Improving patient care is a continuing goal of providers, and it appears one key tool is already available. A recent study found that hypertension diagnoses could be improved simply by analyzing data stored in the EHR system. The tendency for clinicians is to delay patient treatment and continue ordering tests, even after repeated high blood pressure readings. The result was that about one-third of hypertension patients were undiagnosed and unaware of their condition.
These findings are striking and point to the need for better strategies for improving patient care, but they also point to the importance of data management and analysis. Often there can be substantial benefit simply from leveraging the data you already have.
Improving Patient Care with Data
This principle also applies to other aspects of healthcare that may seem more mundane, such as inventory management. Many providers are not tracking item transactions, stock levels, or usage trends. This can lead to shortages of critical products, or to costly rush or overbuying that leaves items to expire on the shelf. All of this can directly impact providers’ ability to provide patient care, and also cause significant problems for the practice’s cost level and cash flow.
But technology has advanced so that affordable, powerful tools are available that can help providers manage inventory usage and lower their costs. Some software even will tell you when it is time to reorder and help you create an EDI order to the supplier. Reporting features also let you track usage patterns within your practice and see how they directly affect your bottom line.
Whether you are analyzing clinical readings or inventory usage trends, it is critical that providers be able to track and utilize existing data in order to provide the best care possible for their patients. Choosing the right tool can help you make the best use of this information for your practice.