Healthcare facilities can engage in performance tracking to supplement upgrades

Over the past three years, more than 150 hospitals have adopted QUEST, a healthcare program that encourages information sharing between medical facilities in 31 states. By participating in the initiative, these medical facilities agree to share data so they can adopt a common framework that measures their performance, thus providing them with an incentive to continue increasing their care against other services around the country.

Overall, participation in the program helped reduce the mortality rate at these facilities by 18 percent, according to a press release by Premier healthcare alliance, a patient care data analyst firm, saving an estimated 24,000 lives and helping to reduce healthcare spending by nearly $4.5 billion. If adopted in every major hospital, the release suggests that more than 87,000 patient deaths could be saved each year.

"Once we saw what could be achieved, we had a very systematic way to focus and work on performance improvement," Terry Andrus, CEO of East Alabama Medical Center, which provides informational resources to physicians, said in the release. "All the QUEST measures are very clear, making it easier for us to articulate the vision of where we want to be, and get buy-in from doctors, nurses, administrators and our board. It's crystallized our quality work and given us a clear path forward."

While small medical facilities and private practices can't engage directly in the Quest program, they can take other steps to ensure that the performance of their employees is on track with their goals and expectations.

For example, by working with a trusted consultant that also provides medical practice management software, small medical professionals can gain the tools they need to better track patient care metrics while distributing resources in an even and effective manner.

Microwize Technology is a leading retailer of healthcare IT products, including electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Lytec, Allscripts and McKesson.