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Time for a Balance Sheet of Clinical Results

My colleague, Lesli Adams, is a regular blogger on Perficient’s Oracle technologies blog. As the Director of Oracle Healthcare Business Intelligence, she often posts about topics that are also relevant in the healthcare world. She recently posted a blog about Clinical Measurement that would be a good read for those interested in healthcare analytics, below:

Blue or Red?

Doesn’t matter.  It’s a question I get asked daily when I talk about Healthcare Consulting, Technology, and oh yeah, Clinical Measurement.  Over 2 years ago, when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act  (PPACA) was signed into law, my industry went off the rails.  Somehow my focus on clinical measurement is now a litmus test of political courage.  In the 10-15 seconds I still have their attention, I explain that there are 2 Axes of PPACA, Obamacare, or the ACA.  First is the question of who gets healthcare.  Well that is a policy question for Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Voters to figure out and not a technology question.  The second axis is whoever you serve, whoever you provide care for, or pay for care, you need to be able to say what happened to them.   I keep their attention with a few short anecdotes that bring it home:

  • 2 decades ago I started my career as a cost accountant in a major manufacturing firm.  Mainframe general ledgers were still in place; but I still knew how much overhead to apply, down to the size of the cubicles, the air conditioning allocation, the copy machine allocation.  Everything.  I knew exactly what my balance in WIP was, or the burden rate per project.  I had information.  I had measures.  I had repeatable processes.
  • Or how about flight times.  I know when my friend leaves La Guardia if they will be 15 minutes late, 5 minutes early, or even 45 minutes early and which gate to pick them up curbside.  I can track the plane across the country.  It’s not a “secret” and it’s not something that requires training to see.  Between the airline’s website for Flight Status or just googling for the airport and the word “departures” the information appears.

Manufacturing, Airlines, and Healthcare.  These industries are not at a loss for data, but how they use it is dramatically different.  Manufacturing and the Airline Industries made the investment decades ago to take their data and make it information that then improves decisions.

So back to my question of the day.  Blue or Red?  Doesn’t matter, but if I can employ technology to capture discrete data points across all of their care from the Outpatient Clinic, to the Emergency Room, to the ICU bed and match it up with Pharmacy, Radiology, and Labs, monitor their aftercare and then score it to Evidence Based Medicine guidelines, their care and the entire population’s care will improve.  Because the old adage is true, “What gets measured, gets improved.”

Technology for technology sake doesn’t improve outcomes.  Organizations will need to match their technology with the outcomes.  It’s time for not just a Balance Sheet, but a full set of Financials for Clinical Results and if the PPACA can get my industry going in that direction, I will cheer, coach, and prod the masses.

To read Lesli’s original blog, click here.

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