Leveraging Analytics in Quality Improvement Activities

Knowing is not enough, we must act.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Data and information alone are not sufficient to achieve transformation in healthcare. Information and insight need to operate within a framework or methodology for quality and performance improvement decision making. Such a framework is necessary to identify priorities for improvement and evaluating outcomes. This chapter will focus on how to leverage analytics within a quality improvement (QI) environment to assist the healthcare organization (HCO) in achieving its quality and performance goals.

Moving from Analytics Insight to Healthcare Improvement

When used in concert with QI methodologies such as PDSA, Lean, or Six Sigma, analytics helps to identify the most pressing quality issues facing the HCO based on needs defined by patient safety, the quality goals of the HCO, national standards, and legislative requirements. These improvement methodologies leverage the insights gained from analytics, within their respective structured approaches, to develop interventions and solutions for healthcare quality and performance issues and evaluate outcomes to ensure the long-term sustainability of improvements.

To gain maximum value from analytics, QI projects need to be able to:

  • Retrieve and analyze baseline data to document current performance and/or quality measures against which to compare future performance;
  • Utilize or develop well-defined performance ...

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