Improving Performance Deluge amid the of Data (and Change)
Measurement is the name of the game in improving healthcare operations these days, but what to measure, how to measure, and just getting started are real challenges for many organizations. Here are five questions—and answers—to offer clarity to this compl
What does “balanced performance” mean and why should hospitals seek it?
KV: It’s a strategic practice used to monitor success. No one metric can create a balanced story, which is why conventional performance management systems are insufficient—often measuring only financial, operational or quality results. These measures alone, though essential and important, fail to tell the complete story of the business realities hospitals now face.
Optimal accomplishment only happens when all are aligned on the same goals and marching forward in tandem, each recognizing their contribution to the ‘dot’ mapped on a scorecard.
Why is balanced performance important in today’s healthcare environment?
KV: We have to examine cause and effect relationships more today than ever. The business of healthcare and the provisioning of healthcare now have interconnected strategic aims. As we move from fee-for-service to value-based care, seeing all the components of the value equation creates a tipping point between the fragmented practices of today to fluid continuums tomorrow.
How can organizations prioritize the right initiatives that will drive balanced performance improvement?
KV: Keep asking “why?” and always demand that the initiative solves multiple challenges—that’s the essence of intelligent information vs. just information. For example, wanting to improve length of stay is a big task as there are many components—Did they stay longer due to complications? Was it a weekend stay? Were there delays in the diagnostics or the treatment modalities? Were there patient preferences? It’s a symptom of something closer to the tip of the spear. We know that patients experiencing sepsis stay longer, have increased mortality and morbidity, and cost more. Whatever you are solving for should have a ‘triple ripple effect’. Prioritize that one.
The metrics of the 100 Top Hospitals ® balanced scorecard are placed to demonstrate interdependencies, that none are mutually exclusive and can be monitored to analyze the movement between them. We have consultants specialized in the art of identifying this exact thing—finding the non-obvious, which sometimes turns out to be the obvious. Our Road to 100 Top Hospitals ® consulting engagement helps hospitals and health systems make improvements in operational and quality performance— including clinical outcomes—so that they can join the ranks of the top hospitals in the nation by optimizing balanced performance.
How often should you “benchmark”?
KV: The majority of organizations benchmark monthly simply because at that point you have a cohort of data that has enough power to show statistically significant improvement. Timelines should allow sufficient time for change. Remember, we are aiming for palpable results. Something you can feel.
What are some proven best practices that Truven Health sees when it helps organizations begin their performance improvement journeys?
KV: Begin is the operative word. Most organizations don’t get far on their journey not because they aren’t measuring the right metrics, but because the culture isn’t aligned. So to begin one must give special attention to the following:
• Transparency on KPIs—measuring what actually matters
• Alignment of leaders and staff
• Consistent adoption in a systematic way across the organization
• Efficient and effective attainment of results.
IS A CLINICAL EPI
VICE PRESIDENT IN
THE TRUVEN HEALTH
OF CARE SOLUTIONS.
SHE HAS 21 YEARS
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