FierceHealthcare: 8 Ways Technology Plays a Vital Role in Value-Based Healthcare

By Chris Hermann

The U.S. healthcare system’s transition from fee-for-service to value-based payments has been a massive change for nearly all healthcare organizations. This has led many hospitals to shut their doors and others to seek partnerships with larger healthcare organizations in order to survive. At the same time, clinician shortages and burnout add additional stress and financial burdens to organizations already struggling.

Hospitals and other facilities are increasingly seeking creative solutions that will allow them to reduce costs, provide better patient care, improve workflow efficiency and retain physicians and nurses. Technology and data can play a big role in helping healthcare organizations overcome the challenges of moving from a volume to value mindset and holding onto staff members.

Most hospitals today don’t have insight into what’s happening at the bedside because they’re missing the critical data around those visits. Clinical intervention data has been invisible in the past but thanks to today’s Internet of Things (IoT), this data is now available. When captured and used properly, clinical intervention data can reduce costs and drive profits, increase patient satisfaction, improve workflows and efficiencies, and positively impact staff retention. Here’s what’s possible:

  1. Improve the patient experience by measuring provider visits. Do you know how often clinicians in your hospital visit patients under their care? Do you know which factors cause patients to get checked on less frequently? Does the day of the week or the time of day matter? This data is now available so leadership can view patterns in checking on patients…or failing to do so.
  • Reduce falls by measuring nurse rounding. Many organizations have policies related to how frequently providers are supposed to interact with patients. It’s one thing to make policies, but can you really tell if your nurses are checking on each patient once per hour? Previously, this was unknown, but now managers can see how regularly patients are being cared for, especially those that present a fall risk.
  • Increase patient satisfaction of those in isolation. According to our data, on average, typical patients are visited by clinicians 3.3 times more often than those in isolation, and 4.2 times more often than patients suffering from C. diff. Hospitals can now view this data for their facility and take steps to ensure that the sickest patients are getting the care they need, ultimately leading to higher satisfaction.
  • Address shift fatigue. We have found a predictable pattern throughout a shift related to the frequency with which providers check on their patients. For example, during day shifts, there’s a noticeable dip between noon and 4:00 pm. With this data in hand, healthcare organizations can address shift fatigue issues.
  • Decrease the cost of treating providers through exposure tracking. When a patient tests positive for TB or another highly contagious organism after an extended hospitalization, the standard has been to prophylactically treat every provider on that unit. Now, with clinical intervention data, hospitals can see which providers were in that patient’s room, and how often, drastically reducing the number of healthcare workers that need to be treated or tested.
  • Reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by increasing hand hygiene. Technology can measure whether or not clinicians are cleaning their hands every time they enter or exit a patient’s room, and some solutions can remind them to sanitize when they forget. This can reduce HAIs by an average of over 66 percent, saving the typical hospital millions of dollars a year.
  • Identify infection sources with contact tracing. If HAIs start to spread, healthcare organizations need to act fast. IOT data can help identify whether the patient acquired the infection at the hospital or in the community prior to admittance. Perhaps more importantly, it can provide insight into why the infections are spreading so healthcare organizations can roll-out targeted interventions to stop the problem.
  • Improve workflow efficiencies by solving previously unseen bottlenecks. When hospital leadership is able to analyze clinical intervention data, outliers can be easily identified to suggest workflow improvements that can make the entire organization run more smoothly.

During these challenging times for healthcare organizations, technology can offer innovative ways to reduce costs, improve efficiency and retain staff. There’s no longer a reason to remain in the dark on what’s happening hour by hour, clinician by clinician and patient room by patient room.

To read the original article in Fierce Healthcare, click here.

Chris Hermann, Founder and CEO of Clean Hands-Safe Hands, has a PhD in Bioengineering, an MS in Mechanical Engineering, and a BS in Biomedical Engineering with High Honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and an MD from Emory School of Medicine.

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