By Susan Noack
Technology today helps hospitals, doctors and nurses alike improve how they care for patients and makes it easier to focus on the quality of care patients receive. New device monitoring, sensors, electronic medical records ….they all help caregivers in their daily routines by providing better information.
However, let’s be clear: technology alone does not improve quality. It is the people involved in the care processes that have the most significant impact. In order to improve quality, we need the type of consistent and objective data that can become the key driver behind helping entire health care teams collaborate, improve processes and make faster decisions. Without data, you have no way to measure, monitor, and improve.
We’re working with many hospitals truly focused on improving how they treat patients, helping people get well quicker while reducing costs. But in order to do that, hospitals must first be able to give their people better information – delivering new insights into their data.
For example, a hospital trying to reduce the number of central line infections may try to get an accurate view of the problem by looking at all their data: Which patients are getting infections? When are infection rates higher? Which units and shifts are involved? Are there any adjunct procedures linked to the problem? By putting a process in place to capture data and agree that it is accurate, and looking at the data sideways, crossways and upside down through analytics, doctors and nurses can begin to agree upon what actions to take to solve the problem. That’s what health analytics is all about.
As health care becomes even more complex, the best hospitals are determining how they can tap all their information and look deep into it to better understand how to make care more effective, how to keep patients healthy and spot critical trends before they become problems.
Susan Noack is Global Industry Director Healthcare for IBM Cognos