Did you miss out on this year’s National Institute for Healthcare Improvement‘s (IHI) Conference? PolicyMedical’s got you covered!
A few of our PolicyMedical team members were fortunate enough to attend this year’s IHI conference as exhibitors and a few as attendees. Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sanjaya Kumar, attended getting as much knowledge as he could from all the great keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and events. Here is his exclusive rundown of the top 3 IHI conference takeaways:
2016 IHI Conference Recap
This year’s IHI conference was held in Orlando, FL from December 4-7. It presented more than 6,000 healthcare professionals with the networking opportunity to connect and discuss best practices for healthcare safety, clinical quality improvement, patient-centred care, and payer/regulatory compliance. For more information on the conference and upcoming related events visit http://www.ihi.org/education/Conferences/Forum2016/Pages/default.aspx
Here are the Top 3 Conference Takeaways from Policy Medical’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sanjay Kumar:
Top 3 Takeaways
1. Healthcare Equity
Implementing a system that is non-discriminatory towards specific patient populations, but instead one that understands that there is a wide range of social factors such as income and education which affect the patient’s access to care or to performance and outcomes is central to healthcare equity. Healthcare organizations must align with the different communities and programs in order to provide a system that is not isolating, but inclusive to provide equally accessible care for all. It was repeatedly pointed out that the largest number of medical errors occur in patient cases that are from minority groups and/or impoverished populations. Inequitable care occurs because of a multitude of factors, such as lack of informed consent by patients (because of language barriers), a lack of patient-centered/ patient specific surgical and procedural care because the patients experience more testing in the ED’s in hospitals, and less effective evidence-based medical care, etc.
It was also highlighted that in order to avoid re-admissions to hospitals, there should be an increased presence of materials noting differences in diagnoses across patient populations and education, for both the patients and providers. The health system should also incorporate interpreters to assist patients with understanding their care.
The goal is not to create divisive procedures, but to design a healthcare delivery care model that understands disparity and can address patient care according to specific needs and conditions, that are common amongst all unique cultural identities.
2. Patient Safety
The second conference takeaway and important aspect of continued healthcare improvement was the continued focus on patient safety, which is at the forefront of delivering the highest standard of care.
With recent studies highlighting that preventable medical errors are the THIRD leading cause of harm/death within the US healthcare system, there was renewed interest in addressing initiatives to better identify and address system improvements to mitigate harm and risk to patients.
Several sessions highlighted that there is a need for patient safety to be recognized as an imperative to medicine; extending beyond the acute-care setting. Data presented indicated a large proportion of preventable errors occurring in ambulatory care and emergency room environments.
A presentation entitled, Practical Tools in Patient Safety Tools, discusses the importance of communication, learning, accountability, and accurate measurement of patient needs.
It was identified, that one of the main problems, leading to serious consequences related to patient safety, is a lack of reporting of accidents and adverse outcomes. In order to improve patient safety, healthcare systems with good data can conduct studies to give feedback on interventions that are/can be implemented with the goal of improving the overall practices/processes within a healthcare setting to mitigate preventable adverse events that can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. With increasing penalties from payers and regulatory bodies, healthcare systems are now beginning to implement robust data systems to monitor, track, and address patient safety events and in some cases be proactive through data surveillance to identify events before they occur.
3. Empowering the patient
The third but most important point from the IHI conference is having the tools to empower and involve the patient and their families or support system, to understand their diagnosis, needs, and interventions for recovery or improvement. This is integral for both the healthcare provider and patient because it will help their concerns be addressed in an individualized manner.
Furthermore, this makes them better advocates to recognize and in cases avoid preventable errors/harm, and be more engaged and participatory in their care delivery and outcomes. Patient engagement remains a key focus for the industry.
Overall, it is important to recognize that the healthcare delivery model is changing to a performance and outcomes evaluation/payment based approach. In order to address, adopt, and effectively communicate the changes, a framework of updated policies and procedures must be in place for healthcare systems. This is where a system like PolicyManager™ from PolicyMedical becomes a paramount part of the healthcare quality, patient safety, and compliance landscape.
PolicyMedical specializes in policy and document management software designed specifically for the healthcare industry. Our signature policy management software application, PolicyManager™, is currently being utilized by over 3,000 healthcare organizations and hospitals throughout the United States and Canada. If you have any questions about our software, feel free to contact us here or request a free no-obligation demo.