As the medical industry continues to strive towards improving overall clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction while reducing costs, the importance of focusing on process based healthcare as opposed to outcomes based healthcare alone is paramount. While outcomes based healthcare looks at the bottom lines, such as mortality and readmission rates, lengths of stay (LOS) and the like, process outcomes are actual changes in protocols, no matter how big or small, that lead to change in one or more medical outcomes. A process outcome can be either positive or negative; meticulous tracking of results through the assistance of technology such as an enterprise data warehouse (EDW) can be used to obtain and analyze the data and determine that which is most likely to bring about larger scale positive change in a more rapid fashion than has ever been possible in the past.
Why Are Outcomes Tracked While the Preceding Processes May Be Overlooked?
In analyzing the difference between process vs outcomes based healthcare, in every clinical setting, a list of specific outcomes is required to be reported to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). When you look at the overall rating of a hospital, outcomes such as its mortality rates in a particular area compared to other hospitals will be evaluated; the range of differences between one hospital and the next can be surprising. Without a standard system of care that would provide physicians and other professionals a clear path to follow in the diagnosis and treatment of any condition, many patients end up receiving sub quality care. Although they are likely doing their personal best, the huge amounts of medical literature and rapid advances in technology and treatment options may prevent individual doctors from adopting the current best care practices available.
Because the majority of clinical settings currently lack the proper analytical tools to evaluate changes in different processes that are likely to lead to changes in a particular outcome, making any lasting changes in those processes has not yet become the norm in most hospital settings. Without the help of tools such as the EDW, the amount of manual labor required to properly analyze the results of any and all effects each process change results in remains unrealistic.
An Enterprise Data Warehouse Facilitates Opportunities for Process Based Healthcare
Most medical professionals can clearly understand the need for a movement towards a more standardized system of care that incorporates the best information presently available, yet most have found the process of implementing real change to be challenging without a means to accurately analyze large amounts of data. An EDW provides medical facilities with the following opportunities:
- Automation of basic data entry information surrounding each patient, situation, process, etc., eliminating the need for manual entry of this information into spreadsheets.
- Ability to track the effects of each individual process change on the outcomes of many areas, allowing simultaneous comparison of any positive and negative results. For example, if the process of reducing the length of stay (LOS) in the maternity ward leads to higher levels of stress in mothers, this negative result could be analyzed alongside any positive aspects such as reduction in overall costs.
Allows analysts the ability to pinpoint the most critical processes in need of change in a much timelier manner than simple trial and error. An EDW, for example, may indicate that implementing a standard practice to administer antibiotic treatment upon arrival to all patients with appendicitis symptoms is highly likely to bring about an improvement in outcome with no downside; this change can be made throughout the facility and continuously reanalyzed over time.
A Means to Affect Long Lasting Improvements in the Healthcare Industry
It has been said that “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” With the need for improvements in healthcare outcomes and overall expenditures in nearly every medical facility in the country today, the time to implement EDW technology is now. By providing the opportunity to analyze the differences of process vs outcomes based healthcare, an EDW marks the wave of the future in medical care. Since this technology takes into account any changes in processes your organization wishes to consider and evaluates them with their related outcomes (which include patient satisfaction and overall treatment efficiency), it is nearly guaranteed to provide long lasting improvements in the overall care received by every patient that enters your facility.