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Written by: Bob Habasevich, PT on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 Posted in: Inpatient Rehab

Why do automotive companies compete in racing events that cost millions of dollars annually and add expense to every car sold?  Competition brings gratification, reward and recognition for being the best in a head-to-head fight to the finish line.  But competition also finely hones the automaker’s skills and talents with key knowledge and experience required to produce the best automobile.  This knowledge eventually benefits every automaker’s performance even if they do not choose to race.  Industry improvement occurs through imitation and replication of success factors born out of competitive results.

Five years ago Sister Mary Jean Ryan, CEO of SSM Healthcare, set the standard for healthcare organization quality and was recognized by having been awarded the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award for performance excellence in health care.  Since then healthcare leaders have looked to the Baldridge process as a means to increase organizational effectiveness rather than organization recognition.  These best practices underscore the four key areas that organizations focus upon to manage their business and achieve organizational goals returning high value for all stakeholders. They are leadership, people, measurement andprocesses. Organizations facing the challenge of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of patient care service delivery can look to the winners of the Baldridge competition for comparison to organizations known to be the best.

Value in patient care has come to represent the idea and activities associated with getting the best care at the best price. The evolving healthcare economy and Accountable Care initiatives impose greater demands upon delivery organizations to demonstrate the value of services provided. To do so providers must assess their effectiveness in the key areas, use the essential best practices and plan to significantly improve results. Taken in context and applied to healthcare, optimizing value translates to improving performance in patient care delivery.

Performance improvement in healthcare is a disruptive technology and faces resistive inertia of the institutional status quo and human behaviors. Traditional approaches of listening to the “voice of the customer” and providing them what they want will only partially fill the paradigm for the transformational change to value-based care delivery. Performance improvement, innovation and leadership will be accelerated by the evidence provided by the success of others when advancing disruptive technologies to optimize value of patient care.

The disruptive technology comes in the form of evidence-based management which relies upon monitoring and measuring key areas of systems and clinical process to provide insight to variance from the expected. The cultural impact of metric driven management affects organizations at all levels.  Five years of Baldridge winners have been analyzed to identify what distinguished them from others, common to this elite group has been:

– an “organizational” approach to excellence and not focusing on a narrow aspects of the business;

– the ability and discipline to identify and apply the “best practices” that other organizations have used successfully in their path to organizational excellence;

– a system wide implementation of best practices to optimize the results that support excellence;

– and the continuous management and focus upon the key areas as most significant for achieving the type of results that support the transition from good to great.

The transformation of healthcare will not occur without pain and risks along the way. Leaders need be prepared with new tools and intelligence to manage these transitions. Performance management and best practices are evolving based upon measurement and data providing evidence to support operational decisions.  Now more than ever, optimizing value requires greater insight and intelligence capabilities even if you choose not to race.

See Mediware’s tools to help optimize the value of patient care.

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