Gap analysis in healthcare Gap analysis

Gap analysis in healthcare

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What is gap analysis in healthcare?

Gaps in healthcare refers to the areas that need to be upgraded with respect to mechanisms, bets practices and technology used in the facility. Hence, gaps is technically a difference between the treatment provided to the patient and the best practice that needs to be provided to them.

Healthcare facilities perform gap analysis to bring out such differences in their management. They understand where the management needs to improve in order to serve the patients in a much batter and suitable way.

Gap analysis in healthcare Gap analysis

Let’s look at some examples of gaps in healthcare:

  • A patient with a family history of diabetes does not get a regular checkup of insulin levels.
  • A kid who is not lined up for regular vaccinations and booster doses. 
  • A patient ignores the recommended prescripted drugs for his illness. 
  • A patient living in an isolated locality does not receive a proper healthcare.
  • An old-age patient having a high risk of blood pressure issues does not get a timely healthcare attention. 

Healthcare facilities are advised to analyze such gaps so that their establishment can provide a better solutions to the patients admitted in their facilities, clearing the difference between the “reality” and an “ideal” state of operations. 

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Steps to perform gap analysis in healthcare

Depending on the divisions, facilities and programs of the healthcare organizations, gap analysis is done in a smaller or larger scales. Here the 5 steps taken to perform gap analysis in healthcare:

Step 1: Identify the “real” state of the program

In order to close your gap, you need to identify one. After identifying the gap, study how intense or serious it is. You can perform RAG analysis which makes use of colours yellow, green and red. Red being the worse and green being an ideal state. In case of a red RAG status, you need to identify how long has it been red and the factors that has been affecting it. 

Step 2: Identify the “ideal” state and best practices

For you to be able to work towards closing the gaps, you need to define where you are going to move. You need to define the goals or an “ideal” state you want to take your program to. An ideal way of defining a target is of 4-5 years. See where you are now and develop ideas to design new best practices to overcome the gaps.

Gap analysis in healthcare Gap analysis

Step 3: Identify the nature of gaps

One of the gaps in a healthcare facility can be low patient satisfaction rates. You need to ask questions as to what are the facilities provided to them and how are they different from the facilities you aim to provide the patients. 

Conduct surveys, interviews, focus group observations with the patients to determine what makes them unsatisfied about the facilities provided to them. Take a look at how successful organizations are tackling such issues and modify your organizational policies if needed. 

Step 4: Develop and implement a plan

Once you have identified the wrongs in your system, it is time to make the changes. Set a course of action in place that will work towards closing the identified gaps. The main thing to watch out for is the abundance of resources. Make sure you have enough resources to support your new set plan of action. In case of discrepancies regarding the resources, you are going to have to revisit your plans and modify them accordingly.  

Step 5: Monitor

Once the gap is closed or in a process to be closed, your work does not end there. It is equally important to pay attention to the factors that have affected the facility all this time and make sure to prevent them before they create any more gaps. Along with it, you have to observe the working of your plans so that they don’t collapse through the cracks that you may have not noticed before. 

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Benefits of gap analysis in healthcare:

  • External benchmarking – this allows you to compare the internal current healthcare program with some external criteria. Like a hospital that wants to improve its follow-up programs with the patients, it would be a good practice to look up to the competitors who are doing well in that particular area in their facility. 
  • Profit analysis – profit percentage determine whether your defined target is achieved or not. The profit is affected by poor resources, competition or a lot of factors that need proper attention from time to time. Gap analysis helps you to identify these factors and keep your profit percentage on track. 
  • Improving the process – the success of the healthcare organization is majorly dependent on the processes used. A gap analysis will help you build a bridge between the defects in the running processes and how they can be implemented in a better way. 
  • Key performance indicators – KPI are customer acquisitions, ROI and target sales are the factors of gaps. Facility hygiene-related issues are dedicated to management and they can look into the unachieved goals. 
  • Market gaps – gap analysis in healthcare helps you to identify the difference between patient experiences provided in your facility vs the market gaps. It helps you understand why the facility achieved market recognition in a way determined. 

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