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7 Steps to Increasing ROI with Performance Improvement

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Get everyone on the same page with tools that integrate improvement, all quality metrics and event reporting/investigation.
  3. Ensure every internal reporting and analytic activity drives into improvement.
  4. Focus on enabling the improvement work correctly instead of over-educating the staff.
  5. Prioritize synergistic, internal, real improvement activities over external reporting.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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ActionCue CI Solution for Risk and Quality Managers

How can Health IT increase scheduled patient visits?

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.

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logo of global hand washing day

5 ways to reduce hospital-acquired infections

Photo source: http://globalhandwashing.org

Hospital-acquired infections are a serious issue. Resulting in loss of lives and increased hospital costs, both of which are preventable. These 5 tips may help.

Although the rates of infection have steadily decreased over the past few years, still approximately 75,000 deaths were attributed to hospital-acquired infections in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are measures that can be taken to lower infection rates which are surprisingly easy.

  1. Cut down on red blood cell transfusions.

Red blood cell (RBC) transfusion strategies are a common treatment in the U.S. But, infection rates dropped by 20 percent when hospitals performed them less often.

  1. Educate patients and doctors about hand hygiene

It is the simplest one on the list, and a shock that it even needs to be on here. Yet, a large enough portion of healthcare workers resist the practice that it bears constant reminding.

  1. Embrace the latest technologies

This is a shameless plug because it works. Other industries have adopted information technologies to dramatically improve their quality, Healthcare is no different.

  1. Emphasize teamwork and communication

A study at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that a dedicated and educated housekeeping team reduced room infection by 89% of baseline.

  1. Consider using copper surfaces

A study published in the May 2013 issue of Infection Control and Epidemiology found that copper surfaces reduced the amount of health care-acquired infections by more than half.

 

Did you know that October 15, is Global Handwashing Day?

I didn’t until I wrote this article. Find out more information by visiting the globalhandwashing.org website.

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ActionCue® Clinical Intelligence application receiving key update

Prista Corporation’s ActionCue® Clinical Intelligence application receiving key update

Austin, Texas – Prista Corporation announced today plans to expand the features of their online application, ActionCue® Clinical Intelligence, to include Common Format report functionality — satisfying AHRQ Common Format report requirements.  This addition extends the scope of coverage of the ActionCue platform integrating Quality Management, Risk Management and Performance Improvement.

The upcoming release, which is planned for early- to mid-summer, continues the company’s commitment to providing unparalleled assistance to hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) and post-acute facilities to improve patient care quality and safety.

“We carefully considered how to best serve clients’ external reporting needs on adverse incident reports to Patient Safety Organizations and onward to various Federal agencies,” said Don Jarrell, EVP of Product and Technical Operations & co-founder of Prista. “It is extremely important to us that we continue to add to the value of the ActionCue application, while maintaining its already high standards for delivering clinical insight in a way that is clear and easy to use.”

The ActionCue application’s ability to provide AHRQ Common Format reports, in either encrypted PDF or direct online transfers, will apply to any Patient Safety Organization (PSO) or recipient the ActionCue subscriber chooses. “Subscribers already have unparalleled flexibility in creating customized reports for internal and external stakeholders,” said Mark Smith, CEO. “With this new functionality, the ActionCue application will be able to maintain its ease of use and productivity, while allowing for reporting that fully complies with the AHRQ requirements with no additional effort for users — it’s really powerful.”

“Since its founding in 2009, Prista has been committed to delivering the best insight into the healthcare and quality operational environment and best practices in information processing through ActionCue Clinical Intelligence,” continued Smith. “With a 100% customer retention rate so far, we think we are on the right path.”

When asked if Prista would be operating as a Patient Safety Organization, Prista’s Don Jarrell said, “No. We have no interest in functioning as a PSO. I believe it could complicate the relationships with our subscribers. What we want to continue doing is to provide hospitals with the best, state-of-the-art tools possible to help them increase their patient safety and care.”

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