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3 Ways to Achieve Quality Health Care and Improve Patient Outcomes

Doctor in operating room

The medical community holds a continuous conversation about health information technology and quality of care. The new managed care environment established by relatively recent reforms has created a need for quality of care data and performance metrics. This change has increased the expectations held by stakeholders such as consumers, health care organizations, and insurers. As a result, health care organizations have started to pay significantly more attention to patient and performance outcomes.

To further this agenda, care organizations employ health information technology (HIT) specialists to oversee outcome management, a discipline that evaluates patient experiences so that providers can make evidence-based decisions. Using advanced organizational data analysis, HIT specialists have documented notable performance gains in the following three areas: patient diagnostics, electronic health records, and patient satisfaction surveys.

Improved Patient Diagnostics

An expanding technology called actionable diagnostics help care providers evaluate patient conditions with improved accuracy. [1] This ability reduces organizational waste and allows care providers to develop customized treatment plans. Using the technology, biomedical researchers measure traits such as:

● Biomarkers
● Enzymes
● Gene expressions
● Hormones
● Proteins

These advanced genetic analyses lower health care costs, improve patient outcomes, and reduce misdiagnoses.

Health care organizations could save patients hundreds of billions of dollars each year by improving treatment outcomes. Actionable diagnostics help care providers streamline the patient recovery process by helping to identify effective treatments quickly. This newfound ability aligns with the managed care paradigm shift currently taking place in the medical field and helps providers to earn critical funding under new reimbursement models established in the United States.

Diagnostic errors still occur far too often. [2] In the contemporary value-based health market, medical mistakes cost care provider organizations severely. Today, health care organizations work hard to deliver the right treatments. Not only does this help the establishments receive payment for services, but it also streamlines operations in an increasingly complex service environment.

Accurate, fast diagnoses ensure that consumers receive the best possible care. Organizations that monitor diagnostic processes gather the information they need to utilize resources effectively and efficiently. These analytics drive the decisions that affect treatment and organizational finance.

Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

Most care providers feel that electronic health records (EHRs) make patient information easier to access and deliver tangible organizational benefits. [3] These improvements help care providers deliver better quality of service. Full and accurate health records allow providers to:

● Evaluate consumer illnesses
● Improve diagnostic accuracy
● Improve treatment outcomes
● Improve wellness among populations
● Reduce and eliminate errors

The ability to view all available consumer data easily also enhances the treatment process and improves patient safety.

EHRs allow medical professionals to manipulate patient data in a way that improves treatment considerably. The technology tracks consumer allergies, complications, and medications as well aids in allowing care providers to share relevant, recent patient information with other medical professionals.

Electronic health records can expose dangerous safety problems in real time, reducing the possibility that patients suffer treatment-related harm. The technology also helps organizations to identify and correct operational and procedural inefficiencies.

EHRs empower care provider organizations to improve health outcomes for entire populations. With the technology, researchers can analyze voluminous data in ways that produce information that organizations can use to plan interventive action plans.

Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Patient satisfaction drives the contemporary medical marketplace. [4] Therefore, many health care organizations use patient satisfaction surveys to create quality improvement initiatives, monitor employee performance, and pinpoint service gaps. As a result, surveys have become a critical tool in meeting criteria established by the new value-based health marketplace.

Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is the current standard for gauging consumer satisfaction. The survey allows consumers to evaluate service performance, which directly affects organizations’ reputations and reimbursements for delivered services. The framework establishes a consistent metric that stakeholders such as care provider organizations, insurers, and health agencies can use to benchmark performance. Best of all, because consumers provide feedback within forty-eight hours to six weeks of discharge, the survey gives stakeholders ongoing and current data regarding organizational performance status.

The medical field has made remarkable progress in survey design. However, this information gathering tool will continue to evolve along with the medical field. As this occurs, survey developers will continue to revise the technology to aid health organizations in complying with meaningful use mandates.

Legislators firmly believe that patient satisfaction is a valid measure of health care provider performance, as attested to by the now mandatory satisfaction requirements linked to institutional reimbursements. Despite this, some medical professionals disagree with this assessment. A New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) report reveal that some studies indicate that patient satisfaction has no direct correlation to the quality of care, while others determined that organizations that exceeded mandated patient satisfaction requirements greatly improved treatment outcomes.

Health information technology specialists aid health care organizations in operating and maintaining the equipment that helps them manage risk, evaluate disease severities, and forecast treatment outcomes. The modern practice environment has evolved from following singular best practices for specific conditions to developing customized treatment plans for individuals and populations. Duly, the medical field will need qualified, proficient health information technology specialists to assist in managing the delivery of services throughout the foreseeable future.

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Sources:

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-j-kurtzman-md/three-ways-diagnostics-ca_b_2805929.html
[2] https://www.healthcatalyst.com/reducing-diagnostic-error-to-improve-patient-safety/
[3] https://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/improved-diagnostics-patient-outcomes
[4] https://www.healthcatalyst.com/Patient-Satisfaction-And-Outcomes-Five-Recommendations
[5] https://www.acep.org/Clinical—Practice-Management/Quality-of-Care-and-the-Outcomes-Management-Movement/
[6] http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1211775#t=article