While access to care is one of the key drivers of health equity, capacity management is the driver of access. Organizations that effectively manage capacity better serve patients. Resources are the centerpiece for capacity management. You can only achieve successful healthcare access with adequate staff, equipment, facilities, and IT infrastructure to manage the resources. But how does an organization know what resources it needs? First, the organization must identify the services it will provide and what population it intends to serve, driven by the mission of the organization and its underlying clinical capabilities.
The organization then chooses metrics to measure outcomes. Next comes reviews and rewrites of its processes and workflows to achieve desired results. Using historical utilization data, the organization determines the various recourses needed to deliver services so that capacity meets demand. To effectively manage capacity, an organization must regularly collect process measures to be sure systems, which I mean service lines, are running efficiently and delivering quality patient care. In addition, organizations must collect patient experience data to ensure patient needs are appropriately met.
If your healthcare IT is not capturing this detailed level of data – or if you are, but you are not processing it as capacity management data that links to your organization’s outcomes – then it is useless data. You are flying blind and will have great difficulty enhancing your organizational proficiency. Healthcare delivery improves by maximizing capacity planning and integrating it with efficient scheduling of people and physical resources. All of this is best accomplished with the participation of healthcare IT tools. What is your perspective on the relationship between health equity, access, and capacity management?
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