How Wasteful is Your Care Delivery?

Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media , January 21, 2010

"We've found that when you benchmark information, when you produce and identify best practices and share information with doctors, in many areas the physicians want to do the right thing," Samitt says. "When you show the data, the performance changes."

This is not a new concept. And Dean Health isn't the first healthcare organization to save money by benchmarking clinical processes. But most healthcare organizations are only at the beginning stages of learning how to execute it. As more providers set up digital records and begin sharing information, the quality of data will only improve.

The key going forward will be to balance the concerns of the two types of doctors I mentioned earlier. It will take a lot of willing and eager physicians to systematically improve care and reduce the waste in the system. But the skeptics are also important. The more numbers added to the healthcare system, the closer it gets to medicine-by-the-numbers.

These types of programs will only be successful if they are designed to improve the physician-patient relationship, not replace it.

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Elyas Bakhtiari is a freelance editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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