Spiraling healthcare costs and growing concern over the quality of patient care are topics of intense focus across the industry. One key to improving quality and reducing cost lies in monitoring, analyzing, and reducing variability that does not add value. These capabilities are critical now, and will become even more so as the industry continues to change. As new reimbursement models are introduced that incent reduced resource use and improved outcomes, organizations will have no choice but to take a more disciplined approach to this task.

Introducing more consistency into patient care doesn’t imply the elimination of clinical judgment, or a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Rather, it entails the integration of evidence-based medicine with analysis and identification of those decisions/practices that incur costs without demonstrable payoff. This requires that management work collaboratively with clinical staff to identify those factors with the greatest impact on quality and cost.

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