Everyone recognizes that the success or failure of various improvement and change-management efforts is highly dependent on strong physician and staff engagement. Gaining alignment is a daunting task without tools to establish trust in the current state of an organization and confidence in its goals and direction for the future. The pathway to that future state is supported and paved by “insight” driven from data through analytics.
Using analytics, physicians and staff can identify clinical trends and operational inefficiencies, measure personal performance, and even examine outlier details – all through the transparency of meaningful real-time data.
Is the Data Meaningful?
The lack of data transparency causes today’s reports and charts to generate more questions than answers, and few systems are interactive enough to answer new questions quickly. Information becomes less meaningful and less useful when it is stale – and it is subsequently viewed with skepticism by recipients.
Access to role-based data has to be seamless and simple to be valuable. Physicians should be able to quickly view real-time dashboards with data metrics that are of interest to them and realize how those metrics Access to role-based data has to be seamless and simple to be valuable. Physicians should be able to quickly view real-time dashboards with data metrics that are of interest to them and realize how those metrics impact organizational clinical, financial, and operational issues.
Here are three ways in which analytic tools can be used to align and engage physicians and staff to meet departmental and organization goals:
Analytics that incorporate real-time and historical clinical, financial, and operational data allow physicians and other users to easily track progress toward organization and department goals. When data is presented untouched and unabridged, it doesn’t lie. However, just having the data is not enough. Clinicians need it in real time; only then will they be able to take action, and only then will trust be established in the data.
For example, if an organization needs to reduce case delays, physicians can use real-time data to identify and view current delays, easily delve into any offending cases to determine reasons for the delay, and quickly take action to address the problem. They have a complete picture of trusted data.
The cath lab director of a large West Coast academic medical center publicly shares the department’s analytic metrics with staff (e.g., number of cases, how many cases had missing data, how many cases didn’t start on time, etc.). Alignment is achieved, and everyone is focused on meeting department goals.
2. Sound Decisions
Physicians, nurses, and operations staff are among every healthcare organization’s greatest asset. More than any other industry, healthcare requires an effective blend of experience and evidence to support sound decisions. As such, organizations are increasingly looking for effective ways to enhance clinicians’ experience with data-driven insights that are easily and quickly assimilated.
Analytic tools enable data visualization that delves into details as needed, so that clinicians can explore the data themselves. When they can see their own real-time data in an interactive business analytics solution, it allows them to ask questions, quickly find answers, see comparative data, derive uncommon insight, and uncover things that were not obvious.
For example, an analytics tool might take a question, “What is the radiation and contrast tracking for patients over the prior month?” and display the answer graphically with drill-down detail, available with a click. Outliers can be easily identified and sound clinical decisions consolidated.
3. Personal Tracking
The purpose of analytics is not only to point out problems. As meaningful metrics become a way of life in healthcare, insight into how physicians work is improving outcomes – and efficiency is easily evident. Praising high-quality results through metric specificity encourages the human enterprise, and the network effect multiplies the resulting value.
The VA National Teleradiology Program (NTP) has attributed performance analytics as the primary reason for business expansion year over year, leading to improved productivity. High-quality work is evident to all, promoting profitable growth for the business.
Ninety percent of VA NTP’s physicians look at personalized metrics every day, often for no more than one or two minutes. They quickly review detailed information such as productivity ratios along with qualitative metrics (e.g., peer review, critical case callbacks, and report quality). In addition, physician users have access to metrics based on CPT codes so that they can see comparative performance and set targets in line with NTP’s goals. Physicians readily conclude whether their performance is contributing to the problem or leading to the goal.
Physician engagement is a critical component to achieving and sustaining business performance improvement across the healthcare enterprise. Analytics establishes trust in the current state of an organization and confidence in the future state and the pathway to it. Analytics can provide a complete and accurate picture in real time. Physicians trust the data and use it to make sounder decisions, track their performance, and help them clearly see how they are meeting or falling short of organizational goals.