Institute for Health Improvement Rolls Out Ways to Improve Healthcare

Julie Shenkman
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Several factors changed the way health care administrators view their profession since the advent of new technology and new ways to deliver care. Dealing with chronic diseases, caring for aging populations and catering to patients as consumers have led to new dynamics within the health care industry. As such, how systems move forward with the times affects the success of health care companies across all spectra of care.

At the 2015 World Hospital Congress, the Leadership Alliance of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement laid out several ways health care administrators can embrace new paradigms in patient care for the benefit of everyone. The group believes management can either partner with patients, advocates, companies and consumers or health care systems shrink to irrelevancy. To improve health care, administrators must change regardless of state or federal mandates. As part of this change, the IHI published its New Rules for Radical Redesign in Health Care, a set of statements designed to transform companies that rely on health care to become successful.

Health care administrators must first change the balance of power within the organization. Agencies must become leaders by partnering with patients, their families and the communities where the health care company works. Otherwise, these providers may not earn the respect of customers.

Companies should standardize what makes sense to allow more individualized care. This seemingly paradoxical statement means technology and automation works for some aspects of care, such as patient records and managing a health care team. This standardization makes providers more efficient so doctors, nurses and caregivers spend more time getting to know patients. This leads to individualized care since providers understand what a patient needs and know what matters to each person. The ultimate goal with respect to the patient involves better overall well-being and happiness that may not require a specified health care initiative.

Health care administrators should take initiatives to ensure employees take pride and joy in their work. Too often, a wasteful system leads to a lot of extra work, stress and requirements that take away from the simple task of providing relevant health care activities for patients and families. Administrators must make it easy for clinicians to reach patients.

Wearable technology may help solve a few aspects of this new way to improve health care. Contemporary technology, when used properly, creates alternatives for visits and institutional stays thanks to continuous monitoring at home and away from the clinician's office. Wearable technology gives doctors, nurses and technicians unprecedented access to patient data, such as heart rate, glucose levels, blood pressure and more. This data leads to better diagnoses, better care and brighter outcomes.

When health care administrators achieve new ways to collaborate and cooperate, agencies produce abundance to help optimize the social, economic and physical environment in which companies deliver care. This equilibrium allows businesses to return investments to the community and to the private sector.

The IHI encourages health care administrators, doctors and nurses to display inquisitiveness and ask patients, "What matters to you?" Leaders must put their intelligence and empathy to good use by adding curiosity to their daily routines, while administrators must dig in the trenches and visit sites regularly to transform health care.

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