Measuring Clinical Processes Through Process Management

Clinical processes vary in types and even complexity. In a healthcare organization regardless of the type of process they employ, they still have to focus on measuring Clinical Processes in order to reap the full benefits of their process. Measuring process falls under the umbrella of Business process management. Business process management also referred to as BPM is a discipline that focuses on improving corporate performance by managing business processes. It uses various methods to discover, model, analyze, measure, improve, optimize, and automate business processes.

Put simply, any combination of methods used to manage a company’s business processes can be referred to as its business management process. These processes can be structured and repeatable or unstructured and variable. Though not required, enabling technologies are often used with business process management. In this day and age of technology, it is quite inevitable. Business process management is quite different from program management as BPM is a way of looking at and then controlling the processes that are present in an organization.

As an approach, BPM sees processes as important assets of an organization that must be understood, managed, and developed in order to deliver value-added products and services to clients or customers. It is an effective methodology to use in times of crisis to make certain that the processes are efficient and effective, as this will result in a better and more cost-efficient organization.

The term business process management covers how business processes are studies, identified, monitored, and changed in order to ensure that they run smoothly and can be improved over time. Business processes are often framed as the daily flow of work commonly referred to as workflow.

Business process management is best thought of as a business practice, encompassing techniques and structured methods that are used for measuring clinical processes. Though there are technologies on the market that carry the descriptor because of what they enable: namely, identifying and modifying existing processes so they align with a desired, presumably improved, a future state of affairs, business process management does not need technology to function. It is about formalizing and institutionalizing better ways for work to get done.

The steps that can be recognized in Business Process Management:

  • Analyze
  • Re-design and model
  • Implement
  • Monitor
  • Manage
  • Automate

Successfully employing BPM usually involves the following:

  • Organizing around outcomes not tasks to ensure the proper focus is maintained
  • Correcting and improving processes before (potentially) automating them; otherwise, all you’ve done is make the mess run faster
  • Establishing processes and assigning ownership lest the work and improvements simply drift away – and they will, as human nature takes over and the momentum peters out
  • Standardizing processes across the enterprise so they can be more readily understood and managed, errors reduced, and risks mitigated
  • Enabling continuous change so the improvements can be extended and propagated over time
  • Improving existing processes, rather than building radically new or “perfect” ones, because that can take so long as to erode or negate any gains achieved

Process Ownership: Who is Responsible for Each Process

To be able to have an effective process management it is necessary to define who is responsible for each of them. The Manager is responsible for process improvement, has the accountability to ensure the effectiveness of the process and values the need to protect processes. This is also called process ownership.

Process Mapping

A project mapping process aims to allow an organization to be process-oriented by giving it a horizontal management and process structure as opposed to a vertical one. It’s very common to find that companies are increasingly mapping their processes and then not knowing what to do with them. In fact, these companies fall into a management category still functioning with their background processes even though a new one has been made and is being talked about on paper only. Employees just received the memo and even go for training on how to carry out the new process and then just continue to do things the way they’ve always done it. One reason for this is that organizations don’t provide the tools that are needed to carry out the new process

To change the management of a company to functional horizontal is not a simple task nor quick. To do this, companies need to define key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor the performance of each process. Usually, about 40% of the information necessary for monitoring Key Performance Indexes are not in the company, having it would enable an organization to create new controls, customize systems and even create new processes.

Objectives of the Process Management  

  • Identify and resolve inter-process integration problems, conflicts between process and functional leaders, resource allocation and process alignment vs. strategy
  • Oversee the portfolio of a Company’s processes and align, prioritize, and allow transformation efforts (action plans).
  • Prioritization and Allocation of resources needed to achieve the objectives of the process.
  • Tracking and reporting metrics (indicators) of process performance of process owners.
  • Conduct and maintain Business work procedures and manuals.
  • The Process Committee is made up of a coordinator and members (all interested parties, focusing on the Board and first line management, as well as other guests they deem appropriate).
  • Another important factor that we must not forget is the change of culture in the organization, people are used to hierarchically answering their work, and management by processes these professionals respond to the process owners.

In conclusion, if there’s one thing to take away it is that process improvement is not a one-off activity but instead should be an ongoing continuously monitored initiative. When done properly it can help any organization be more productive.