How hospitals can use data to drive improvement initiatives

By Warren Strauss

From required Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) indicators, hospitals now track and report large volumes of data on a daily basis. But how can hospitals use these data to drive improvement initiatives, predict performance for value-based purchasing and improve patient outcomes? For many healthcare IT professionals, these are critical questions that play a big role in shaping the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of their hospital's quality improvement program.

The data-driven healthcare movement is premised on the idea that better data will lead to better patient outcomes. By looking at patterns in adverse events, for example, hospitals can determine where they need to focus quality improvement efforts and track the results of those efforts over time. However, many hospitals find it difficult to cut through the clutter and find actionable, meaningful information among the data points.

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