Even though thousands of health outcome measures have the potential to impact the work we do every day, how well do we really understand them? In this article, we take a close look at the definitions, origins, and characteristics of health outcome measures. We break down the financial relevance of certain measures, the relationship between outcome measures and ACOs, and which measures impede, rather than enhance, a typical healthcare system. We review the role of an enterprise data warehouse and analytics, and we touch on the future of health outcome measures, all in an effort to provide deeper insight into some of the mechanics behind outcomes improvement.
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A health system’s outcomes improvement program is an expensive undertaking. It’s worth the results, but there’s no need to make it even more expensive through unforeseen and unnecessary delays. We outline the three phases of managing outcomes improvement programs, from hardware and software acquisition and configuration to resource management to sustaining and scaling the gains. We also examine the nine potential pitfalls that can undermine success in each of these phases:
- Hardware and software acquisition delays
- Environment readiness
- Source system access
- Lack of resource capacity
- Lack of analytic and technical skills
- Data quality paralysis
- Lack of clinical or operational engagement
- Punitive culture: data used as a weapon
- No CEO, no go
Given the industry’s shift toward value-based, outcomes-based healthcare, organizations are working to improve outcomes. One of their top outcomes improvement priorities should be early detection and action, which can significantly improve clinical, financial, and patient experience outcomes. Through early detection and action, systems embrace a proactive approach to healthcare that aims to prevent illness; the earlier a condition is detected, the better the outcome.
But, as with most things in healthcare, improving early detection is easier said than done. This executive report provides helpful, actionable guidance about overcoming common barriers (logistical, cultural, and technical) and improving early detection and action by integrating six must-haves:
- Multidisciplinary teams
- Leadership-driven culture change
- Creative customization
- Proof-of-concept pilot projects
- Health Catalyst tools (knowledge briefs, outcomes improvement packets and worksheets, and care process improvement maps).
The report features a Thibodaux Regional Medical Center sepsis success story that demonstrates how creative customization, when paired with evidence-based standardization, can improve early detection and action efforts, as well as clinical, financial, and patient outcomes.
There’s a formula for success when putting together outcomes improvement projects and organizing the teams that make them prosper. Too often, critically strategic projects launch without the proper planning, structure, and people in place to ensure viability and long-term sustainability. They never achieve the critical mass required to realize substantial improvements, or they do, but then the project fades away and the former state returns. The formula for enduring success follows seven simple steps:
- Take an Outcomes Versus Accountability Focus
- Define Your Goal and Aim Statements Early and Stick to Them
- Assign an Owner of the Analytics (Report or Application) Up Front
- Get End Users Involved In the Process
- Design to Make Doing the Right Thing Easy
- Don’t Underestimate the Power of 1:1 Training
- Get the Champion Involved
Quality improvement in healthcare is complicated, but we’re beginning to understand what successful quality improvement programs have in common:
- Adaptive leadership, culture, and governance
- Evidence- and consensus-based best practices
- Financial alignment
Although understanding the top five essentials for quality improvement in healthcare is key, it’s equally important to understand the most useful definitions and key considerations. For example, how different service delivery models (telemedicine, ACO, etc.) impact quality improvement programs and how quality improvement starts with an organization’s underlying systems of care.
This executive report takes an in-depth look at quality improvement with the goal of providing health systems with not only the top five essentials but also a more comprehensive understanding of the topic so they’re in a better position to improve quality and, ultimately, transform healthcare.
6 Steps for Implementing Successful Performance Improvement Initiatives in Healthcare (Executive Report)
A systematic approach to performance improvement initiative includes three components: analytics, content, and deployment. Taking six steps will help an organization to effectively cover all three components of success. Step 1: Integrate performance improvement into your strategic objectives. Step 2: Use analytics to unlock data and identity areas of opportunity. Step 3: Prioritize programs using a combination of analytics and a deployment system. Step 4: Define the performance improvement program’s permanent teams. Step 5: Use a content system to define program outcomes and define interventions. Step 6: Estimate the ROI.