'No outcome, no income': How big data can enhance physician engagement, patient experience

As patients increasingly expect on-demand services and pay more out-of-pocket for healthcare, they are redefining what an acceptable, quality-based outcome looks like.   

These changes in payment and consumer expectations have led to a "no outcome, no income" scenario in which there is a connection between driving patient safety, quality and service metrics and reimbursement, Rishi Sikka, MD, senior vice president of clinical operations at Advocate Health Care, said at the Becker's Hospital Review 5th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable on Nov. 7. He said a key link to these outcomes is physician engagement, a link that can be enhanced through the use of big data.

Physician engagement is "a strategic business imperative to get right things, like leaders setting the tone from the top in terms of patient focus, empowering staff and keeping teams working well together," said Patrick Kulesa, PhD, global director of employee survey research at Willis Towers Watson. Data shows leadership trickles downstream to affect "employee engagement, employee behavior and ultimately what that patient comes into and faces in terms of the care environment," he said.

Mr. Kulesa said when looking at data regarding the number of medical malpractice instances at a hospital across a three-year period, he found higher instances of medical malpractice were associated with lower patient satisfaction. Data also showed a positive correlation between physicians who were enabled by leadership in their job every day and higher patient satisfaction.

"Healthy culture improves quality of care and safety and what we mean by the culture of health is the work environment," Maureen Stazinski, senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson, said. Ms. Stazinski said that means asking, "Does your management encourage you to take care of your health? Does the organization reorganize healthy behaviors?"

The culmination of recognizing a shift in consumer expectations, physician engagement and their linkages across data sets begs one to reassess healthcare's triple aim — enhancing patient experience, improving population health and reducing costs, Dr. Sikka said. He suggested the triple aim include a fourth element: providers.

Dr. Sikka said healthcare's triple aim should be revamped into a "quadruple aim" to include physician engagement and wellness as a core driver of valued-based care. In particular, Dr. Sikka said employee disengagement and burnout needs to be addressed.

"It's the most untalked about crisis that is occurring in our industry and really needs some attention," Dr. Sikka said. "In order to drive the triple aim, we also need to start to drive improving the joy and experience of providing care. And we need to return joy and meaning into the healthcare workforce." 

More articles on integration and physician issues:
How to motivate physicians to accept ACA health plans: 4 questions with Bronx-Lebanon Hospital's Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum
What managed service organizations can do for hospitals, physicians & patients
Physicians cite themselves as top factor in prescription opioid abuse

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