There is $100M hidden in this picture. The power of pathways.

Mercy PhotoOperational efficiency is one of the critical issues facing the healthcare industry today.  You see it in the investments they are making, the increased role of the CFO in decision making, the concern over upcoming regulatory requirements and the emergence of a new class of data-driven executives.  It makes sense.  The industry wastes up to 30% of its expenditures each year.  That is a stunning # that has been well reported over the past few years.  

To some extent, your view of that number is dependent on your perspective.  If you are a policy maker that represents the glass half empty.  If you are an executive that represents the glass half full – that figure represents an opportunity to move the needle in your business in a massive way.  

That was perspective that Mercy Hospitals has taken.  They view operational efficiency as a critical priority for the organization.  They see it impacting everything from patient satisfaction to the top line and down to the bottom line.  They want to be a model for best practices for the entire industry.

One of their targets for operational efficiency was the care variances.  Mercy wanted the doctors in charge but wanted to arm them with the data-driven clinical pathways that reflect the Mercy approach, not just the generic literature.  As a result, they have embarked on an ambitious plan to accelerate the development of clinical pathways – using seven years of EMR data, patient records and other critical pieces of data as the input.

On the output side, they partnered with Ayasdi’s Care solution.  Our software helped them find a variety of “a-ha” moments that they didn’t know existed but once identified were clearly evident to the organization, smoothing their adoption of  those new best practices.  The result was enhanced patient care and reduced costs.  

Look at the picture above.  Note the area in red.  That represents the best outcome for patients of a particular type of knee surgery – total knee replacement to be specific. Those area in circled in yellow and colored blue were all performed by a small set of Doctors in a specific location in Mercy’s network.  They were applying an analgesic numbing agent before and after surgery.  Their patients were ambulating faster than others with the same condition – meaning they were recovering faster and going home sooner.  

The proverbial win-win.  

This was one of several “a-ha” moments that got the leadership and the physicians at Mercy to buy into data-driven clinical pathways.  Finding these insights organically was a very low probability.  Accelerating the discovery of these insights has real financial implications.  That’s why we call it the $100M picture.  

We recently produced a webinar on the engagement and you can view it here.  If, after taking it in, you have any questions don’t hesitate to drop us a line at