Don’t Wait for Amazon, J.P. Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway – We Have the Tools Now to Drive Out Waste and Cost

Shane Waslaski

The Amazon, J.P. Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway joint effort announced January 30, 2018 to “disrupt healthcare” isn’t coming at “Prime” speed, but there is no need for healthcare leaders to wait for this trifecta to set transformation in motion. These business leaders’ individual track records highly suggest they will get this done. Yet, so many of the tools and solutions are available today to disrupt healthcare’s high costs and inefficiency while also making strides toward higher patient safety and satisfaction – the question is whether healthcare will take the lead now.

Limited detail has been offered up thus far, but Warren Buffet recently provided more insight into this highly publicized “…joint effort.” Their biggest goal? To control ever-rising health care costs. “I love the idea of tackling what I regard as the major problem of our economy,” Buffet said.

Having worked with private, public and governmental healthcare leaders and payors, I am confident healthcare could take the reins and make progress more effectively with self-directed discipline toward efficiency alongside fidelity to patient satisfaction. I would argue that Buffet stopped short of the actual root cause – which isn’t the cost itself, but the waste that leads to excessive cost.

Pulling from lean, here is a manifesto of wastes for healthcare to beat back:

MUDA: Unnecessary Activity and Supply – find it and commit to eliminating it

  • Waiting by patients and caregivers for results and equipment – in healthcare, cost increases when we wait
  • Motion – excessive steps and movement of caregivers, patients and materials
  • Inventory – more equipment than is needed in real time because we don’t know where it is, how long it has been there, who put it there or how to change it
  • Overproduction – over treating, over prescribing, over ordering…
  • Over-processing – excessive movement, paperwork, billing, information processing
  • Defects – episodic care that does not lead to full healing and resolution
  • Transport – massive centralized operations that move too much or too often

MURI: Overburden

  • Unreliable and poorly laid out workflows for caregivers
  • Clutter – inefficient EMR/EHRs that turn caregives into “clickers”
  • Too little or too much messaging and alarms yields fatigue and neglect

MURA: Unevenness or inconsistency

  • While Mura is sometimes the source of the other two, preventive medicine and better wellness is likely the greatest place to begin when it comes to evening out the demands associated with uneven care needs – while “first do no harm” is the stated objective, the drive at the heart of a healer is “to save lives”

So many of the solutions to these issues exist today and can be resolved through automating processes to give back valuable time to patients and their caregivers. Pairing workflow engines with automatically collected, real-time location data (RTLS), these organizations are improving efficiency in their healthcare operations – creating better, more positive experiences for patients and staff.

Our InSites Healthcare Advisors and Solution Engineers have successfully brought change to the access, cost and satisfaction front through process and technology. I’ll be at HIMSS18 next week in Las Vegas and would welcome the opportunity to hear your ideas and share how innovative healthcare leaders are sustaining meaningful change.

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