June 23, 2024
How Connected Healthcare Operations Helps Health Systems Work Smarter, Not Harder
How Connected Healthcare Operations Helps Health Systems Work Smarter, Not Harder
Jeff Surges, CEO at RLDatix

When it comes to healthcare, efficiency isn’t just a goal—it’s a lifeline. With a growing and aging patient population and widespread workforce shortages, hospitals and health systems must find ways to increase efficiencies and do more with less, while providing safe, high-quality care. This starts with liberating data and connecting healthcare operations solutions across the enterprise.  

The Epidemic of Siloed Data

The volume of healthcare data is growing exponentially, with a compound annual growth rate that’s faster than the data growth rate of the manufacturing, financial services and media and entertainment industries. A 2022 survey of 3,000 practicing nurses and doctors found that 69% were overwhelmed by the volume of patient data. 

Compounding this issue is the widespread prevalence of data silos in healthcare, which prevent the efficient exchange and use of data to streamline operations and coordinate patient care. When healthcare operations and data are compartmentalized and vast swaths of data are difficult to access, effective risk management and communication between providers and departments is hindered, negatively affecting both patient safety and operational efficiency. For example, healthcare staff may spend hours completing duplicative paperwork or entering data that has already been recorded elsewhere—time that could be reallocated to other tasks and ensuring safer patient care if the health system’s technology was interoperable across the organization. 

According to the American College of Physicians, effective data sharing is one of four key principles to improving care coordination and reducing error. Prioritizing interoperability— the ability of technology and software to exchange data—is key to enhancing workforce efficiency and providing quality care. 

Connected Technology is an Efficiency Enabler

Healthcare operations technology keeps the ball rolling behind the scenes for hospitals and health systems — from workforce and risk management to credentialing and compliance — enabling teams to provide patients with the care they need. Yet, for many healthcare workers, technology can feel like an added burden in a line of work already mounting in pressure.

The majority of healthcare organizations have an excess of point solutions, and working with these disparate solutions takes up hours of healthcare workers’ days, eating into valuable time spent with patients. Inefficient health information technology has been linked to emotional exhaustion and burnout among healthcare workers. In one survey, 37% of healthcare workers said that technology frustrated them, and 19% said technology did not help their productivity at work.

The key to a more efficient, less burnt-out healthcare workforce? Implement technology that increases efficiency rather than adding to administrative burden. To make healthcare technology an enabler rather than a hindrance, hospitals and health systems must consolidate point solutions, creating a connected operations model with interoperable software.

A 2023 report published by KLAS indicates that over 90% of healthcare executives say technology consolidation is important to improving their operational efficiency. Yet, 80% are still in the planning or initial stages of consolidation. In addition to budget and staffing constraints, the report cited internal misalignment of priorities and poor change management practices as barriers to progress. Consolidation requires collaboration. To move towards connected technology that improves efficiency and reduces burnout, health system leaders must work together to align competing priorities across the enterprise. 

Proactive Data Intelligence Drives Prevention

Connecting and consolidating healthcare operations technology can drive efficiency, but it isn’t a fix-all. To operate more efficiently while prioritizing safer care, health systems must also be proactive when it comes to leveraging data insights. 

What does reactive vs. proactive look like? Imagine two health systems that experience the same safety incident—a patient is given the wrong dose of their medication. Health System A fills out an event report, issues a warning to the nurse who administered the medication and moves on from the incident. Health System B also fills out an event report, but they don’t stop there. They analyze data from across the organization from the time surrounding the incident. How long had the nurse who administered the medication been on the clock? Did the team follow all the correct protocols for administering a medication? Was the department understaffed or overbooked with patients at the time?

These data insights can help to identify the factors that may have contributed to the safety incident, enabling the health system to identify risk factors in the future and take proactive steps to prevent another incident before it happens. To obtain these insights, healthcare data must be shared across the organization. By implementing interoperable solutions, health systems can increase efficiency and make data-informed decisions that create a safer environment for patients and healthcare workers alike.  

About Jeff Surges

Jeff Surges has 30 years of executive experience managing high-growth healthcare technology companies. As the CEO of RLDatix, he is responsible for overseeing and driving the strategic growth of RLDatix across 20+ countries. Throughout his career, Jeff has led multiple public and private companies as a C-suite executive, founder, board member, investor and entrepreneur – a wide range of roles that have given him unique operating experience and deep healthcare industry knowledge. Jeff received a BA from Eastern Illinois University.

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