There’s Always Various Perspectives

This week I want to share an article and my thoughts on a session I attended at WCI in Orlando on August 13. The article is about the various ways people define quality in healthcare. The session at WCI was about perspective and how everyone’s is different, even if they have the same initial information. Below you’ll find my thoughts and their implications.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed below are those of Mark Pew, Senior Vice President of Product Development and Marketing, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Preferred Medical.

How Do You Measure Quality in Health Care?

Measurement and data collection are important for diagnostics, quality care for patients and other aspects of the healthcare industry. However, some argue that providing quality care includes things that cannot be measured quantitatively. While it is necessary to have standards, procedures, checklists and protocols in the healthcare system, these are not always enough to provide complete patient-centered care.

Mark’s Thoughts:
This is a very thoughtful article on the various definitions of “quality” in healthcare. The end result is there are manifold ways to encourage and measure quality based on outcomes or adherence to process or “feelings” (by either the patient or provider). In the age of wanting efficiency, measuring quality is definitely not ubiquitous. In fact, recognizing the lack of quality is probably easier. But, regardless of the method, measurement should lead to improvement—data without action is just a random assortment of 0s and 1s on a computer. Do any of these stories resonate with you? Do you have a methodology that isn’t mentioned?

“For example, even if my facilities are spotless and my clinical staff is expert at avoiding preventable infections, does that mean they’re good at explaining diagnoses to their patients? Do they know how to communicate effectively and sympathetically when delivering bad news? Do they return patient calls at night? In today’s health care climate, physicians are often required to see a specific number of patients each day. But how effective are our measurements if a physician misses that quota because she devoted extra time to a single patient who really needed the extra attention and care?”

“We found that physicians at these sites (high-quality care with a lower overall cost) were thinking more deeply about what each individual patient needs to navigate in the periods between primary care office visits…Does their illness affect their executive functioning? Are they following through on laboratory tests? Are they taking their medicines as prescribed? Are all of the doctors and specialists a patient sees aware of important aspects of their care plan, such as the existence of an advance directive?”

Great questions. Sometimes difficult to answer.


Mark’s Thoughts:
I heard a helpful analogy by my friend Barry Bloom during his WCI session with Dr. Teresa Bartlett about Evidence Based Causation (they were an awesome team). It’s all about perspective, and even though everybody has access to the same information they can often draw different conclusions. The most memorable line to him from the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire was “Show me the money” because those words (or at least intentions) have been used in so many personal and business circumstances. Because that was his takeaway, he (subconsciously) assumed everybody else did too. However, asking others he found they remembered “You complete me” or “You had me at hello.” Same movie, same script, different outcomes. Medicine based solely on opinions (instead of science) can yield similar disconnects. So…”Show Me The Evidence.” The rationale of “because I said so” is used in parenting and medicine. It is not very effective in either scenario.

To read everything on my mind this past week, please visit me on LinkedIn at

Until Next Week,