When anyone utilizes the health care system, the ultimate hope is to come out better than when they entered. Outcome-based health care takes a look at and measures what happens with patients and follows them to find out if they had to be readmitted at some point or if other issues crept up after they sought initial care. So, we need to figure out what is involved and what it takes for a health care organization to use outcome-based processes and measure.
A solid definition of outcome-based health care states that it uses evidence-based decision making to care for patients with the best outcome in mind. What medical professionals are looking at include:
- Achieving similar results as other patients with same issues
- Using best-practices from accepted guidelines or standards
- Delivering the right care, at the right time
- Monitoring the quality and efficiency so as to have the best outcome
What this breaks down to is that health care organizations work to provide the necessary tools and environments to help the medical professionals do all they can in their services. Initially, quality of care and reimbursements were the main focuses when it came to outcomes, however, due to more requirements when it comes to reporting and less available with reimbursements, more hospitals and facilities have added cost cutting. As you may well know, the larger an organization is, the more tendency there is for wasteful spending. Plus, the added fact that health care costs are on the rise almost every year, there is a need to be vigilant and yet not sacrifice when it comes to patient care.
The most ideal prospect and what many organizations are working towards implementing is a single point of contact person for patient care. Instead of having to coordinate their own care, a patient would be in contact with one person who would be able to answer any questions, set up different appointments with specialists or other medical facilities, and follow up with any medications, therapy or any further details that may be lost or forgotten if the patient was left on their own. This concept is very different and some patients wouldn’t require this kind of assistance, but more often than not, there are patients that feel overwhelmed and lost when dealing with so many new constraints in the lives. Even a little bit of additional help can improve the odds that the outcome for the patient will be more long lasting and positive.
The outcome-based health care perspective does focus on each patient and their individual needs, however, the greater emphasis looks at patients with severe and long-term illnesses and diseases due to the time, energy and resources that are dedicated to help someone’s standard of living. It isn’t just someone at the end of their life that is in need of dignity and maybe pain management, but it extends to someone who has gone through hip replacement or cancer treatment. When there are many different departments involved in the care of a patient and many long-term needs that have to be addressed, milestones and outcomes are very important. Putting all of this together creates more of a personalized care for the patient, which leads to the better outcome-based health care that everyone is looking for.
Due to the fact that more information is being collected and watched, and that more patients are requiring care because they are living longer, the health care industry has had to look at data differently, and treat it as an asset instead of something that just sits and collects dust. Obviously, nowadays patient’s records are not kept on the shelf, but if an organization just stores its data, it might as well be kept up on shelves doing nobody any good. Data mining with big data has turned everything on its head; the information has to be collected and kept, and there are patterns that can be uncovered to aid in patient care along with process flow and control. When a health care organization utilize the data that comes in, they work toward predicting where problems can arise both within a facility and with the patients themselves. All of these little (but truly big) concepts all add up to improving the outcomes of patients. Nothing should be immediately taken off the table when talking about patient care, but there is no cookie-cutter solution for every organization. Outcome-based health care is complex, multi-layered, and essential to an expectant population that sees great potential in health care not an in the future.