Hospital financial performance and clinical outcomes are frequently compromised by unwarranted variations, which account for at least 25% of costs. The result is increasing waste in healthcare costs and decreasing quality of care and outcomes. One of the biggest opportunities to improve outcomes while significantly reducing costs is for hospital executive leadership to address unwarranted variations in a meaningful, comprehensive way. How can healthcare executives lead sustainable change to reduce unwarranted variations?
"By some estimates, 25-65% of all healthcare costs are attributable to unwarranted variations"
Unwarranted variations, these are unnecessary and undesirable differences in patient care - differences that do not arise from medical need, the recommendations of evidence-based medicine, or patient preferences. Understanding and addressing sources of variations let executives and clinicians focus on what is unique to the patient and their current situation. The main goal is to foster better care at the beginning of the patient pathway and extend that excellence throughout the care continuum.
Hospital leadership is in a unique position to see the overall effects that unwarranted variations have throughout the organization, patients and beyond. The customizable five-step roadmap, illustrated in the article, can create sustainable change in healthcare organizations. This paves the way for care that is both patient-centric and evidence based, and makes it possible to deliver precision medicine at scale.