create or enhance electronic interfaces with insurance plans, populating EHR fields with more detailed information about patients’ health insurance coverage status.”
The full article can be found here.
Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico say that tracking Wikipedia page views can forecast the spread of influenza and dengue fever.
The researchers claim their algorithm allows them to overcome the challenges that hamper the reliability of other similar data surveillance methods based on Internet information.
Google Flu Trends, is a web service operated by Google, which provides estimates of influenza activity by aggregating Google search queries. But, early last year it was reported that they drastically overestimated peak flu levels, casting some doubt on the search giant’s ability to predict flu trends.
“Using simple statistical techniques, our proof-of-concept experiments suggest that these data are effective for predicting the present, as well as forecasting up to the 28-day limit of our tests,” the Los Alamos researchers say. “Our results also suggest that these models can be used even in places with no official data upon which to build models.
Though there are still detractors to the notion of using such systems to predict disease outbreaks, it is no doubt amazing to witness the many uses to which the growing volumes of meta data available on the internet will be used.
Read the full report here.