As we work to continually evolve Prista’s ActionCue Clinical Intelligence (CI) application as the leading performance improvement workbench in the healthcare market, we often dig into the essence and science of improvement itself. The ActionCue application not only embodies well-designed and powerful information processing, but also demonstrates an awareness of the principles and psychological aspects of improvement methodologies.
Since the application is designed around these fundamentals and not overtly focused on the mechanics of any particular methodology, ActionCue’s design can support a variety of improvement mentalities. One approach to improvement frequently used in circles outside healthcare is the “Observe, Orient, Decide, Act” (OODA) cycle illustrated above. Ultimately, OODA is comparable in process and effectiveness to the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” (PDCA) cycle, but is nuanced in ways that may be applicable and valuable for healthcare .
As widely understood and utilized as the PDCA cycle is, many people subliminally think of the cycle and its steps as always in process across a variety of projects or topics, which can help support continuous improvement. While such cycles are intended to be continuous, the application of PDCA often begins with a plan developed by trained experts, to study certain functions or performance measures, or experiment with a technique, practice or protocol. Unfortunately, time and resource constraints in healthcare quality and safety efforts frequently dictate that as one improvement plan is undertaken, another gets retired.
OODA begins when someone—in some cases an improvement specialist, but often an executive—observes something that needs to be improved. This makes the process seem more immediately reactive than PDCA, which explains the popularity of OODA in the military and construction industry, where unexpected challenges arise requiring critical and immediate attention. Although it’s helpful for those initiating any process to denote a starting point,
Consider an executive with responsibilities stretched across the entire organization. One of the biggest challenges for management and executives is shifting mental focus as different departments or activities require his or her attention. While some members of the clinical team or supervisory staff may easily engage with and understand a certain sets of metrics, collection of related safety events or performance improvement project, those who have to do more frequent and significant context shifting can benefit from additional explanation and illustration, and will often ask for the “big picture.”
ActionCue CI’s Performance Standard Dashboard presents that big picture, with easy-to-follow links to additional presentations of related data, information and insight. These data hierarchies are designed to match the cognitive pathways of a healthcare leader, providing what we like to call the Fast Path to Insight™. Gaining insight is a crucial part of the “Orient” step in OODA, and when done well and quickly, leads to more effective “Decide” and “Act” steps. An understanding of the executive mindset and management process, functional integration, easy-to-use navigation, intelligent design, and a foundation of analytics, all play a part in providing effective insight.
The design focused on cognitive pathways and support for OODA orientation are not just valuable for executives. All users of ActionCue CI, in a variety of roles and with differing responsibilities, enjoy enhanced efficiency and productivity in their work, largely due to integrating daily into intuitive workflows. This is applicable whether a user is oriented to the OODA or PDCA mindset. All users collaborate and engage with necessary information more easily and when using ActionCue CI, and that is a big win.
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