Care for a stroke patient involves multiple care providers, specialties and interventions. The patient’s journey typically intersects with many different healthcare providers who don’t necessarily work collaboratively towards a seamless patient experience.
To optimize care and contain costs, healthcare consultants specializing in stroke can greatly benefit hospitals and health systems. In the scenario above, a healthcare consultant could quickly identify opportunities for collaboration and create flow maps that generate a dialogue along the entire continuum of care. Greater collaboration and communication enhances patient outcomes as all providers are on the same page.
A critical aspect in stroke care is to get patients the right care from the start. Studies have shown that several treatments for stroke patients reduce the amount of disability, complications and the risk of having another stroke. Despite recommended treatments and evidence these treatments provide a positive outcome, they are not used as often as they could be due to poor oversight or lack of awareness. A stroke consultant can help providers standardize care based on best practices. Providers can better identify the patients and the care needed. For example, a physician could better predict which patient is most likely to benefit from neuro thrombectomy and can direct the patient to a facility with those capabilities faster. Even standardizing forms can enhance clinical care. A study of six California hospitals standardized forms for use when stroke patients were admitted to and discharged from the hospital. Of the 413 patients treated, 63% of patients were more likely to receive optimal treatment after the forms were implemented than before. Only 44% of patients received optimal treatment the year before.
“Care of stroke patients is complicated, and the evidence is growing rapidly,” explained S. Claiborne Johnston, MD, PhD, principal investigator for a study on the use of standardized forms and a neurologist and director of the Stroke Service at University of California, San Francisco. “It’s difficult for busy clinicians to keep up with proven best practices, and things can fall through the cracks.”
Healthcare consulting can identify these opportunities and develop strategies for improvement. The power of healthcare consulting for stroke, combined with data analytics, can further improve stroke quality of care and patient outcomes. Datasets can be generated from instruments, sensors, Internet transactions, email, video, click streams, and/or all other digital resources utilized during care. Studying the data of patients’ treatments, outcomes and the cost can help identify the most clinically effective and cost-efficient treatments to apply. Measuring the end results of health care or how treatment is delivered and the associated costs has led to identifying gaps in quality of care and significant variations in the cost of care. Healthcare consulting for stroke can identify and provide solutions to bridge these gaps so that all stakeholders contribute and reap the benefits of better processes and procedures.
Consultants can also help healthcare providers to become certified as a Primary Stroke Center. This certification by the Joint Commission recognizes hospitals that meet standards to support better outcomes for stroke care. A few of the benefits of a Joint Commission certification include a consistent approach to high quality care, promoting a culture of excellence, compliance with regulatory requirements and the ability to secure new business. Hospitals that achieve certification have shown to have a more competitive edge in the marketplace, recruit and develop higher quality staff and are recognized by insurers and other third parities. A healthcare consultant can accelerate the certification process which is renewed every two-years.