Improving Performance in Healthcare
Performance Improvement in Healthcare

Improving Performance in Healthcare June 1, 2016

Many of us get into a routine, which can feel like a rut, when it comes to our daily tasks at work. Not much changes from day to day, and the requirements rarely change at all. In the healthcare industry, this may not seem like it would be the case, but many healthcare professionals fall into treating patients, going through the roles and starting it all over the next day. The patients coming through may be different, the illnesses and ailments will vary, but it sometimes feels that physicians and other professionals are just going doing what their routine usually calls for and not much more. There is no way that improving performance in healthcare will ever be found.

There are many misconceptions when it comes to finding and implementing performance improvements within a healthcare system. As with wide variety of industries and businesses today, one of the hardest tasks to do is to find where inefficiencies, waste and problematic areas lie. Simply stating to everyone that works in an organization to work better is like telling everyone to evaluate themselves and everyone around them and change something, but no one knows what. Don’t just dump this sort of expectation on the hardworking staff that doesn’t have a full picture of what is going on. In fact, don’t dump it on anyone who isn’t prepared to search out and find where improvements can be made. More often than not, no one is able to look at the system that is set up and identify where issues are within. Luckily, you have data to help in this matter. All those countless hours dedicated to entering patient data, along with organizational information is going to pay off.

Data is going to be your best friend if you have and utilize a software system that taps into and digs through all that information to identify problems. Recognizing where improvements need to be made is kind of an art; there are changes that some in an organization might feel would be helpful, but simply making changes for change sake is not going to bring about performance improvement. However, missing out changes that would guide real improvement could cost time, resources and money that can never be recuperated. @N06

The one-and-done sort of mentality when it comes to changes and improvements cannot be how any healthcare facility plans and implements transformations. Process improvement is an ongoing, ever-changing, and demanding sort of concept. As requirements change, as technologies are introduced, as members of the staff leave and are added to, and as internal workings call for change, there will be an ever-moving target to hit. To set in stone the new established rule and ways of working is only going to leave your organization behind and make it that much more difficult to enact improvements later on. You cannot compare improvement processes to winning a race; there is no finish line, because you’re never done with the race.

Improving performance in healthcare isn’t accidentally found, but is diligently sought after by everyone. This is again where the insights and patterns provided from all the gathered data is important, but the fact that when everyone isn’t on board with making necessary changes, you are faced with an obstacle that can derail progress on many fronts. People are the lifeblood of any business or service, but they can cause other people to defect to their side of thinking and cause the smooth running machine to be bogged down. Unfortunately, progress and improvement may come at the expense of switching out some people and replacing them with others that will help move things forward.

Learning from other healthcare organizations in both their success and failures eliminates some of the guesswork and time needed for discovery. Obviously, not every healthcare facility is the same because the populations that seek out and use the healthcare services are different in every city and across the country. But, the bigger concepts and ideals are the same, and many of the same issues that exist in one hospital also exist in another. This can be compared to watching someone bong their head as they go through and entrance, and you learning from their mistake. Why not avoid the pains if you watch and learn from others? This goes the same for successes, in that someone else has gone through the trials and errors to find the things that work. This may require some tweeting on your part for your organization, but there isn’t a reason in the world why you can’t learn from someone else.

Improving performance in healthcare is not simple, is not straightforward or part of a cookie-cutter solution, however, it holds the keys to helping patients to get the best possible care available, reduce waste within the system, utilize the data for more fact-based decisions, and learn more about the needs of your organization at that moment and in long-term progress.

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