I was just thinking about all of these analytics vendors and healthcare analytics stories that were sent to me during HIMSS. Every story goes a bit like this. We gathered a whole bunch of data. We analyzed the data. We discovered that we sucked and so we were able to save $X million dollars and improve the quality of care we provide. Makes for a great story no?
I was thinking about this and I was trying to figure out why this story never ends differently. Every analytics implementation I’ve ever seen or heard about finds some major problems in ever healthcare organization. How come they don’t sometimes do the analysis and discover: “Wow! You’re organization is awesome. You shouldn’t change anything!”
I have two theories about why this is the case. First, no healthcare system is perfectly optimized. That means that if you look hard enough, you can always find something that can be improved. There certainly are different degrees of improvement that can be provided depending on the health system’s baseline, but there are always ways that it can be improved. I think this logically makes sense. Especially when we’re talking about something as complex as healthcare.
Second, the people doing the analytics get paid to find problems. If they discovered that everything is going better than the norm and that you have a really high functioning health system, then they wouldn’t get paid. We don’t pay people to tell us we’re doing good. We pay them to tell us where we can improve. So, we get what we pay for.
The closest I’ve seen people come to this is every once in a while I hear a story from a vendor who honestly says, “we can’t do much for you.” I’ve done it a few times here at EMR and HIPAA. Sometimes they’re looking for an audience that doesn’t really read this blog. If you want the PACS administrator, then we’re probably not a good fit. We don’t write much PACS content and so I can’t imaging many PACS admins are reading the blog. It’s just easier to be honest about it. Although, not all companies feel that way.
I’d be interested to hear if you know of other examples where this occurs. Have you seen many times when someone has said, “Your doing great. I can’t help you more.”?