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Why measuring process improvement is tricky business

Measuring process improvement would have a beneficial impact on hospital and healthcare systems, but research has largely ignored it.
By admin
Mar 24, 2023, 12:00 PM

A new article in “BMC Health Services Research” offers a systematic review of process improvement and ROI measurement strategies among hospitals.    

Researchers looked at studies from 2005 to 2018 examining how hospitals “measure and capture financial benefits from [process improvement] initiatives to identify best practice” in an attempt to make conclusions about how healthcare executives can integrate effective management practices within their organizations.   

But researchers found that there aren’t enough people writing about the measurement of process improvement and its financial benefits in the world of healthcare. Due to the wide variety of approaches in the past two decades, it was difficult to establish best practices. 

For example, in thinking about cost savings, “costs can be measured at the individual patient level, at a patient cohort level…or at the PI initiative level. What is not clear from the literature is which level of cost analysis, if any, is most pertinent in delivering a positive enterprise level financial outcome.” 

An increase in research into how hospitals are currently measuring the impacts of process improvement to eliminate “the volume of clinical and care activities and processes that do not add value to outcomes or experience.” 

The authors suggest that an increase of this kind of published research could lead to support for hospitals integrating some sort of “explicit realization of financial benefits in their standard PI methodology.”  

Building on extensive experience in the fields of journalism, media production, and learning design and development, John Marc Green’s newest adventure is serving as Director of CHIME Innovation. In this role, his ongoing conversations with CHIME Members and Partners provide insights and direction to serve their interests in a variety of ways, including digital healthcare innovation journalism, professional development events and program facilitation, and on-demand educational development through CHIME Innovation.

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