Health Leadership & Data Management Roundup: Transforming Healthcare


Modern healthcare is increasingly data-driven — each patient generates a mountain of data, as does each service provider and the organization as a whole. Making sense of that data and using it productively will be a major success factor in the continuing evolution of health systems.

Health leaders will be increasingly tasked to use data to guide their organizations to a more collaborative, more communicative, more patient-driven model. This month’s roundup focuses on the central challenges and opportunities health leaders face as they strategically shape the future of healthcare.

 1. Just 3% of Emergency Room Visits May Be Truly Avoidable, Study Suggests

Unnecessary use of emergency facilities is a hot-button issue for providers and insurers alike. Conventional wisdom holds that a substantial number of visits could be better handled by doctor or urgent care visits, and that controlling unnecessary ER usage is crucial for controlling costs.

A mammoth new study of data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey suggests otherwise. The data includes more than 115,000 records and 424 million emergency department visits. Results show that only 3.3% were truly avoidable — that is, not requiring diagnostic tests, screenings, procedures or medications. These findings suggest that policing ER utilization may not be a productive avenue for changing the way patients receive care.

2. 5 Ways a Health Center Tackled Physician Turnover

Part of providing a consistent patient experience is avoiding a “revolving door” of physicians. It’s hard for patients to develop trust and rapport within a health system if their providers are constantly leaving and being replaced.

The University Muslim Medical Association Community Clinic in Los Angeles had a 25% annual turnover rate — high enough for patients to notice and voice their concerns. This article details how the clinic created an initiative to create a sustainable culture, investing in the workforce and infrastructure to keep staff engaged. The initiative got results: for 2016-2017, the clinic reduced its turnover rate to zero.

3. Four Ways to Continue the Healthcare Transformation

Health systems have invested billions of dollars in IT infrastructure and software — now it’s up to leadership to make sure these investments generate value for providers and patients. This article touches on four key aspects of realizing that return on investment: Data governance strategy, data management capability, analytics, and strategic technology integration.

4. Health Care Providers Can Use Design Thinking to Improve Patient Experiences

The patient experience doesn’t start when the patient arrives at a facility, and it doesn’t end once they leave the premises. To help control costs, achieve better outcomes, and improve patient experience, it’s vital for health systems to consider the broader context in which patients need and pursue care.

This article argues in favor of “design thinking” — a problem-solving approach that seeks to empathize with the end user, and continually test and refine process and products to improve the end user’s experience. By improving communication with patients and actively practicing empathy, health systems can address more patient challenges and ultimately create a more positive experience. The authors believe design thinking can help reduce missed appointments, streamline operations, and more.

The future of healthcare is data-led and centered on the patient experience. It’s up to health leaders to help their organizations to adopt to this new paradigm by promoting strategic thinking about data management, and ensuring that empathy for the patient as a person helps drive decision making.

Learn how Change Healthcare can help with consulting, data management, workflow intelligence, and more: Contact us today.

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