Hospital command center leaders have never had to run an incident response on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas a typical emergency event (e.g., flooding, earthquakes, multivehicle collisions, or shootings) causes rapid patient influx with an identifiable starting and stopping point, the novel coronavirus has an ongoing, inestimable impact. The extensive duration, combined with high transmission risks and a massive scope of impact, demand that health systems prepare for complex facility, equipment, and staffing needs. Their best strategy is to leverage data-driven tools to scale their existing emergency response plans for COVID-19’s unprecedented proportions.
Learn more about David Grauer, MBA, MHSA
David Grauer comes to Health Catalyst after 23 years in executive leadership positions at Intermountain Healthcare, a Utah-based, not-for-profit system of 22 hospitals, 185 clinics, and 1,400 employed physicians that is widely recognized as a leader in clinical quality improvement and in efficient healthcare delivery. For the last nine years, Grauer served as CEO/Administrator of Intermountain Medical Center, a 502-bed hospital in suburban Salt Lake City that is both Utah’s largest hospital and the flagship of Intermountain Healthcare. Previously, he was CEO/Administrator of two other Intermountain hospitals: Cottonwood Hospital and TOSH—The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital.
Read articles by David Grauer, MBA, MHSA
Healthcare is confronting rising costs, aging and growing populations, an increasing focus on population health, alternative payment models, and other challenges as the industry shifts from volume to value. These obstacles drive a growing need for more digitization, accompanied by a data-centric improvement strategy.
To establish and maintain data as a primary strategy that guides clinical, financial, and operational transformation, organizations must have three systems in place:
Best practices to identify target behaviors and practices.
Analytics to accelerate improvement and identify gaps between best practices and analytic results.
Adoption processes to outline the path to transformation.
Healthcare generates an estimated $1 trillion in waste each year, including supply costs, unnecessary tests, and surgeries that aren’t clinically indicated by best practices. One effective way health systems can reduce waste is by centralizing duplicated services into one high-performing center for that service. For example, instead of having a few cardiac catheterization (cath) labs, a health system can consolidate its cath services into one facility, cutting equipment, staffing, and space requirements.
Despite its clinical and financial benefits, centralization can be challenging for health system leaders, who may face operational and political challenges when cutting services from certain locations. To navigate these challenges, leadership must use a data- and analytics-driven centralization strategy and a data and analytics system that can measure performance at the surgeon, facility, and program levels.
Healthcare leaders looking to establish and sustain a culture of large-scale outcomes improvement must communicate their health system’s values, beliefs, and norms throughout the entire organization. Effective communication spreads understanding of outcomes improvement, ensuring broad engagement and ongoing progress toward shared goals.
An eight-step strategy describes essential elements of organizational outcomes improvement communication plan:
Include a communications specialist on the outcomes improvement leadership team.
Analyze the stakeholders early and often.
Craft the central message around shared values.
Be a constant champion.
Commit to regular times and mechanisms for communication.
Make sure communication flows both ways.
For healthcare organizations looking to achieve outcomes improvement goals, effective governance is the most essential must-have. This leadership culture ensures success by enabling health systems to invest in outcomes improvement and allocate resources appropriately toward these goals.
This executive report is an outcomes improvement governance handbook centered on four guiding principles (and associated helpful steps) health systems can follow to achieve effective governance and start achieving more with less:
With these four principles, organizations can build a foundation of engagement and focus around the work, where they maximize strengths, and discover and address weaknesses. They establish an improvement methodology, define their goals, and sustain and standardize improvement work.