- Written by Living Wisely
- Category: Performance Improvements
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Performance improvement is the process of measuring the output of a particular business process or procedure, and then modifying the process or procedure to increase the output, increase efficiency, or increase the effectiveness of the process or procedure. So What is Performance improvement in healthcare? Well, it is routinely doing this process in healthcare organizations in order to improve clinical outcomes and patient experiences while reducing costs. There are performance improvement processes and plans carried out in healthcare organizations regularly. This is usually called a performance improvement plan (PIP).
These performance improvement plans or initiatives sometimes tend to fail or not produce the desired results when the organization does not have an appropriate plan in place. A performance improvement plan (PIP) also referred to as performance action plan should be able to effortlessly help healthcare organizations plan out a performance improvement initiative from start to end ensuring goals are met, tracking milestones and improving on the ongoing process. There are steps that can be followed to set an effective performance improvement plan. Some of these steps are: Document Performance Issues, Develop an action plan, Review the performance plan, Meet with employees, Follow-up and Feedback, and Performance improvement conclusion.
Improvements in healthcare go hand in hand with many of the technological developments of our day. Some applications may initially start out benefitting other industries, yet there are a vast number of healthcare professionals that are working to find ways to implement these new discoveries into many diverse areas that will better the next time you end up in the hospital or visit your doctor for the yearly health check-up.
Just as changes in any business come with hesitation, sometimes resistance, and other times regulation restrictions, it is no different in the field of healthcare, maybe even more so than other trades. Due to the longevity with which many professionals work in their healthcare career, change does not come without opposition. In addition, the level that the government controls the healthcare industry is almost second to none. There are many peoples and powers that must receive proof before any new ideas or standards are put into daily practice. This isn't such a bad idea when compared with days gone by and those lucky coats.
After the performance improvement plan or plans have been made, there are steps to take to implement these plans and put them into action.
Step 1: Integrate Performance Improvement into Your Strategic Objectives. Healthcare is a complex, adaptive system where interactions and relationships of different components simultaneously affect and are shaped by the system. As such, it is important for performance improvement to be integrated within the healthcare organization’s strategic objectives. Strategic objectives such as becoming an accountable care organization (ACO), focusing on population health management, or developing a cardiovascular center of excellence, all require performance improvement in order to be successful. Integrating performance improvement also helps avoid wasting time, effort, and money on programs that may yield little overall benefit.
Step 2: Use Analytics to Unlock Data and Identify Areas of Opportunity. Performance improvement requires an analytics system that integrates the organization’s data sources (clinical, claims, financial, operational, etc.), and that facilitates quick and easy data sharing. Only with appropriate analytics can an organization identify specific areas of opportunity among strategic areas of focus.Healthcare data analytics is required for any sustainable performance improvement initiative. It forms the foundation of discussion and informs decisions. Yet while healthcare organizations have mountains of clinical, claims, financial, operational, patient experience and other data, most of it is locked away in point solutions built for a specific purpose. Variation in cost can be a good surrogate for quality of care, because higher cost may result from delivery of inefficient or unnecessary services. As the prescribers of care, clinicians are one of the greatest influencers in managing variable cost, which represents direct cost in departments. By focusing on variable cost — looking at the volume of procedures and cost per procedure, in particular — they can identify avoidable cost and begin working with clinicians, using evidence-based practices, to address them.
Step 3: Prioritize Programs using a Combination of Analytics and an Adoption System. Successfully improving clinical outcomes and streamlining operations requires a strong organizational commitment and changes in culture, organizational structure, staff education, and workflow processes, what Health Catalyst calls an adoption system. Consequently, any organization that embarks on this performance improvement journey should first assess its readiness for change. Examples of criteria that are evaluated in an organizational readiness assessment include clinical leadership readiness, data availability, shared vision, and administrative support (e.g., data manager, outcomes analyst availability). A readiness assessment helps the organization determine how ready the teams are to accept change, to estimate what, if any, impact there is on staffing, and the potential impact on front-line caregivers. Understanding the strategic objectives and integrating results from a readiness assessment, along with the analytics, help the organization prioritize which care families (clinical services) to begin with.