Our annual user conference, the Allscripts Client Experience (ACE), drew about 3,000 clients to Chicago this week. My favorite part of the event is collaborating with clients and industry experts. In his executive session keynote address, best-selling author and surgeon Marty Makary, MDspoke about a topic that is a high priority for all
healthcare organizations: patient safety.
How many people is health care hurting?
Makary observed that almost everyone goes into health care with the best intentions to help people. U.S. health care is an amazing, scientific system; but it’s not perfect. We have the unintended consequence of variation. Meaning, non-standardized care can cause deadly errors.
A recent study in the Journal of Patient Safety estimates that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die each year from preventable harm caused by hospitals. To put that number in perspective, Makary noted that medical errors are the third highest leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. We have fundraisers to combat many diseases, and yet the healthcare community is just beginning to acknowledge the devastation caused by non-standardized care.
Healthcare IT can play a role in standardization, leading to better patient care and lower costs. Electronic health records (EHRs) have the instruction sets to help make consistent clinical decisions. It’s that consistency that drives quality.
Incentives that drive variation
A hospital’s culture affects the amount of variation in care, and Makary cited several examples and studies. For example, ones that measure safety attitudes of a workforce, or the amount of unnecessary medical care. In a patient-centric healthcare system, organizations share these results. This transparency holds health care accountable and is how today’s patients want it to work.
Why are patients more interested in this data? Because now, more than ever, patients are responsible for a greater portion of their own healthcare costs. They are asking, “How much will it cost? What value are we getting for these services?” It’s a new marketplace, and the healthcare organizations with the highest quality and lowest costs will come out ahead.
Health care is all about the patient. Delivering the right solutions for today and tomorrow requires connectivity, collaboration and innovation. That’s what ACE – and Allscripts – is all about. I’m excited about what the rest of this week will bring and building on this momentum.