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Written by: Bob Habasevich, PT on Friday, March 18, 2011 Posted in: Inpatient Rehab

This is the first of a two part series on performance management and clinical intelligence.  Today, my discussion will focus on the process of clinical performance management.

Performance management has been applied to various parts of business for a long time, mostly when it comes to manufacturing, logistics and product development. Applying these practices to healthcare is now understood to provide similar benefit as executives and clinical managers rely on quantitative analysis to improve outcomes and operational efficiencies.

Clinical performance management is the process of measuring progress toward achieving key outcomes and objectives in order to optimize clinician, team or organizational performance. A performance-focused healthcare organization is one that has a set of measurable performance standards, a clear focus on outcomes and identifiable lines of accountability; all of which are important if a healthcare organization wants to demonstrate its value.

Information about the status of the clinical process is required to influence its performance. This information and its use is clinical intelligence (CI). CI requires three prerequisites to manage clinical performance: data (information), analytics (disciplined scrutiny and judgment) and metrics (measures.) Each is related to the other, with data being the foundation for the other two. You cannot define the data and analytics you need without metrics; and the metrics are meaningless without data and analytics. Each is dependent upon the other to demonstrate management value.

Success depends upon focus and execution. The first (focus) is the understanding of provider or hospital priorities, expectations and strategic goal objectives. Once this is understood, the selection of metrics is necessary to determine what data will be needed in regards to the patient, payor, hospital and the community served. The second (execution) is the ability to connect what the hospital is trying to achieve with the actual work that itu2019s performing. Making this connection requires data and analytics.

The use of data and the ability to identify actionable requirements to achieve a purpose is the function of analytics. Analytics are no longer the domain of a few data geeks. They are a critical competency for healthcare professionals as hospitals attempt to deal with payment constraints, legislated and regulatory requirements and competition. Providers who embrace data, analytics and metrics will be in the best position to improve clinical performance and optimize patient care value.

In part two of my series, I will continue my discussion and focus on the data collection and management.

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