Technology has changed the world as we know it in what seems like a blink of an eye, giving us endless opportunities and far reaching concepts. Technology has changed our lives for the better, but it has also uncovered unforeseen disruptors in many industries. Digitalization disruption has the potential to reshape markets faster than any force in history. One industry which promises gigantic advances in this rapidly changing landscape is healthcare.
The digital revolution has not only brought changes in the role technology plays in healthcare, it is changing how healthcare data is collected, processed, stored, analyzed and utilized. Health organizations throughout the country and the world are in the early stages of this digital transformation journey. Today, US hospitals are faced with improving the quality of healthcare and access to healthcare, controlling the costs of healthcare as life expectancy increases, providing services to the 76 million baby boomers as well as serving the increasing population.
The US spends more on healthcare per capita per year than any other nation, but it lags in outcomes. By focusing on improving population health, furthering the development of information and cultivating collaborative efforts globally, we will begin to see an improvement in outcomes. An already complicated and intricate industry with a multitude of stakeholders, is now having to rethink the way it delivers service. How can healthcare leadership, clinicians, front-line staff and technologist work together to help the effort within the four walls of our hospitals? Let’s look at four areas of focus that can transform the hospital culture, align perspectives and improve outcomes.
Increasing Patient Engagement
Patients want personalized healthcare. They want to be active participants on their path to improvement with a connection to their physician. It’s important to make interactions and encounters more human, communication among doctors, nurses and patients needs to be clear and consistent. Leveraging technology to extend contact with patients is one area healthcare organizations can improve patient engagement. Easy access to nurses and doctors through patient portals or live chat applications, and automated messaging appropriately timed and tailored to the patient’s treatment can help improve health outcomes.
Empowering Healthcare Teams
It is more important than ever for healthcare organizations to ensure skilled and competent resources are hired at every level. From patient access, ancillary services, patient care, to proper training and education – frequent skill audits can ensure all skill gaps are identified and corrected. When selecting leaders, select professionals you can trust to do the right thing, allowing them to take ownership and be accountable for results. Once you’ve conveyed the vision and provided them with the tools they need, give them an active role in developing a short-term business solution plan. This should be designed with improvement, deliverables and milestones in mind. Once they select their team, provide an environment where they can succeed. Nurture the team and monitor progress against those milestones. This will keep the team accountable for results. Expect mistakes and be prepared to reroute and redirect. This will signal trust to other areas within the organization changing and improving the organizational culture.
Optimize Clinical & Operational Effectiveness
As healthcare organizations prepare for digitalization, it’s critical to re-evaluate and optimize clinical and operational workflows. There are many automated tools and methods accessible to collect workflow information, organize data, monitor usage and optimize activities. Examining bed tracking, transportation and supplies, accessibility to healthcare equipment, as well as procurement processes and procedures will help optimize clinical and operational workflows. Organizations need to implement smarter and faster clinical communication enabling clinicians and staff to spend more time collaborating treatment and taking care of the patient.
Transform the Care Continuum
Clinical care practices within highly complex healthcare systems require leaders to advance their way of thinking. Transitional care models can guide program development to facilitate the adoption of new processes. Direction needs to be driven by a leadership team and steering committee, and initiatives need to be clearly communicated to each department. Implement and track KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to improve performance. Focus on maintaining high quality care across healthcare settings. Provide a holistic, personal care approach and align and prioritize care initiatives. High maturity organizations focus beyond their four walls. This allows these organizations to promote self-awareness, flexibility, willingness to learn, creativity, decisiveness and improve effective communication.
VP Operation Delivery at Excite Health Partners