by April 22nd, 2015on
I was fortunate to participate in the Health Information Management System Society’s (HIMSS) Annual Conference in Chicago last week. More than 42,000 other healthcare professionals attended the conference this year. I was in awe of how much innovated brain power was under one roof and how far information technology has come within the healthcare industry.
I was able to attend an interesting session with one of my colleagues called, “Reducing the Cost of Care Through Real Time Intelligence,” where Dr. Barry P Chaiken was speaking on how real-time analytics can help provide a true understanding of the cost of delivering care. He stated that the value of healthcare is really a basic equation: Healthcare Value=Quality of Care/Cost of Care and that there needs to be a true investment into the quality of care given the cost. To illustrate his point he provided an analogy to hotel room towels, stating that if you pay for a Motel 6 room, you wouldn’t really think twice about the quality of towels, but if you pay for a room at the Ritz and have Motel 6 quality towels you’d question why this is. Same thing goes for healthcare, if the U.S. has one of the highest per capita spends as a country, why is the quality of care so low compared to other countries – paying for the Ritz Hotel (high cost) but getting Motel 6 towels (outcomes).
He focused on the operations side of things, specifically labor and supplies as a starting point to help reduce costs throughout the healthcare delivery system. The problem – this data is rarely provided real-time. He outlined four steps that were followed by Community Medical Center on their “journey” to achieve real-time, actionable intelligence around operational cost management1:
- Identify ways to obtain labor and supply cost near real-time
- Pilot process to obtain critical data sets
- Improve data collection by modifying charge capture process
- Timeliness and accuracy of supply charge capture
- Expand data sets – quality indicators, patient satisfaction, care team
- Use analytics to identify drivers of quality, satisfaction, care team
- Expand use of predictive analytics – impact on cost and quality
- Develop KPIs through meetings with operational leaders
- Plan limited release of initial set of KPI’s
- Focus on value to users
- Launch mobile application leveraging real-time
- Create process for alerts to key manager
Dr. Chaiken was able to present the impacts of implementing the four steps through some solid analytics that were derived from the work. He made a great point on using “little successes” to make such a large journey achievable. He gave an example of how during childhood we would set little goals, such as jumping to the next rung on the monkey bars, rather than being too ambitious and trying to jump two rungs. His point was that over ambitious executives, clinicians and IT staff sometimes set unrealistic expectations when it comes to IT and business/clinical intelligence. More often than not they fail and failure in healthcare is not something anyone can afford.
It was a great session and it really got me thinking about using some basic clinical and administrative data, not to achieve grandiose outcomes, but more immediate and meaningful outcomes that can truly help us begin to better understand the cost of care in our healthcare systems.