Preventive care and utilizing hospital and discharge information are critical for stratification, say a number of thought leaders from organizations like Humana, Adventist Health, Taconic Professional Resources, Monarch Healthcare (a Pioneer ACO), and often lead to improved clinical and financial outcomes. Here, some advice from these thought leaders.
Across the healthcare continuum, improved clinical and financial outcomes at organizations like Humana, Adventist Health, Taconic Professional Resources, Monarch Healthcare (a Pioneer ACO), and Ochsner Health System were preceded by rigorous risk stratification of populations served.
“Humana encourages preventive care, and we are trying to prevent the most costly interventions by making sure we address things before they become big problems,” notes Gail Miller, vice president of telephonic clinical operations in Humana’s care management organization, Humana Cares/SeniorBridge. “It is successful so far. We have been able to reduce hospitalizations from what we expected by about 42 percent. We have been able to decrease our hospital readmission rate to 11 percent.”
Hospital admission and discharge information is critical for stratification, adds Annette Watson, RN-BC, CCM, MBA, senior vice president of community transformation for Taconic Professional Resources. “Depending on the model in a primary care practice (PCP), if a physician is not the admitting physician—if the admission is from a specialist, hospitalist, or through the ER—it cannot be assumed the PCP has the admission and discharge information. People may think physicians know about their patients being in the hospital, but that is not always the case.”
“Our first step in launching Monarch’s Pioneer ACO program was to develop a population disease profile in risk stratification analysis,” contributes Colin LeClair, executive director of accountable care at Monarch HealthCare. “With the help of Optum Actuarial Solutions, we identified the eight most prevalent and costly conditions in our population. We then identified the largest cohort of high-risk patients best suited for Monarch’s care management programs. Ultimately we isolated the top 6 percent of high-risk patients with a diagnosis of diabetes, congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or renal disease and found that of those patients, 6 percent account for 43 percent of total medical cost across the entire population. That analysis resulted in us targeting about 1,200 high-risk patients who have a similar constellation of issues.”
“You want to look at your high utilizers of care, because they’re using a great deal of care,” concludes Elizabeth Miller, RN, MSN, vice president of care management at White Memorial Medical Center, part of Adventist Health. “There’s potential for decreasing procedures, tests, ED visits, hospitalizations.”
2014 Healthcare Benchmarks: Stratifying High-Risk Patients captures the tools and practices employed by dozens of organizations in this prerequisite for care management and jumping-off point for population health improvement—data analytics that will ultimately enhance quality ratings and improve reimbursement in the industry's value-focused climate.