You won't find too many physicians who will debate that point anymore. According to results of the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2011, senior healthcare executives ranked quality and patient safety among their top three priorities. But it's still difficult to gather the large amounts of information necessary for best practices to be developed. At least it has been.
Paul Grundy, MD, is hoping that will change quickly. He leads a massive effort by his employer, IBM, and the Premier Healthcare Alliance, to integrate healthcare data from hospital and non-hospital care sites to measure performance and improve population health.
Grundy, who is IBM's director of health care transformation, says the effort will involve more than 2,400 hospitals and thousands of other sites of care (physician practices, outpatient clinics, etc.) Those participants will share their data about outcomes to gain insight, measure performance and improve population health. The project, they say, will support hospitals, doctors and other health providers in working together to enhance patient safety while reducing the overuse of procedures, readmissions, unnecessary ER visits and hospital-acquired conditions.
"We're moving to a place where we'll have data—and actionable information--for the first time," he says. "This is beginning to help build the tools and solutions to make use of that data."
The key, though, outside of the data, is physician direction and accountability, he says. In addition to the data component, the effort is meant to provide this information to physicians so that they set standards for themselves by which they will be held accountable. Contrast that with the old-time utilization reviews that HMOs used to employ and it's a quantum leap forward.
Regarding the purchase or use of clinical technology, healthcare leaders rated high quality care and physician alignment as their top priorities, according to the 2011 HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey.
By using cloud computing, the system is aimed at providing physicians clinical decision support, analytics, data, and a quickly accessible dashboard, so that they have much more information about the patient.