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Battelle Health & Analytics Newsletter

Battelle Health & Analytics Newsletter

Connecting Healthcare Quality Indicators to Decision Making

Hospital administrators, clinicians and insurers have access to more data than ever before. But is the data really making a difference in healthcare quality? 

Hospitals and healthcare providers record, track and monitor data on dozens of individual healthcare quality indicators; even small facilities can collect thousands of data points in a single day. These indicators include measures of patient safety, adverse events and health outcomes, along with measures of healthcare processes and systems. 

Advances in health IT have made it easier than ever to collect, record and analyze all this data. At the same time, market forces are pushing hospitals and healthcare providers to expand and standardize their data collection. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires hospitals to report key measures such as adverse events and hospital readmissions in order to qualify for reimbursement. 

These changes have resulted in a treasure trove of data points that hospitals could use to make quality improvement decisions. However, data collection and reporting is not always effectively connected to decision making by hospital administrators, quality managers and individual doctors and nurses. To make that happen, all of this quality indicator data must first be transformed into clear, understandable information and actionable next steps. 

Data-driven healthcare has the potential to improve the healthcare system in two important ways. Done right, it can: 

  • Help hospitals make decisions that improve patient outcomes

  • Find inefficiencies and reduce healthcare costs

However, to get there, data cannot merely be collected. It must actually be used. Data that is usable to drive effective decisions shares four essential qualities. It must be:  

  • Actionable

  • Timely

  • Accessible

  • Comparable

When data meets these criteria, hospitals and healthcare providers can answer critical questions such as:

  • How have different metrics of patient safety and quality changed over time? 

  • How do trends compare to appropriately selected peers? 

  • Are the changes observed statistically significant and meaningful? 

  • Have quality improvement initiatives resulted in improved outcomes such as reduced morbidity and mortality, cost savings, reduced days of care or reduced adverse events? 

Analytical tools such as Battelle WayFinder Q.I. Dashboard can help hospitals better use and understand the data they are already collecting. These tools help hospitals and healthcare providers make better decisions that lead to better outcomes for patients, payers and providers.

Download the full white paper here