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How data is being used to humanize healthcare

Whole-person care means aligning the goals of the patient to the care team.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

Update: HIMSS20 has been canceled due to the coronavirus. Read more here.

Nusha Safabakhsh has long been intrigued by how humans influence system design and how these systems can be best optimized in care decisions. 

Traditionally, health systems have measured volume, she said. This has changed to measuring value. The operationalization of measurement and analytics to demonstrate value is especially important in end-of-life hospice care and in palliative care.

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Safabakhsh calls it whole person care, and as executive director of Measurement and Analytics at Providence St. Joseph Health, has been working with an analytics team on the whole-person-care model for the Institute for Human Caring.

One big success story this past year has been an ICU metric around completion of goals of care.

The journey she's been on to get to success started when she joined the Institute for Human Caring around 2014. It's held many challenges, she said.

"One big challenge, historically healthcare leaders did not have access to data as much as they do," Safabakhsh said. "How data informs decision-making is something that is new. A lot of times we have a hard time taking in information to see how it can be used in decision-making."

One component is central management to align the patient's goals with his or her care plan, so that treatment is aligned.

Whole-person care means seeing that a patient's social, spiritual and emotional needs are met, as well as their medical needs. It is understanding the priorities of the patient.

This is especially important in palliative care, for patients, such as those with chronic conditions, to determine what they do and don't wish to happen.

How well a health system responds depends on how well the system is designed, she said. Putting measurements around care show where interventions are wanted and avoids unwanted care and hospitalizations.

The Institute for Human Caring at Providence St. Joseph Health has published quality-improvement reporting for clinical staff to monitor practices related to advance care planning, the goals of care, shared decision-making, symptom management, palliative care and hospice care.

Nusha Safabakhsh will talk about The Power of Data to Transform and Humanize Healthcare, from noon to 1 p.m., Tuesday, March 10 at HIMSS20 in Orlando, Florida.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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