Why Do Processes Matter When It Comes to Outcomes Data?
Hopefully anyone collecting outcomes data is doing it for a specific reason. I can think of a wide array of reasons that fall into two categories: patient specific data and group aggregated data.
The concept of patient specific data has been around for ages. The thee main reasons for collecting outcomes data on the patient sitting in front of you: 1) to blend science into the decision-making process, 2) to alter your communication style/message to meet their need and 3) to hone in on determining when a patient is ready for discharge.
The concept of group aggregated data is fairly new. Risk-adjusted data creates a more truthful picture of your clinical performance. I can think of a wide array of clinician specific reasons for knowing clinical outcomes. First and foremost, to be in alignment with evidence based practice: risk-adjusted aggregated data defines your clinical expertise/experience. You can also use your aggregated data in a variety of personal ways: 1) to self-reflect about your clinical experience, 2) to immediately know your clinical strengths and weaknesses, 3) to determine where professional growth needs to occur, 4) to measure changes in professional growth and 5) to determine your national ranking.
Risk-adjusted aggregated data provides an additional opportunity at a business level. The data provides insight in your clinicians' level of performance. You immediately know your experts and can harness their expertise and knowledge to strengthen your team. The data simplifies decisions on what continuing education is needed to enhance your team's skills. Having a third party overseeing your data increases trust when you market your bright spots or negotiate contracts based on performance. In new contract negotiations based on performance, you will receive rewards or incentives from a payer.
Outcomes data begins as a personal representation of your clinical work. It's one of the only things that defines your work. The best of the best mesh many of the reasons above to create a fabulous work in progress: their clinical expertise portfolio. This portfolio doesn't magically happen. Unfortunately, there currently isn't a way for your clinical expertise to be automatically objectified and quantified.
This is where the importance of processes comes into play. If you want your clinical expertise portfolio to be as complete as possible, processes need to be in place to ensure you are capturing data at key touch points. The relevant touch points are at the initiation of services and, at bare minimum, within 7 days prior to the end of an episode of care. If you use FOTO and include the satisfaction survey as part of a status summary, you not only gain the science aspect of the change occurring since the initiation of services, but you will also have relevant input from your patient as to how well you are communicating and connecting with your patient.
If you discharge a patient from an episode of care without capturing a status summary, you have no outcomes data. How often does that sort of thing happen? How often are you missing a chance to build your clinical expertise portfolio? How often are you missing a chance to use your outcomes data for a wide array of things?
You probably have no idea how often you are losing outcomes data. The FOTO team built a gauge to help you measure just how well you are doing with your processes to capture outcomes data.
On May 14th you have an opportunity to learn how FOTO has built metrics into the system to help you automatically know if your processes are adequate at capturing outcomes data.