“if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” – but how do you know it is not broken?

by  Mary Jagim, MSN, RN, CEN, FAEN | CNO at Infinite Leap

I have been in healthcare my entire life and throughout my career as an emergency nurse and a manager of a Trauma 1 Emergency Department I learned how to make decisions on the go, when every second counts, and sometimes where access to information is limited.

Therefore, what I found the most difficult at my job was trying to convince these around me that we also need to try new approaches and act quickly to solve the challenges we were facing.

But have you ever heard the saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”? I felt the same attitude when trying to convince my leadership about the need to make process changes. The result was, we were continuing to do things the old way.

Now that I have been in healthcare consulting for the last 15 years, I stopped disagreeing with that statement, as I understand now that this is a justifiable strategy when dealing with limited information.

However, what I started to say in response to this statement is: “but how do you know it is not broken?”

This opens the door to eye-opening discussions: we in healthcare are lacking access to basic operational data to make our processes work better for our patients, our staff, and our healthcare system.

Fortunately, by leveraging Real-Time Location Systems, we can finally get our hands on data that can help us drive better in-the-moment decisions, as well as look back to see if the process changes we apply make an impact.

RTLS utilizes automatically-collected location and status data to identify and monitor bottlenecks in healthcare processes (such as asset management or patient flow) and enables quick and easy benchmark and trend analysis across the enterprise. Not only will the operational performance data be accurate, comprehensive, and timely, but it will be collected automatically, without requiring manual data entry. With this data, organizations can objectively evaluate the success, or failure, of their process improvement initiatives.

I wish I would have had access to this type of data when being on the care provider side! So please, don’t settle on the status quo – let’s leverage tools that can challenge our assumptions, and help us find ways to improve healthcare.