Why Monitoring Outcomes Is Essential To Growing Your Health Service

Running a successful health service is by no means easy. At Wecudos, we work alongside businesses ranging from independent practitioners all the way to multi-national private enterprises. Although vastly different operationally, there are particular common problem areas and in this post, we shall explore that of data collection.

To run a truly client-centric business, it’s so important to focus on collecting key parameters that directly impact the care you are providing. How else are you going to be able to measure the success rates of your practises and the individual performances of the people providing that service?

 

Every day patients, doctors, providers, and other data collection organisations are collecting and storing healthcare data. A Harvard Business Review (HBR) article titled How Analytics Can Guide Patient Care and Health Policy provides evidence that the, “immediate analysis of big data can illuminate healthcare trends, track diseases, and help to determine what treatments are most effective.” The security of patient data is also essential in order to ensure data is accurate and available to track healthcare trends, as well as protect the patient’s privacy.

The best clinics don’t just focus on the now, but also on the future of their clinics as well as the retention and satisfaction of their clients/ patients. It’s easy to think, as a clinic or as a clinician, that your own ‘outcome’ is enough to show how effective your treatment/ intervention is; but you are not putting yourself in your client’s shoes. What about their own experience, satisfaction and perceived outcomes to your intervention?

As health professionals and health care providers we are always setting our standards based on our own perception of what ‘best outcomes’ are. But did you know that word of mouth referrals is the biggest source of new business for any clinic? To this end, you need to adopt a more client focused strategy, considering their experience in a holistic manner, their perception and expectations of ‘best outcomes’ and their satisfaction levels. We all know Google reviews play a huge role in instilling trust and authority in a clinic, but this comes from your clients; not you.

 

So why are we mainly focusing on our own perception of ‘best outcomes’ when really, this should be defined by your clients. As health professionals and providers, we like to think we are doing the best for them but this brings with it a heap of assumptions.

HealthIT.gov talks about the importance of patient-generated health data (PGHD). The PGHD are health-related data created, recorded, or gathered by or from patients to help address a health concern including, but are not limited to:

  • Health history
  • Treatment history
  • Symptoms
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Outcomes

The use of PGHD supplements existing clinical data, filling in gaps in information and providing a more comprehensive picture of ongoing patient health. PGHD can:

  • Provide important information about how patients are doing between medical visits.
  • Gather information on an ongoing basis, rather than only at one point in time.
  • Provide information relevant to preventive and chronic care management.

The use of PGHD offers an opportunity to capture needed information for use during care, with potential cost savings and improvements in quality, care coordination, and patient safety.

One way of collecting PGHD is through secure communication platforms such as SMS and WhatsApp (which offers end-to-end encryption). Gone are the days of paper feedback forms and phone calls which take up time and resources- we are in the age of automation, data tracking and analytics. As such, Wecudos has developed technology to allow health providers to automate and seamlessly collect patient-generated health data without compromising on delivering personalised care.

In one survey, patients indicated they are becoming more willing to share health data if it is for a good reason. The good reason patients search for is trust. Trust is the connection for patients to believe the data is going to help others (and potentially themselves), as well as the secure and private distribution of this information.

A carefully developed data strategy will help achieve both precision medicine (helping to tailor treatments to patients) and the creation of learning health systems (helping to predict outcomes and identifying specific areas for improvement). Ideally, every decision a provider makes about a patient should be informed by the data of both that specific patient and other similar patients. In a learning health system, retrospective data improves future choices.

In addition, we should think of healthcare like any other business but without the ‘sales’ aspect. Implement data tracking and deliver a service your clients benefit from and have a great experience with and you will retain them, get them to rave about your service and glean insightful data to help you improve.

The take-home message is that we should all be tracking the data that makes the biggest impact to our client’s outcomes, not just our own perceived best outcomes. In doing so, we can ensure optimal patient satisfaction & outcomes which in turn equates to huge benefits to your practice.