In our current economy, improving healthcare value is absolutely essential. That means we must reduce healthcare costs, while at the same time increasing its quality. In other words, we have to focus on making healthcare much more cost-effective.
Part of the solution is reforming healthcare economic models, changing how care is paid, and redirecting the way healthcare providers compete because current methods fail to offer high value products and services to consumers. Arguably more important, however, is the need for healthcare professionals and consumers to:
Sadly, while drowning in oceans of information, t he healthcare industry lacks the knowledge and motivation needed to deliver high-value care. Proof includes:
How can this troubling situation be improved? By using and evolving collaborative health decision-models.
Health Decision-Models Described
Let's begin with describing health decision-models and how using them in collaborative environment is essential to increasing healthcare value.
What the Models Do
A good health decision-model increases awareness and understanding about people's health status, threats, problems and care options. It does this by offering personalized recommendations, instructions, feedback, and alerts based on mathematical and logical analyses of comprehensive personal health information. To be truly useful, this information should include data about a person's:
The model's recommendations and instruction, which should be supported by evidence-based guidelines and sound theory, ought to focus on helping people:
It’s important to note that models differ in many ways; for example, different models:
This means that certain models are more useful than others depending on the people utilizing them and the particular circumstances in which they are used. Yet despite these differences, the goal of decision-models used in healthcare should be to increase care cost-effectiveness. And achieving this goal requires collaboration.
Models and Collaboration
Collaboration is essential for bringing ever-greater value to the healthcare consumer by fostering model evolution, and by utilizing models in loosely-coupled collectives. These networks of people collaborate by working together to support shared decision-making and facilitate care coordination, which are two of the most important model-driven processes for high-value healthcare. That's why collaborative health decision-models are so important.
A "loosely-coupled collective" refers to people from multiple locations and with different roles, responsibilities and experiences who collaborate to make more valid decisions and competent actions. When such collaboration is among people with wide diversities of knowledge, ideas and points of view, the collective provides a larger collection of intellectual resource, and offers access to a greater variety of non-redundant information and knowledge on which to base decisions and actions. This is unlike a tightly-coupled network that limits participation to people within the same discipline, department, region, etc. who have access to the same information sources and who share similar experiences. Loosely-coupled collectives provide the greatest opportunities for stimulating multifaceted discussions and creative solutions.
Model Evolution through Collaboration in Loosely-Coupled Collectives
Collaborating around models helps evolve (improve) the models by making them more effective in:
Evolving health decision-models in this manner is accomplished by sharing and "playing with" the models. When people share and play with these models, they:
When they find models that disagree or generate invalid results, they:
By challenging the model's assumptions in these ways:
This all means that sharing and playing with models is an effective way to evolve health decision-models to increase their validity and usefulness.
Failure to evolve models in this manner can be disastrous! Take, for example, the famous mathematical model that brought Wall Street to its knees. The model was used for the past five years to justify risky mortgage-based investments, even though few understood it and even fewer questioned its assumptions. Invented by a mathematician, the model was based on the faulty assumption that home prices would continue to rise and few homeowners would be unable to pay back their mortgages. While some financial experts realized this was a seriously flawed model, it brought great wealth to many for years, so there was little incentive to criticize it. This very model is a root cause of the world's current financial meltdown.
The healthcare industry ought to learn a valuable lesson from that fiasco!
Enabling Loosely-Coupled Collectives with