Worldwide multiple factors have caused the health care industry to become the diverse and complicated industry it is today. In the United States, the health care system is troubled by skyrocketing costs. In turn, the lack of affordability threatens the health, wellness and productivity for far too many. There are three keys to delivering an efficient and effective healthcare delivery process.
Today, regulations, insurance restrictions and the interaction between clinician and patient drive treatment direction. The importance of “health care” demands little margin for error. Achieving complete and accurate medical outcomes requires an efficient and effective healthcare delivery process.
The accelerating growth of medical knowledge cultivates the emphasis to improve the efficiency and effectiveness in the healthcare delivery process. Reducing unnecessary costs can provide hospitals and medical practices with the additional cash flow needed to re-invest in their people and or obtain new tools like the latest diagnostic technology. With all of the cost demands resulting in time pressures, what can healthcare professionals do to facilitate efficient and effective healthcare delivery process?
The first key to improving efficiency and effectiveness in healthcare delivery is defining and examining core, supporting and driving processes. When a team comes together with the intention of documenting strategic direction and associated workflow processes, process consultants can assist the team with techniques on how to better align expectations, reduce unnecessary re-work and unnecessary wait time, and make more effective use tools and technology. Clearly, this results in developing higher value for the clinicians and the patients because we focus our efforts on necessary and valuable activities.
Another key is leveraging tools and technology. Each year millions of dollars are spent on Electronic Medical Record systems and Integrated Healthcare Management systems. These technologies offer tools to manage and share healthcare data with high-speed computer networks and mobile devices to ensure favorable treatment outcomes and improve care delivery on a case-by-case basis. More extensive instrumentation, interconnectivity, and intelligence in the management of medical data and information can improve the efficacy of examination, diagnosis, and treatment at the point of care. The fact that these tools and techniques are being used within the healthcare industry is great for the ultimate success of the industry; however, few businesses have access to these tools due to cost and resistance to change.
The third and most important key is understanding the appetite of the current culture for change. Otherwise, all of the money and effort spent on a new process or new technology will be wasted. Many tools exist to understand leadership styles, communication and learning preferences. Integrating human resource values such as involving folks in decisions that impact them, requires clinical leadership to integrate the voice of the employees within leadership strategies. Other organizational driving and constraining forces must also be assessed. Cultural change tools lead us to apply the appropriate communication, coaching, training and measurement techniques to lead and reinforce necessary change.
Given the number and diversity of participants as well as the complexity of healthcare delivery process, implementing these keys uncovers the need for an objective party to initiate, facilitate, and integrate a sustainable efficient and effective healthcare delivery process. For the healthcare industry, the time to act is now. Healthcare organizations that move aggressively to implement the process improvements, appropriate tools and technologies and cultural change techniques will achieve cost-effective results and improve interactions with their staff and health outcomes for the care of their patients.
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