Reported outcomes are important to hospitals and healthcare organization and that’s why Hospital Outcome Improvements is important to the overall well being of the organization both to staff (clinicians) and patients. Outcome measurement is easier because they help define the goals of the organization and set it on a course that would produce better outcomes than what already exists. Contrary to what you might think, not many organizations make improving outcomes their primary goal. Most hospitals are just focused on providing care to sick patients and most doctors are overwhelmed with working long hours and doing paperwork that not much time is left to strategize for long-term outcome improvement goals. Healthcare organizations commonly have it in their plan or yearly strategy that outcome improvement is their goal but it’s usually just on paper. They do not measure patient treatment outcomes or report them or store them in databases for future outcome measurement endeavors. As you would expect, value can only happen when providers align the focus of their clinical teams and their market strategy on achieving excellent outcomes, and in turn, invest the resources to measure and report them.
Another area that the importance of outcomes shines through is that outcomes inform the composition of integrated care teams. Value-based care requires the integration of care and a care team around the patients who need them. Besides finding the right care team for a patient the organization also has to find the right team members. Care team member has to be able to work closely with each other and communicate effectively so they can produce sufficient and even surpassed outcomes for the patients. This is not easy for specialists who are not used to working closely together, or worse, even dislike each other. But defining and measuring outcomes can bridge the disciplinary divide as teams must necessarily collaborate to achieve better results. Data that exposes poor performance, in particular, can be a strong motivator to join together to improve. I.e show them what’s wrong and how working together can make it improve and become better. Motivate them by appealing to their sense of self-preservation and show them what they can achieve by working together.
Outcome improvement strategies can get clinicians to be able to compare their performance between one another and learn strategies from each other on how they can improve. Comparing outcomes is important because it helps with the sharing of innovations and between teams. A more comprehensive focus on processes and outcomes and their interaction always shows opportunities to improve, from increasing survival rates and long-term functioning to reducing complications and speeding recovery. Comparing these types of outcomes in a transparent and collaborative way can be a powerful motivator for improvement.
Outcome improvement strategies help highlight areas in the organization that can achieve value-enhancing cost reduction strategies. Almost every decision made during planning ultimately affects the cost of care. Decisions such is choosing which drugs to prescribe to patients, choosing which procedures to perform, which tests to run and how long to keep patients admitted. All this always come into play in addition to the fact that clinicians and physicians always overestimate the benefit of their care (typical human nature) and so decisions made usually lean towards higher valuation and higher cost of care. This is one of the reasons why the healthcare industry needs to be properly regulated. With big pharma companies having doctors be practically salespeople by making them prescribe their new and expensive drugs to patients it makes one wonder who is actually looking out for the well being of the patients. Outcome improvement helps healthcare organizations shift from measuring just volume to measuring results.
Patient Reported Outcomes
Another important aspect of outcome improvement in patient-reported outcomes. Patient-reported outcomes are relatively new in the industry but that doesn’t mean their importance is any less. Usually, most health provides preferred to rely on objective and clinical data to measure patient progress. However, times are changing which increased patient engagement, value-based payment etc and the new area is the patient-reported outcome.
There are very few times that a doctor or other medical professional truly performs most of their duties on the fly or without much insight and outside knowledge. The medical community has hundreds of years of experience and evidence to lead them. More recently, healthcare professionals have been asked and are required to improve the overall quality of care and outcomes, which is a much more fine-tuning of attention than previously expected. To this end, it is necessary to dig below the surface of everyday care and find where problems lie; to root medical care in evidence-based medicine.
When we are sick and end up at the doctor’s office or hospital, there is a high-level of expectation that everything will work out for the best; something that has been instilled in us by those in authority. There is also a high-level of expectation that there will be waiting periods, usually, a quick nurse’s visit to get basic vital information, short meeting time with the doctor, and then in most cases out the door with a prescription, or some sort of plan of action. It isn’t that there is something inherently wrong with this schedule, but more and more it is showing that it is inefficient, sometimes misses important information, and doesn’t always lead to a positive outcome.