Cultivating a Healthy Culture through Data

Healthcare employees want to improve, not only the process, but on an individual level too.

They want to be the best they can be, especially when it involves making a sick patient’s life better. Too often times we hear “better IT” as a solution to improvement. It’s a catch-all term, lending itself to quickly growing into something so grand that it’s prohibitive from a cost, time, and resource perspective.

Unfortunately, some healthcare providers have limited understanding of information technology and its capabilities. They often want a “magic red button” that makes problems go away. While there are no real magic buttons in healthcare, or life for that matter, with big data warehousing and cloud computing, one such tool which will transform our ability to care for our patients may not be too far off.

We believe the IT solutions often in place to improve our effectiveness, namely Electronic Event Reporting and 360-Degree Feedback, play a significant role in establishing our culture. Unfortunately, both systems potentiate the reliance on subjective feelings, opinions, and individual perceptions. Confounding the importance of these systems is their direct connection to employees’ salaries.

While reviews and event reporting are necessary as part of our field, they are also culpable in the very unintended consequence of creating a defensive culture — the “It’s not my fault” or “He/she did it” or “Ignoring an issue” or blank stare. Unfortunately, problems are seen as “hot potatoes”, not opportunities. Deflection is key to avoiding an event report. We believe these types of IT systems dis-incentivize ownership of issues and perhaps more problematic, they create walls between effective collaboration as ownership comes with blame.

How often do we hear: “That was my fault”, “I could have done better there”, “I should have seen that”? Getting better includes being able to admit fault, being able to be wrong, and being given the opportunity to change. But rarely do we hear the above comments.

A Better IT Solution

Let us describe a different kind of solution that relies on the belief that most highly trained people want to do a good job and want to improve themselves.

This solution would include the following attributes:

  • Objective measures
  • Defined expectations
  • Real-time, granular, de-centralized reporting
  • Individual, timely feedback
  • Anonymous comparisons to peers
  • Autonomy in finding solutions
  • Devoid of opinion

Here are some concrete examples of constructive questions to answer in the peri-operative space:

  • How were my turnover times last week?
  • Did I meet the defined time benchmarks?
  • How many of my cases had late starts?
  • How have my Anesthesia Ready times been for Urology cases? How about overall? How do I compare to my peers?
  • How many regional procedures have I done? How do they effect my ready times?
  • How long do my ASA 1 and ASA 2 patients spend in the hospital, from registration to sign-out? How long did recovery time take? Does it correlate to my choice of opioid or dosage or use of nerve blocks?
  • How do my delays correlate with patient satisfaction?
  • Can I identify patterns to my delays and share those with my supervisors?
  • How many of my parents last week felt I adequately explained the anesthesia plan?
  • How many of my parents felt their kid’s pain was adequately controlled? How about nausea and vomiting?

Welcome to Big Data in healthcare. Data warehousing will transform how we improve satisfaction, efficiency, and safety. Providing objective and routine feedback in a meaningful measurable way can help us become better healthcare providers. By defining expectations, measuring the performance, and providing real-time access to the results, we can change our culture.

At Graphium Health, it’s our passion, and we believe Big Data tools will dramatically benefit the patient experience. AnesthesiaEMR™ and Graphium Analytics™ combine to make more than an EMR. They connect the process, the provider, and the patient in very new, innovative ways to make our patients safer, our providers more intelligent, and our institution more profitable.