Focused, team-based standardization methods drove dramatic increases in treatment compliance.
Key Success Factors:
- The JOC platform has allowed open communication between the ED Providers, hospitalists, and nursing leaders. Presenting the challenging situations as case reviews that were constructive and considerate of the needs of all team members was especially helpful in refining processes.
- A strong, experienced clinical partner at the table with deep capabilities in best practices, data, systems, and a mechanism for prompt provider feedback was critical in implementing and sustaining change.
- Based on the decline in sepsis mortality rate, the JOC has established itself as the “go-to” forum for problem solving and standardization efforts at Hospital X.
- Initial results were dramatic. But, more importantly, results continue. They are sustained because the hospital made the investment in data, feedback, systems, and clinical partnerships often required for long-term sustainability.
- Hospital X intends to maximize the value of a team-based approach and a clinical partnership. The JOC at Hospital X provided an excellent test case for how emergency medicine and hospital medicine can work together to improve patient care – and use data to engage providers, resulting in life-saving measures for their patients.
The Winning Ticket: Strong Clinical Partnerships
A strong clinical partnership with your provider groups involves many key characteristics, including clinical leaders who:
- Work with you to understand your goals, the needs of your patients, and your community;
- Are personally aligned with these goals and have well-managed incentives to help you meet them;
- Act as part of the fabric of your medical staff and your organizational culture;
- Have teams, systems, and processes surrounding them to support and empower necessary transformation, capable of driving from within your organization.
Physician leaders don’t always possess an adequate range of skills and attributes to consistently succeed in a demanding clinical leadership role. Understandably, their priority is practicing medicine and taking care of patients. Therefore, the key is to identify, recruit, orient, and support physician leaders with certain critical attributes (empathy, emotional intelligence, business acumen, and interpersonal communications skills) and combine that with effective leadership training, team-based support, and performance feedback so they can succeed. Absent a clinical leader and a team that empowers them, many efforts will falter.
The essential role of effective, prompt, meaningful data cannot be understated. In order to hardwire excellent, standardized performance in day-to-day clinical practice, an engaged physician leader and team must be armed with up-to-date data and performance metrics aligned with your goals and supported by scalable systems. Strong clinical partnerships make this happen. When it does, an incredibly successful platform for today’s health care executives results.
To succeed in health care, problematic variations in patient care must be eliminated. To succeed with our patients, we must deliver personalized care that recognizes individuality and uniqueness. Extremes in either direction risk poor outcomes, the sustainability of the system itself, or both.
Standardization is increasingly fundamental for health care – and isn’t going away. Unacceptable variations in care create risk for patients and providers, increase costs, decrease value, and may risk your competitiveness or economic viability. Many articles, publications and seminars have advocated for standardization in recent years. However, hospitals and health systems still struggle to achieve and sustain successful standardization programs. Our approach must change.
Where prior solutions have failed, new solutions must be employed. Standardization won’t work without meaningful data flowing promptly to the right parties. It won’t work without the right teamwork and the right partners. It won’t last without scalable systems that engage providers. And, it won’t work without a balance of contributions from physicians, hospital executives, patients, nurses, and payors. Organizational leaders must develop and communicate a clear, compelling vision that ties standardization to key objectives. Leaders must ensure that they have the right team, the right partners, the right data, and the right platform to deliver timely feedback and a well-coordinated management process that works.
Fortunately, new advances and proven applications of technology, data, and analytics deliver provider-friendly opportunities, and can change the approach to standardization in ways that we haven’t been able to in the past. Pairing timely provider feedback and effective management with actionable data and incisive analytics gives hospitals a significant head start on both current and long-term performance. We must re-think standardization if we are to succeed. With the right team, the right vision, and the right partners, there is significant opportunity for cost-effective, standardized and personalized care.