3 Data-driven hospital improvements

Jul 17
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“We are witnessing an unprecedented explosion in the volume, variety and velocity of health care data.”      – ‘Getting from big data to analytics – 4 challenges for health care entities’, EY

Australian hospitals collect and have access to a wealth of data. Advances in technology and transitions to electronic medical and health records has provided hospitals with rich data sets which hold huge opportunity for evidence based decision making, clinical improvements, identifying operational efficiencies and improved patient outcomes. But many hospitals aren’t utilising their data effectively, as Gill Hoffman, Chief Information Officer at Mercy explains: “health care has been sitting on a mountain of data that really hasn’t been used to its fullest – until recently.”

We have identified three case studies of hospitals that ARE making effective use of patient and system data for hospital improvements that we would like to share.

1. Metro North Hospital & Health Service, QLD, have been putting some structures in place to better understand and interpret their data to improve financial outcomes. The first of two keys steps in achieving this was ensuring better accuracy and quality of the data collected. The quality of data is far more important than the quantity, as if data isn’t accurate the decisions it influences are likely to be poor as a result.

In addition to data quality improvements, Metro North have also developed a data warehouse to assist with their financial improvements. A data warehouse is a centralised repository where data from all facets can be integrated. This is highly beneficial for hospitals as they capture data in many forms from different wards, a range of systems and applications, and the warehouse brings all of it together. With this data integration and capabilities of the warehouse, hospitals can effectively process and analyse larger more complex data sets.

Metro North’s improvement in data quality and development and utilisation of a data warehouse has helped them identify areas of improvement and realise better financial outcomes.

2. Royal Perth Hospital, WA, have synthesised data management to improve surgical procurement. They achieved this by adapting software management systems for better cross departmental communication.

Good interdisciplinary communication in hospitals is integral for providing high quality patient-centered care. Breakdowns in communication can have serious implications, but are all too common due to the number of staff interacting with each patient and the variety of systems and processes used.

A CRICO report which looked at over 23,000 medical malpractice lawsuits and claims noted that the most common breakdown of communication in hospitals was when “information is unrecorded, misdirected, never received, never retrieved or ignored.”

Therefore if a centralised system is put in place to manage information and communication it creates less room for error. This is certainly something Royal Perth has seen improvements in.

3. Canterbury District Health Board, NZ, have been utilising analytics to drive operational improvement. Analytics transforms information into actionable insights, which can identify operational improvements. But before being able to unlock the potential business benefits from analytics you need to collect high quality data, and in order to capture that hospitals need to decipher what to measure. As the famous Peter Ducker quote goes: “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.”  

Canterbury District Health Board has worked on putting the foundations in place for improved data collection and analysis, including;

  • quantifying delays and waste in clinical processes
  • developing standardised data to bring visibility to clinical and operational processes
  • applying a method for aligning clinical demand with required capacity
  • applying consistent methodologies in data analytics

They are now utilising analytics not only for improvements, but also to inform future business strategy.

These three case studies are going to be explored in more detail by key leaders in each of the hospitals at Criterion’s upcoming Financial & Operational Improvement in Hospitals Conference. With insights from:

  • Susan Turner, Director Business Improvement & Analysis at Metro North
  • Roger Campbell, Operations Manager at Royal Perth
  • Richard Floyd, Innovation Architect at Canterbury District Health Board, NZ

In the words of McKinsey and Company “a big data revolution is under way in healthcare” – so is your hospital going to be part of the revolution or left behind?

Hospital Finance

Submitted by Fiona Campbell

Fiona Campbell

Fiona is a producer who brings an international perspective to the team, with a background and experience in Scotland, Singapore and Shanghai. She is a foodie, a keen netballer and passionate about travel.
Fun fact about Fiona – She survived cycling down ‘the world’s most dangerous road’! (In Bolivia, South America)

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