(e)Merging Practice Growth Trends: 

May Update  Hr

No Guts, No Glory: Winning Patients and Improving Performance through Transparency  

dr patient

Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital has been publishing their quality and safety statistics for years now, letting the public see both their successes and failures. Patients can see how the hospital compares to national rates and can link to sites that compare Beth Israel to other institutions. Though some say CEO Paul Levy has opened the hospital to bad media coverage, Levy says that any unsavory incidents that come to light are simply speed bumps on the road to something bigger and better: a system that empowers patients to make informed decisions about their healthcare and drives staff to do their best work.

Most hospitals and practices steer clear of this trend. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” model is easier for the business. But in an age where patients are increasingly empowered and consumerist, it’s no longer about the business; it’s about the patient. “Laying your statistics out there for them to peruse shows confidence and builds patient trust. You have nothing to hide, and they know that,” says Jamie Verkamp, partner at (e)Merge. “It also sets you apart from the rest of your competition, most of whom aren’t so open.”

Dr. Kevin Birusingh, a urological surgeon, says every physician and institution should welcome measurement and strive to be better. “As long as people understand it’s never as cut and dry as a number or percentage. Data should reflect what doctors and institutions can affect. For example, we all strive to decrease rates of infection, but there are only so many variables we can control: operating room temperature, operative times, sterile techniques, proper antibiotic coverage. Things we can’t control are the patient’s immune status and if they follow wound care recommendations when they go home. Beth Israel is really a great example of showing data staff can affect and doing so in a way that educates patients.”

Some healthcare professionals say this trend could negatively impact patient care. That’s why Dr. Birusingh emphasizes careful presentation and interpretation of data. “Objective measurements of patient outcomes could lead some physicians to only treat the ‘healthiest’ of patients, leaving the sickest patients to fend for themselves,” says Dr. Birusingh. “One needs to be careful when using objective measurements of patient outcomes because it does not take into consideration how sick the patient is prior to physician intervention. A doctor’s morbidity rate could be higher than normal, but then we also need to know if that doctor is treating high-risk patients.”

Increasingly, practices and health systems are also publishing procedure costs. “Consumerism is alive and well in healthcare and we must be cognizant of the movement to disclose all details,” Verkamp comments. “Studies show that a patient educated on procedure cost is twice is likely to pay their bill, because they know they can afford it and have time to budget for the expense. Think about it this way: you wouldn’t buy a car without seeing the price tag, so why would you buy healthcare that you didn’t know how much it was going to cost until you got the bill later?”



Put it into Practice!

InlineNeed a low cost yet highly effective way to get the word out about your practice?

Try to collaborate with local media outlets to increase brand awareness. 

Watch our YouTube video for more information!
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