Episode 01 - Cost and Quality

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Cost and Quality

April 3, 2018

File Size
21 MB

In this podcast series, we discuss effective cost management and healthcare with hosts Bobbi Brown, Senior Vice President in Professional Services and John Hansmann whose role is looking at operations and operations consulting. In today’s episode featuring Tom Burton, Co-Founder of Health Catalyst and Chief Improvement Officer, we explore the relationship between cost and quality, the importance of data, and how you can adopt an effective process for improving your systems and outcomes.

Show Notes

Cost vs. Quality

Sometimes people think cost versus quality in healthcare is an either, or scenario. However, we’ve seen that this is not the case. We’ve seen that there is a link between high-quality and low cost. As we standardize processes, we are able to keep costs under control and quality improves.

This is all due to data. Data-driven healthcare should be the priority, rather than politically driven healthcare. This takes the emotion out of it, removing a significant barrier to change.

Being systematic about how we do things is critical. While sometimes variation is warranted, often this can just come down to a physician or nurse’s preference. In that situation, there is a less effective or more effective way to do something and we need to make it easier to do the right thing.

“If you can show the data behind that and kind of prove it to them, they’re much more likely to want to change and that’s where being data-driven is a real advantage,” says Tom.

Creating this shift in perspective takes time and team effort.

It Takes a Village

To build new data-driven processes, the team needs to be interdisciplinary, technical, financial, clinical and operational. Very seldom does it take less than three to four people to not only make a change but sustain that improvement.

This improvement becomes most exciting when we are able to save lives and thousands of dollars through more effective processes.

Often, the solutions to the problems aren’t technical, they stem from data information and process flow. But the data is how we find the problem and the solution.

To do this, we’ve implemented our key process analysis tool in 50 plus health systems across the nation. This tool helps us pinpoint the biggest opportunity areas for improvement. Once we narrow in on those, we give the team key roles to tackle the challenge. We collaborate and create a dashboard and a plan for the process which takes several weeks. We then roll it out to one unit, measure its efficiency and then apply it to more units.

Health Catalyst’s best practices are backed by a significant amount of literature and studies.

“We then have our analytics that really help pinpoint the root cause of the problems and help us understand from the data where we need to improve the most. Then our professional services help with the actual adoption. And when all three of those things work together… that’s where we see massive improvement… that’s where we start to see the needle really move,” says Tom.

A Permanent, Evolving Solution

This is a new way of thinking, organizing and striving towards improvement. These are not temporary teams; they are established to evolve.

Even if you as an individual may feel like you are struggling to make an impact or change the systems, if you can leverage data to show how you use it to improve your outcomes, you’ll start to make inroads. When data is more actionable and accurate, you see better outcomes. This tangible illustration can help you motivate people to get engaged.

It should be said that for all of the data’s benefits, it can be used to negatively impact things. Tom names 10 ways data can be used as a weapon to punish. Instead, always use it as an informative tool that invites people to do better.

Start Now

With Health Catalyst’s Readiness Assessment, you can begin your journey to achieving better outcomes for your entire organization. With 22, in-depth questions, it will begin the process of discovery, pinpointing where improvement is necessary. To get the ball rolling, send the link to other members of your organization and start saving lives, and money.