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Health System Management • January 2017

16 WWW.HEALTHSYSTEMMGMT.COM Over the years, as the demand for emergency healthcare services has increased, many emergency departments have been left overcrowded and struggling to effectively manage the patient throughput process. Under mounting pressure to operate more efficiently, reduce costs and improve the quality of patient care, many healthcare organizations are turning to data-driven approaches to optimize their emergency department (ED) performance. “Data-driven decisions in the emergency department are really the cornerstone of being able to manage and improve the way you’re going to run your department,” said Mark Feinberg, Managing Partner, Philips Blue Jay Consulting. His firm provides consulting to healthcare organizations to help them deliver high-quality care and improve their financial and operational performance in the ED, utilizing data analytics to improve processes BY KIRSTEN MALENKE Malenke is on staff at ADVANCE. Contact: kmalenke@advanceweb.com and outcomes. “Without accurate data,” Feinberg said, “everything that you’re trying to manage is subjective and anecdotal, so you really need meaningful data in order to make good decisions.” Many hospitals also struggle with transitioning from operating as a volume-based to a value-based business, and their process for doing so is a hot topic. However, whether an organization is volume-based or value-based, the goal of both types is to greet patients quickly, treat them effectively, utilize the resources they have most efficiently, provide the best possible care, and then either discharge or admit that patient as quickly as possible — without wasting any resources in the process. ASSEMBLING MEANINGFUL DATA To optimize the ED, it’s necessary for hospitals to have access to meaningful performance data. Typically, EDs access THINKSTOCK data through their electronic medical record (EMR) system — and some of these systems are better at providing information than others, Feinberg said. More than 1,000 hospitals subscribe to outside groups, such as the Emergency Department Benchmarking Alliance, which collect data on hospital and provider group performance that collectively represent ED operational performance. “Many organizations rely on retrospective data,” Feinberg said. “While that may not be ideal, it may be the only resource they have. Near-real-time or real-time data is much more relevant and can assist a team with both the decision to make the change, but also to monitor the effectiveness of the change.” Information optimization also requires standard metric definitions. A number of national organizations — such as the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Emergency Nurses Association — have attempted to standardize the PRIVACY/SECURITY HEALTH SYSTEM MANAGEMENT | JANUARY | 2017 Data-Driven Decision Making How employing a data-driven approach can lead to emergency department optimization THINKSTOCK


Health System Management • January 2017
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