I have noticed that several of my blog posts involve food…diets…etc It’s a true statement that one of my vices is really good food – not pretentiously good food – just plain good food. My pallet is not well refined, but I know when something tastes good and when I am served well.
One of my favorite restaurants is Jack Stack BBQ. Disclaimer: I live in Kansas City and talking BBQ is similar to talking about religion. There are alliances to BBQ that span generations of families. So, to be fair let me list the other greats in the Kansas City: 1)Gates – where “HI MAY I HELP YOU” is shouted at you when you walk in the door, 2) Arthur Bryants - where sweat is integral to experiencing the meal, and 3) Oklahoma Joes - only loses points because of the name.
According to the Kansas City BBQ Society (http://www.kcbs.us/ ), Carolyn Wells Ph. B, tells me it is measured on Appearance, Taste, and Tenderness. To achieve success in competition you must have quality in 5 areas: cooking unit, meat, seasoning, fuel, and most elusive, expertise of the chef.
For those of us with the untrained tongue, the challenge with BBQ is all data to assess are qualitative judgment’s – meaning, based on how I feel at that very moment I have made a judgment call on its goodness. Don’t get me wrong - when you taste a crispy chopped burnt end sandwich with just the right amount of salt, spicy sauce, and for me Cole Slaw on top, you will know what heaven will be like and I challenge anyone to say it’s not good.
So, what does BBQ have to do with Nurse Call? I look at Question #4 “During this hospital stay, after you pressed the call button, how often did you get help as soon as you wanted it?” Answers: Never, Sometimes, Usually, Always, and I never pressed the call button. I think would I ever answer "Always"?
One of the most concerning aspects of healthcare is measuring qualitative – questions based on “feelings” without creating a reasonable expectation for delivery. For example, asking “Did Jack Stack taste good?” to a random selection of people. (I have heard you East Coast folks think you know BBQ.) My perception of good BBQ is different than a person who prefers Memphis “Dry” BBQ , a North Carolina Vinegar based BBQ, and Texas hunk of meat they call BBQ.
In the next few blog posts I plan to break down question #4 and dig through how we can really expect to build continuous improvement and value from a “feelings” based survey question. How hospitals can use data that is existing in their facility to create quantitative Inidications of Care or what we call IndiCares™.
Just to get you started:
“During your hospital stay” this is a variable length of time. A metric based on an inconsistent variable is not easily understood and does not lend itself to being fixed. The time frame “your hospital stay” could be 1 day, 2 days, 1 week, or in a rare situation 1 month. The variable also could be a “frequent flier” as my favorite Children’s hospital calls their recurrent patients vs a one time in five years visitor. Their time may be short and consistent or random and long.
We have evaluated data from over 30,000 patient days and the interesting thing about the data it is until you break it down by specific consistent measures there are very few patterns. You have to stop looking at the data as Spaghetti and create a waffle structure.
A parting thought - If the data is barcoded according to which patient submitted it – why not just look at their nurse call statistics after their stay in comparison to their responses? If you are a hospital and don't know how to do that - call me or email me - I will tell you how to get to your data.
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