Clinical microbiology is one of the most vital departments within the healthcare industry, and as a science of interpretive judgment, the field is only getting more complex. As laboratory instruments advance to address the complexity of analyzing organisms and lab results, clinical microbiology lab leaders need to have confidence in the timeliness, quality, and accuracy of their interpretations. However, constrained resources have threatened leaders’ ability to manage infectious diseases by limiting their ease and accessibility to vital information. Now, there is continuous pressure on laboratories to offer better quality of care with fewer resources, and lab leaders are looking to their data for help.
Nosocomial infections cause unnecessary and lengthy patient stays. Additionally, Medicare won’t reimburse hospitals for these acquired infections that are considered preventable, so hospitals must absorb the costs associated with these outbreaks. Healthcare analytics can help manage these risks by tracking trends and identifying root causes in real time to immediately address the issues, rather than letting the problems fester. Analyses like the one shown below allow leaders to pinpoint where and what may have caused the outbreak.
Both MRSA and VRE are deadly superbugs that have devastating effects to the vitality of patients and healthcare institutions. The more quickly the infection is mitigated, the more effective strategic plans may be in preventing future outbreaks. This type of analysis allows labs to identify the time and location of the outbreak at a moment’s notice, allowing the institution to focus its efforts on isolating the outbreak’s spread.
Insightful data analysis also creates focus for an healthcare institution. Once an infection is identified, institutions will need to dedicate efforts toward future prevention. Antibiotic sensitivity testing on a vast amount of microorganisms can deliver an overwhelming amount of data to keep track and compare for preventative purposes. However, with reports like the one pictured below, leaders are able to leverage the analyses of organisms and effective antibiotics to see treatment patterns in each locale and assist in the future treatment options of repeat organisms.
Healthcare analytics provide laboratory leaders with critical information they need, when they need it most. Because microorganisms are susceptible to continuous mutations, labs can’t afford to waste manual efforts to track such a large subset of data every time they need to run a result. With analytics solutions, leaders can create in-depth reports to maintain a proactive clinical microbiology department by managing emerging infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance outcomes that save money for both parties.
The ultimate goal of preventing unnecessary outbreaks is to reduce lengthy patient hospital stays. Therefore, within an environment where results and patient interventions are dependent on the time these microbial tests are completed, optimizing resources is of the utmost priority. Only when microorganisms within patient samples are identified, are physicians able to appropriately treat the infection. Unfortunately, identification and AST results commonly span five to seven days, leaving patients vulnerable to life-threatening infections and high mortality rates. Institutions gain better insight into the underlying causes for prolonged turn-around times (TAT) with reports like the one below.
With these reports, microbiology leaders are able to obtain detailed information in order to identify opportunities for change, improvements in TAT, and better healthcare within the organization. With Viewics’ solution specifically, organizations are alerted to these outliers and delays that could increase patient length of stay. Blood culture gram stains that are read within an hour of a positive blood culture can potentially reduce mortality by 100%, as opposed to those that are read in longer than 1 hour. The benefits expand deeper into the organization, where implementing rapid TAT may reduce patient costs by thousands of dollars.
The future of healthcare relies on organizations’ ability to turn their data assets into insightful information. The most successful organizations will leverage their data for truly innovative and broad strategic planning.
You may also be interested in our on-demand panel discussion:
Tackling the U.S. Healthcare System’s Infectious Disease Management Problem.