The techniques of quality improvement (QI) have been successfully used in several industries with dramatic results. But healthcare as an industry poses a humongous challenge for the widespread adoption of QI due to its complexity. Addressing each of the thousands of interlinked processes in healthcare is indeed a tall order, especially in terms of measurement and analysis of data. Data analysis forms the core of quality improvement processes; after all, measuring baselines enables organisations to assess if there’s been any improvement at all.

At the Abbott Hospital Leadership Summit, 2015, Dr Hilary Thomas, chief medical adviser at KPMG, talked about using data to enhance the healthcare pathway. She gave the example of Methods StethoscopeTM as a handy data analysis tool for hospitals in the UK. This online tool helps make sense of the vast amount of data that the National Health Services (NHS) generates, and makes it accessible to key decision makers - healthcare organisations as well as consumers.

Stethoscope™ does this by presenting a wide range of healthcare information as transparent and comparative intelligence benchmarked against the national average. This allows healthcare organisations to see variations and detect opportunities to improve their patient outcomes. Essentially, it describes the variation in a system with the statistical demonstration of whether this variation is meaningful, or not.

Stethoscope™ aims to be a service improvement tool rather than a performance management tool. What distinguishes it from other such services is that it is a data platform designed for busy professionals. Healthcare organisations tend to get swept up in the tide of emergency admissions, limited bed availability, chronic patients, contagions and more. As a result, limited digital records and poor record keeping is common, and so is lack of access to meaningful, actionable intelligence. With just a few clicks, Stethoscope™ enables even swamped clinicians to compare themselves with their local or national peers across key indicators, such as patient safety indicators, medication errors etc.

Based on NHS Network’s Acute Trust Quality Dashboard (ATQD), StethoscopeTM is designed to be intuitive, to focus on key metrics. It even allows for customisable reporting with the help of personalised dashboard reports. Its format makes goal setting and planning for improved outcomes easier by enabling healthcare organisations to spot their present, and future, service ‘hotspots’. This kind of trend analysis helps healthcare organisations detect, and act on, issues as they arise and prepare for future problems.

StethoscopeTM is free for consumers in the UK wanting to evaluate their options. Healthcare professionals - hospital executives, performance managers, clinical directors etc. - who seek more timely and detailed information can avail the information on a subscription basis. By presenting a clear overview of the quality of care of the organisation, StethoscopeTM shows how the healthcare industry can make use of data analytics to improve outcomes.

This article is meant for informational purposes ONLY and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any products or a person’s point of view. Although greatest possible care has been taken in compiling, checking and developing the content to ensure that it is accurate and complete, Abbott Healthcare Private Limited, are not responsible or in any way liable for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies and/or incompleteness of the information.