Why evidence, not culture, is the key to driving value-based healthcare

David Downing, Director of Health, SAS UK questions whether making a cultural change in healthcare is enough to deliver greater value to patients…

The NHS Confederation has done lots of great work on researching how to enhance decision-making so that every decision delivers greater value to patients (in terms of the quality of clinical outcome) and to healthcare organisations (in terms of operational effectiveness). In its most recent report on this subject, the Confederation focuses heavily on creating a culture of value, so that every person in the NHS puts ‘value’ front and centre – whether they are A&E nurses or CFOs. But will changing the way decisions are made – in terms of environments and behaviours – really result in decisions that output more value? Is making a cultural change enough?

At SAS we understand that creating that culture of value can only be fully realised when every clinical, administrative, financial and commissioning decision is underpinned by something much more powerful than ‘the will’ to deliver more value. In fact, without the ability to objectively evaluate challenges, interrogate actions and model the impact of outcomes on the greater patient population, how can we expect NHS professionals to be certain that their decisions are delivering additional value at the patient level?

In his work on value-based care renowned strategist Michael Porter includes information technology as an essential transformative force in delivering value-based care. He asks healthcare organisations to look at their IT systems and data resources, questioning whether they are siloed, whether they are capable of collecting accurate data and delivering the kinds of insights that can underpin change and enable greater value to be generated.

So how can NHS organisations and professionals derive this evidence they so richly need to inform their decisions of value? In our experience, and in our work with The Royal Brompton & Harefield Foundation Trust, NHS England and Kaiser Permanente, it comes down to three things: a robust data integration and management strategy; predictive, powerful analytics; and skilled experts to help our NHS customers to learn how to obtain the answers they need.

For further insight into this area, read our opinions on the NHS Confederation’s Decisions of Value paper including our views on culture versus information as an agent of change. I urge you to read the paper to learn why it is the hidden insights in all manner of NHS data that will transform decision-making and actively drive true patient-centricity.

David Downing

Director of Health




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