By Aric Harris

Along with the government's thrust to shift from quantity-based to quality-based, accountable healthcare in the United States, the current administration is pushing a new system that would solicit patients to report "medical mistakes". Here is an excerpt from the recent NY Times article on this topic:

The Obama administration wants consumers to report medical mistakes and unsafe practices by doctors, hospitals, pharmacists and others who provide treatment.

Hospitals say they are receptive to the idea, despite concerns about malpractice liability and possible financial penalties for poor performance.

On the surface, this seems logical - right? Why wouldn't you want patients to report errors?

While this might seem like a mundane development, I believe the implications of this new system will be profound within the healthcare provider and medical laboratory market, requiring a heightened focus on lab analytics and healthcare business intelligence.

As with all government led initiatives, you must consider the law of unintended consequences. How does the typical patient distinguish between the normal course of healing from a significant procedure and what they may perceive as a "medical mistake"? For instance, "my hip popped following a hip replacement" or "my wound was extremely red and sore following my procedure" are both reflective of the normal course of healing but patients may report these as "medical mistakes". These are two simple examples and I could go on, but you get the picture.

The bottom line is that this influx of new reports will require real-time traceability back to the underlying, fact-based data related to any procedure that was performed. The healthcare management solutions and lab tracking software will need to instantly produce answers in order to head off frivolous malpractice claims and other adverse reports that may be baseless. Further, in the event that an issue, such as an infection, has occurred, it is critical to identify that proactively and take action rather than waiting to be reported through the government's system as a "mistake". 

With traditional lab management tools and laboratory information management systems, medical laboratories collect a huge amount of data while supporting internal clinical processes. By adding a Lab CRM, such as hc1.com, that includes robust healthcare business intelligence and lab analytics, laboratories are well positioned to support the needs of their healthcare provider clients as these "medical mistakes" are logged by patients - or better yet, eliminate the patient's issue prior to their misperception that a mistake has occurred.

With healthcare cloud computing, lab CRM, and healthcare business intelligence, your lab and healthcare provider clients have access to proactive intelligence in order to take action and improve care. In today's environment of accountable care, medical laboroatories and healthcare providers must adopt healthcare CRM and lab analytics to position themselves for success today and on into the future as accountable care continues to take hold in the United States market.

You can take a look at the entire article in the NY Times here: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/health/new-system-for-patients-to-report-medical-mistakes.xml

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