BPM and Healthcare

  • November 20, 2011
  • Scott

ebizQ has an interesting two-page article on BPM and Healthcare titled “BPM: The healthcare industry’s prescription for serving patients better“, which uses the label BPM broadly (not specifically meaning “BPMS”):

For example, Nunn says, one facility used BPM to reduce the number of patient falls—a common problem among elderly people and those recovering from surgery. After analyzing data, the facility changed the layout of its beds so nurses could better keep an eye on patients when they got up at night to use the bathroom, which was when most falls were recorded.

In another case, Nunn worked with a hospital trying to pinpoint why many of its heart-surgery patients were getting infections. By examining the entire process of surgery from admittance to discharge, Nunn’s team was able to determine that an autoclave, a machine for sterilizing instruments, was not working properly, even though its gauges indicated that it was reaching the proper temperatures. After the hospital replaced the machine, infection rates plummeted.

As I’ve said at other times, there’s a place for more “case” oriented approaches in hospitals and healthcare, but the case approach would *never* address changing the layout of beds, nor determining that the autoclave isn’t sterilizing sufficiently.

To those that think that examining aggregate outcomes is irrelevant in patient care, I’m telling you, you are missing the boat.  Note that the above two examples I picked out don’t necessarily require BPM (six sigma analysis likely would turn this up), BPM can be the instrument for collecting and analyzing the data that allows the six sigma (or other experts) to determine root cause – or failing root cause, at least to identify correlation.

This isn’t the first time we’ve pointed to good work by others, documenting the benefits of BPM to the healthcare business, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

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