Mayo Clinic CEO: Knowledge management improves care quality

Knowledge management is the key to improving care across all settings and financial stability, the Mayo Clinic's president and CEO contends in a blog post published by the Harvard Business Review.

The Affordable Care Act will improve access to health insurance but "does little to address fragmentation, quality of care, and the sustainability of the financial model for U.S. healthcare--how healthcare is paid for," John Noseworthy writes. "More work is needed to achieve the drastic change in market forces necessary to create a sustainable healthcare system."

The industry can more effectively reduce the "fragmentation and variability in care" by creating tools to share knowledge among providers in their communities, Noseworthy contends.

The Mayo Clinic has an archive of knowledge including evidence-based protocols, order sets, alerts and care process models, including a regularly updated tool called Ask Mayo Expert, according to the article.

Knowledge management is one of several key elements of successful clinical decision support technology, researchers found in a study published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

And Farzad Mostashari, M.D., former National Coordinator for Health IT, talked at a recent conference about hospital staff wasting time tackling problems other hospitals have already solved. "That development time is unnecessary," Mostashari said. "Everyone rediscovering that same thing is not necessary. Helping others is the only way we get through this."

In his blog post, Noseworthy notes Mayo also is applying engineering principles to include quality, safety and service. "We purposefully design, implement, and systematically diffuse quality-improvement efforts at all of our locations around the country."

He also pushes for "a payment system that recognizes the spectrum of healthcare delivery across primary, intermediate, and complex care while rewarding the quality and value of each," and replacing the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula with "new, negotiated payment models that tie reimbursement to quality outcomes across the spectrum of care."

For more information:
- read Noseworthy's blog post
- here's the JAMIA study