Healthcare organizations measure success in many ways.
Some tout reduced patient readmissions as a sign of better care delivery. For others, reduced costs and hours gained represent management and workflow wins. Efficiency improvement fuels such successes and, in many cases, providers look to the power of technology to underpin that improvement.
Research correlates the value of health IT with improving organizational efficiency. In a study examining Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services databases, researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas found that across 400 accountable care organizations, increased use of health IT aligned with more efficient coordination of care.
Still, getting positive results out of a technology deployment is hardly easy. A recent KPMG survey of 112 members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives finds improving operational efficiency to be among the top challenges faced by healthcare’s IT leaders.
Clearing the Health IT Hurdles
Healthcare providers, nevertheless, have proved that with a thoughtful approach, technology can boost efficiency.
Take Kansas City, Mo.-based Children’s Mercy Hospital. By deploying tablet devices equipped with a homegrown mobile application that leverages the cloud, Children’s Mercy has streamlined education and data sharing for parents whose newborns suffer from an often-fatal disease. That, in turn, has led to vast improvements to the mortality rates for those patients.
At Baystate Health in Springfield, Mass., single sign-on technology has drastically reduced time spent logging on to disparate applications, which in turn has raised clinician satisfaction.
“Clinicians are actually thanking me because, with the time saved every day, they are able to see another patient or write their notes or just have some downtime,” says Joel Vengco, Baystate’s vice president and CIO.
No matter how your organization chooses to address efficiency improvements, be sure to consider technology’s role as a major contributing factor.