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Voices on Hospitals: Electronic Health Records and Consistent Quality of Care

Quality care diceWe have often heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” Although this phrase may not be entirely true, perception is important because it happens when we use our senses, such as sight, taste, sound, touch and smell. In short, our perception is both pure and objective.

However, our interpretation of our perceptions — also known as ‘perspective’ — invites both experience and emotions, which can be more subjective and unique, and, therefore, more about opinion. I suppose perception is reality IF we exclude interpretation of our experiences and emotions.

My point is this: Opinions are important and certainly do matter!

This week, we continue to address how Iowa employers perceive hospitals within their communities on two new performance indicators:

  1. Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
  2. Consistent Quality of Care

Indicator #3: Electronic Health Records
As indicated in our ‘Voices for Value’ white paper, electronic health records (EHRs) are designed to accurately capture data on the patient at all times. This allows providers to view the patient’s entire medical history without the need to track down the patient’s previous medical record, and to ensure the data is accurate, appropriate and legible. Using one modifiable file, it is widely believed that patient EHRs will help make the healthcare delivery process more efficient with fewer medical errors.

Using a 10-point scale, (1 is ‘failing’ and 10 is ‘excellent’), Iowa employers rated statewide hospitals a 6.9 regarding the use of EHRs. Converting this score to a grade, the overall statewide grade for this indicator is a ‘C+.’

However, when rating employers on a regional basis using size-weights (size-weighting is discussed in my June 25th blog), only the northwest region received an acceptable grade of a ‘mid-level C.’ All other regions, grade in around the ‘mid-D’ range.

Regional - Electronic Health Records Map-Master

Indicator #4: Consistent Quality of Care
Quality of care that is consistently applied, regardless of provider and location, is really the end-game for all of us, right? Let’s be brutally honest, we pay world-class prices for the care we seek, so quality of care should be our minimum expectation.

Yet, Iowa employers are clearly dubious about receiving consistent quality of care. As with all three previous performance indicators, the northwest region received the highest score/grade compared to the other regions within the state, while the northeast region barely secured the yellow ‘C’ grade.

Regional - Consistant Quality of Care Map-Master

Thus far, after reviewing four of the 12 performance indicators, the northwest region has been consistently outperforming the other four regions. Are hospitals in the northwest region of Iowa embracing slightly different approaches that appear to be resonating more positively with employers in their communities?

I have many questions, but it is too premature to speculate. For now, we will rely on the perceptions, perspectives and opinions of the Iowa employer.

Next week:  “Trust”

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