Clinical Standardization: the Holy Grail of Modern Healthcare

Three Technology Solutions for Coordinating Better In-Room Care
August 16, 2018

Clinical Standardization: the Holy Grail of Modern Healthcare

For years, technological and scientific advancement have been revolutionizing the healthcare industry—even though, at times, the industry has been reluctant to change.

One key example of this reluctance lies in the fact that many hospitals across the country have yet to adopt new technology to improve communication. In fact, research has found that up to one third of hospitals are using patient communication tools that are at least nine years old, with some still relying on nurse call technology from the 1970s.

And yet these same technological advancements that are slowly being adopted also have the potential to drastically improve both patient care and caregiver accountability. By aligning processes, technology, and caregivers’ efforts, your hospital can achieve what many in the industry believe is the “holy grail” for quality outcomes and patient experience: Clinical Standardization.

What is Clinical Standardization?

In short, clinical standardization is the establishment of standards and protocols for caregivers to follow when treating patients in order to reduce unnecessary costs, to avoid unwarranted variation in treatment, and to improve patient care and caregiver accountability.

Basically, standardization is a set of strategic guidelines for caregivers to follow. However, as reported by The Advisory Board Company, hospitals have been moving rather slowly in adopting these standards into their organizations. They explain that between 2006 and 2011, the rate at which patients were treated according to guidelines increased only slightly, from 35% to just 50%, across the entire industry.

Considering this in addition to the slow-paced adoption of new technology, like next generation nurse call systems, there is a clear gap in the adoption of best practices that can ultimately have great positive impact on the patient and on the financial stability of modern healthcare organizations.

Why Do We Need Clinical Standardization?

But what is this “great positive impact” that clinical standardization can bring to hospitals across the country?

Well, it’s important to note that while providers and caregivers may be reluctant to adopt routine protocol to follow with each patient, C-suite level executives understand the importance of streamlining and standardizing patient visits. A 2015 Advisory Board survey of 150 executives from health systems across the country found that among the many integration-related projects underway, executives consider the following projects to be the most important:

  • Driving clinical standardization
  • Creating system-wide physician alignment
  • Increasing IT interoperability

Ultimately, clinical standardization will drive seamless, high-quality, and cost-effective care through cutting out extraneous costs, reducing unneeded treatment variation, and leveraging data.

How Can We Drive Clinical Standardization?

But, as mentioned, providers and caregivers might be less-than-inclined to adopt new, rigid standards and protocol while performing the most important function in healthcare: providing care to patients in need. Because of this, it is important to overcome certain obstacles, to ensure caregivers adopt the standards and protocols.

Oftentimes, the biggest obstacles to overcome are:

  • Lack of consistent clinical performance data
  • Inefficient or disjointed clinical processes
  • Inadequate means of enforcement

Though overcoming these obstacles may not be the easiest task, it can be done. For example, in order to overcome a lack of actionable clinical data, there are a number new technologies, such as advanced nurse call systems, that provide consistent, real-time data which can enable your health system to close the loop between patient care and nurse accountability, ultimately providing insights for data-driven decisions.

Additionally, the data that is recorded and collected through new technology like advanced nurse call systems also enables you and your care teams to identify bottlenecks and areas where processes tend to be inefficient. This data can then be used as quantifiable evidence for enforcing the standards and protocol that are in place, ultimately driving the best results for patients and the most cost- and time-efficient processes for your hospital.

Interested in learning more about our advanced nurse call system or setting up a 15 minute demo? Contact us today by clicking here.

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