The New Paradigm Shift in the Healthcare Industry
The healthcare sector is one of the most innovative industries as research constitutes the basis of constant advances in the field, in terms of newly discovered cures and new ways to treat chronic diseases.
The Improvement Foundation was established in Adelaide, in 2006, as a not-for-profit organization that provides expertise in the development and delivery of quality improvement techniques for the primary healthcare sector.
The organization delivers quality improvement training to a number of health services, in order to help them optimize processes and increase their efficiency. The results translate into better patient care.
What’s more, the Improvement Foundation developed a dashboard that tracks the impact of chronic disease treatment on patients. The dashboard fulfills two main objectives.
On one hand, it tracks the effects of the quality improvement initiatives implemented. Goals can be set and progress towards those goals monitored, especially for Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Cardiovascular Disease, Coronary Heart Disease and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
The dashboard allows health services to choose their own goals for specific KPIs. In this manner, it is possible to monitor the extent to which decisions taken in terms of treatment recommended were effective and led to clinical improvements for patients.
On the other hand, the dashboard facilitates comparisons between own initiatives taken and the ones implemented by other health services, at local, state, or national level. The KPIs used show the health service performance benchmarked against the average of more than 800 primary care health services which are also submitting the same quality improvement data to the portal.
Thus, health services can identify areas that need improvement and can put more effort towards reaching higher levels of performance. Also, it is a mean to share with others the benefits of some treatments or, on the contrary – the failures, and come up with recommended actions meant to prevent them from happening in other cases.
The electronic dashboard can be accessed from the Foundation’s quality improvement portal by any organization that provides services involved in the quality improvement programs offered by the Foundation.
Mr Colin Frick, Chief Executive Officer of the Improvement Foundation, claims that:
“maintaining the focus on quality improvement by healthcare services has never been more important. This platform gives healthcare professionals access to powerful analytics that empower them to take more decisive action by providing the visibility needed to evaluate what is and isn’t working in their health service.”
Another initiative of the Improvement Foundation is the development of the Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance System, a centralized place where data from citizens about adverse reactions to flu vaccinations is constantly gathering.
How does this system work? A web portal was developed to store data. How is data gathered? Patients who opt-in receive a message 24 hours after they were vaccinated, and they simply have to answer with “yes’ or “no” to whether they have experienced any adverse reaction.
A positive answer triggers a second message, with a link to an online questionnaire, meant to evaluate the severity of the reaction. If needed, the patient will be directly followed up by a health professional.
In 2014, this idea won a South Australian iAward in the health category and it was ranked among the first four 2014 innovations by the Australian Doctor Magazine.
This is one more proof that technology advancements lead the way to performance and future development in the healthcare industry. The future is about data and technology and the healthcare sector is no exception!