Quality Measures and its Relationship with Strategy and Technology

What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get improved and that’s why having Quality Measures is one of the first steps towards improving the process of a healthcare organization. There are several ways that quality can be measured that’s why it is better to narrow it down to the most effective ways that measure the variables that matter the most and represent more accurately the state and health of the organization.

Quality Measures and Informed Strategic Planning

Quality measures are the tools that organizations use to quantify, measure, and keep track of their processes and outcomes and more. The things that can be measured vary from both qualitative variables (such as patient perception) to quantitative variables like finances. Any part of the organizational structure that can be improved on is measure and this is how a healthcare organization works towards achieving it’s quality goals.

As with all things that can be improved on, quality measures itself has seen a lot of advancement in recent times especially with the emergence of big data and advanced data analytics technology. The use of big data means that advanced strategic planning can be carried out which leads to better insights into how the organization is run and how it can be improved. For example, Care managers can analyze check-up results among people in different demographic groups and identify what factors discourage people from taking up treatment.

Quality Measures and Medical Imaging

One if the more advanced technologies present in the healthcare industry is medical imaging. In a typical day, a hospital or healthcare organization goes processes several imaging procedures. From X-rays to MRI and others. The process of analyzing and storing these images can be tedious if done manually and this means it would be more expensive (paid working hours for manpower). It costs a lot of money for radiologists to examine each image individually, while hospitals need to store them for several years.

Using a quality measure to tackle this issue using big data analytics is one of the ways healthcare organizations are using quality measures. With big data analytics, healthcare organizations could change the way images are read and develop algorithms that are able to automatically analyze lots of images (up to thousands) and identify patterns, store them in different groups and categories, and convert the images into forms such as numbers that can help physicians with a diagnosis.

The advancement in medical imaging could be so huge that it could even affect the way radiologists are trained. If the technology simplifies the way images are viewed and stored or even changes it then the way radiologist learn and are trained will have to be adapted. It’s like the marketing industry right now. In the past, marketing was all about digital advertising on cable TV and Billboards but now the advertising landscape has changed to social media advertising and social media influencers.

This has mad schools (at least the ones open to changes) to adjust their marketing and advertising curriculums to cover these new kinds of advertising methods to prepare and equip the new professionals entering the industry with the right skills and skill set.

Quality Measures and Telemedicine

Telemedicine has helped improve quality measures in the healthcare industry in more ways than one. One of the major quality measures is Length-of-stay and in a little bit, I’ll explain how these two connect.

Telemedicine is one of the revolutionary ways that technology is inserting itself into the healthcare industry. Though there is a new wave of telemedicine in the industry and a lot of new buzz around it, telemedicine has actually been in the healthcare industry for about 40 years.

However with the arrival of more advanced audio and video technology (such as online video conferences, smartphones, wireless devices, and wearables etc) it has made telemedicine much more functional and has brought it to the forefront. Telemedicine in the simplest of terms refers to the delivery of remote medical service using technology.

So with telemedicine, a doctor can attend to patients on the other side of the world. Doctors can diagnose, read vitals, monitor patients, interact with and prescribe treatments through video conferencing. In more advanced telemedicine, doctors can perform operations with the use of robots and high-speed real-time data delivery without physically being in the same location as a patient – this is called telesurgery.

Telemedicine provides a plethora of advantages to the healthcare industry and the practice of medicine. For one, individuals in remote areas who have no access to healthcare can, with telemedicine, receive healthcare at a reduced price and with less sacrifice on the part of the doctors. In general, it also improves the quality of service.

Patients can avoid long waiting lines and doctors don’t waste time on unnecessary consultations and paperwork. Telemedicine also improves the availability of care as patients’ state can be monitored and consulted anywhere and anytime. The cost of care usually piles up when you start adding transportation costs of moving doctors around, travel allowances, and the personal cost of the doctors traveling from city to city or country to country.

However, with this new technology, Clinicians and doctors use telemedicine to provide personalized treatment plans and prevent hospitalization or re-admission without having to travel long distances to where their patients are. It also means, fewer patients have to stay in the hospital for long times.

Remember Length-of stay is one of the main quality measures. A reduced length of stay due to patients being able to be monitored remotely means improved quality measures in a healthcare organization.