Highlights from Michael Porter – AHA 2015

Keynote speaker–Michael Porter (noted lecturer, and consultant on Value Management) delivered a fresh perspective on orienting US Healthcare Delivery at 2015 AHA Health Forum Leadership Summit (7/23-7/25, San Francisco).  Ironic, since Porter has been publishing work on value chain improvement since the 1970s.

Porter’s essential message—should US Hospitals choose to accept his challenge—focused on committing to centralizing whole departments, technology, and resources around specific  patient conditions to effect a patient-centric, continually measuring, quality-focused outcome center.   He encourages hospitals to measure a patient’s total care costs (not just charges),  with a focus on outstanding outcomes, not just volume.

This runs somewhat counter to many traditional US-based hospital care programs which are oriented on volumes with an eye to work on quality later.  Porter suggests that quality outcomes will bring the patients, which yields volume, not the other way around.   An integrated approach where caregivers (oriented by patient condition) constantly collaborate, measure, and improve (easier, because, Porter suggests, they co-locate)

Some blunt talk was offered—mainly that hospitals have no clue what their current costs truly are, nor how to accurately measure those costs.    The body language of most hospitals’ priority is to orient capturing its resource use with an eye to bill for it; not as much work is done to understand total costs (nor now to evaluate to keep outcomes high while reducing costs).   Caregivers currently spend a large time manually documenting use of items and resources to capture in order to bill.  Sadly, current methods of capture are time-consuming and not fully accurate.  Some studies indicate the human factor in collecting/documenting miss 20+% of what the caregivers are requested to capture.

To migrate to Porter’s vision of orienting focus toward patient outcome and quality, hospitals will have to transition how they capture and measure what care they give and what resources they use to not only increase what they collect (total costs), but to find a way to do that by lowering the time and attention required to collect and document so that the caregivers can focus on caring for the patient.

At Mobile Aspects, since the act of “documenting” (simply taking the item) is automatically integrated into the care process (RFID messages take care of the documenting electronically), caregivers can simultaneously increase both the quantity and quality of what capturing what they use, while at the same time reducing time previously spent documenting (stickering, bar coding, typing, auditing).   This is timely because if US Hospitals want to embrace Michael Porter’s vision of Patient-Centered Value-Oriented Healthcare, they are going to have to do it right when CMS and insurance companies are rolling out ICD-10, which experts estimate will increase required queries by physicians by 50 percent.

Freeing non-clinical time while increasing completeness and accuracy of documenting what caregivers use?   Sounds like a concept Michael Porter would smile upon in the push for patient-centered care.