How Better Data Can Tell a Better Patient Story

By Association of periOperative Registered Nurses; a HIMSS Non-Profit Partner and National Health IT Week Partner

During National Health IT Week, champions from across the industry are uniting to share their voices on how health IT is catalyzing change in U.S. healthcare. The following post from a National Health IT Week Partner is one of the many perspectives of how information and technology is transforming health in America.

Today’s operating rooms (ORs) must focus on how healthcare data is documented, collected and then used by others to more accurately build patients’ stories. However, using your data to tell a better patient story can be a complex and timely process.

Too often different members of a perioperative team and other perioperative stakeholders understand different aspects of the data and may even be working with different electronic data systems. The more these disparate teams and individuals work together, the better a patient story can be told and the better the patient outcome.

Doing More With Less

Pulling data together to achieve true performance improvement is possible and it works best when executives, business leaders and nurses work together, according to Susan Bakewell, MS, RN-BC, Association of periOperative Registered Nurses’ (AORN) director of education and professional development.

“Today, perioperative leaders are being asked to do more with less and often leaders turn to administrators, vendors and consultants to harness their data for them,” Bakewell said. “However, nurses have the power to gain the practical skills needed to identify, plan and implement the analytics initiatives that will provide the greatest value for them, not only in the short term but also down the road.”

One of the most valuable areas for using analytics is being able to harness data to identify areas for process improvement in many different areas of perioperative practice, Bakewell noted, adding that it is equally important for nurse leaders to be able to present these data to their frontline and to the executive team.

From Preop to Discharge

Using data to build solid benchmarking and analytics, facilities can better understand the patient experience, and compare and identify which clinical practices and interventions fit a specific patient’s needs.

Standardizing the perioperative documentation in your electronic health record can help reduce costly data incongruities and enable more accurate analyses to tell a more accurate patient story from preop to discharge. Moreover, consistent patient data throughout the care continuum provides the basis for better care decisions – and outcomes.

“Having the right structured perioperative data allows you to gather information and analyze that data for research and performance measurement on the impact of nursing quality on patient outcomes,” shared Janice Kelly, MS, RN-BC, president, AORN Syntegrity®.

Safer Patients, Lower Costs

“In addition to the effect on nursing quality and patient outcomes, incomplete or inaccurate data can also lead to poor patient care generating legal fees, inaccurate quality reporting, and lost revenue and reimbursements,” added Kelly.

Gathering accurate healthcare data also allows OR teams to identify specific areas for improvement. Being able to track areas to focus on will enable your team to find the solutions that will not only make your patient’s safer but your entire facility more profitable. In addition, leveraging your data will help prepare your team for its next survey by knowing what areas are in need of improvement.

Tips to Use Data to Tell a Better Patient Story

To better document, collect and use healthcare data to document perioperative performance improvement leading to better patient outcomes, Bakewell said nurses must master the fundamentals. These include:

  • Defining key perioperative performance measure data.
  • Identifying the data lifecycle in the perioperative environment and the common issues with these data that can create problems.
  • Understanding the various approaches and tools currently in practice to support analytics in general and specifically for perioperative care.
  • Decoding the technical and financial language perioperative team members need to use to collaborate with colleagues in applying data analytics.
  • Articulating current challenges, such as performance issues, and how data can be used to address these challenges.

“The key to truly understanding healthcare data analytics in a way that helps tell a better patient story, from preop to discharge, comes back to being able to speak the same language and collaborate for a shared goal,” Bakewell said.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

National Health IT Week | October 8-12

Healthcare Transformation | Access to Care | Economic Opportunity | Healthy Communities

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