NtC Video Podcasts, Healthcare IT February 15, 2024

NtC 33: Remove the Kinks in the Hose

by Barry P Chaiken, MD
Navigating the Code is available at navigcatingthecode.com. Amazon, Kindle, B&N, and Audible.

We can all agree that there is much that we can do to improve healthcare quality, safety, and access to care while better managing its cost. Achieving these goals requires transforming what we do and how we do it. Transformation requires bold, focused change, a concept I covered in previous episodes of this podcast. We must modify how we think about healthcare and use new methodologies and technologies to transform our industry. We have a healthcare crisis, and as Stanford economist Paul Romer once remarked, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

Let us consider this metaphor. Think of healthcare as if it were a garden hose with many kinks. The hose, representing workflow, is formed by the many processes that occur to deliver a particular outcome. The water does not smoothly flow when there are kinks in a garden hose. If processes are ill-designed or poorly executed, they represent kinks in our healthcare hose. Just like a garden hose with kinks in it that fails to deliver the expected amount of water, healthcare workflows with poor processes, the kinks, deliver sub-optimal or undesirable outcomes.

Analyzing workflows and processes using healthcare IT tools identifies which processes are problematic and why. Identifying these troublesome processes that negatively impact outcomes also offers a way to adjust, reassign, or delete them. Without analyzing workflow and its processes, “bad” outcomes appear as symptoms that are difficult to identify, document, and address for improvement. In transformation, workflow and process are strategically changed to improve the outcome holistically. Just observing the kinks in the hose is not going to work. We aim to straighten them out so the water flows smoothly to deliver better health care.

Healthcare is our indispensable ally. With its advanced diagnostic tools, healthcare IT provides a clear roadmap for un-kinking our processes, enhancing patient journeys, and integrating clinical and administrative operations into a cohesive workflow. By reassigning tasks, streamlining processes, and leveraging healthcare IT, we can transform healthcare into a system prioritizing quality, safety, and accessibility. The result? Better outcomes obtained at a lower cost.

The transformation journey is not without its challenges, but the potential rewards for our patients, teams, and communities are immense. Healthcare IT is not just our toolset; it’s our partner in this critical mission. Together, let’s harness the power of healthcare IT to un-kink the hose, ensuring a steady flow of innovation, efficiency, and, most importantly, quality patient care. Are we ready to give the go-ahead?

I look forward to your thoughts so please put them in this post and subscribe to my other video series Future-Primed Healthcare on my Dr Barry Speaks channel on YouTube.

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