Healthcare – Measuring quality is not enough

Standardized Surgery

Measuring the quality of healthcare is a hot topic. International studies have shown that 1 in 10 patients come out of hospital with worse health issues than before. An unfortunate share of these medical misadventure ends with the patient dying – a dramatic outcome that in many cases may have been avoided with a few extra checks.1

Although medical care in Switzerland is generally perceived to be very good, Swiss hospitals continue to make an effort in establishing better indicators for quality measurements, especially relating to health outcomes. But how is good medical care defined nowadays? No two patients are alike and more often than not, treatments must be tailored to an individual patient’s complex sets of diagnoses. This makes valid comparisons of quality challenging. Besides, the even more important question might be, what actions can hospitals take to improve quality? After all, measuring quality alone is not enough to improve patient’s health outcomes.

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health releases periodic data indicating the quality of treatments conducted in Swiss hospitals, showing case numbers, mortality rates, types of interventions as well as the length of hospital stays for selected disease patterns. This aims to create more transparency for patients and add an additional perspective on internal quality discussions across hospitals. Nonetheless, those indicators should not be interpreted without careful evaluation. For instance, even if the data is risk-adjusted, university hospitals might have patients with a higher case severity than regional hospitals – an essential factor that is not always reflected in the data. In contrast, if the case number is small, indicators are prone to be heavily influenced by outliers and might not reflect the full picture.

Following these insights, most hospitals in Switzerland have implemented their own version of WHO’s surgical safety checklist to decrease the number of avoidable mistakes in surgery. Others have increased hygiene standards to decrease infections after surgical procedures.

We at Nodus Medical believe that there is more potential to be explored and we are convinced that the standardisation of both peri-operative as well as intra-operative elements for many surgical procedures will be the next big step towards better outcomes in surgery. Nodus Medical allows surgeons to brief their teams about patient risks before the operation, highlight important checks and risks throughout the procedure and offers a simple and precise way of tracking incidents. In addition, our software also supports the training of resident surgeons, creates more transparency and allows the benchmarking of outcomes of surgical treatments.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you take your quality management efforts to the next level and moving towards an even safer, more cost-effective system, reach out to us!

[1] Patient Safety – OECD.