Archive for the ‘Quality Improvement’ Category

Service Action Teams Turn Front-Line Staff into Patient Experience Ambassadors

August 8th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan
Patient Experience

Increasingly, patient satisfaction scores figure into payors’ healthcare reimbursement formulas.

UnityPoint Health is so invested in the concept of patient experience that it charges each member of its organization, whether healthcare provider or not, with a set of basic behaviors designed to improve it.

These four foundational behaviors, rooted in courtesy and common sense, drive the manner in which patients, families and visitors are greeted and assisted at all times.

“We know there are dozens of initiatives and tactics that can be used to help improve patient experience,” said Paige Moore, director of patient experience at UnityPoint Health-Des Moines, “But the four we chose were driven by patient and visitor comments and feedback.”

Ms. Moore shared these behaviors, as well as an inside look at her organization’s patient experience improvement plan, during Improving the Patient Experience: Engaging Front-line Staff for a System-Wide Action Plan, a July 2017 webinar now available in on-demand and training formats.

Having established this system-wide coda for all employees, UnityPoint Health next looked at further enlisting its frontline staff in efforts to improve the patient experience. To do so, it created a set of seven service action teams, with two more in the works.

Each service action team is composed of at least 50 percent of that department’s frontline staff, rounded out by an executive sponsor and team lead.

“We want all of our team members to be actively engaged in the projects, to take responsibility for them, to be ambassadors and patient experience champions throughout the organization,” explained Ms. Moore.

Each team reviews results from HCAHPS® and Press Ganey® patient experience surveys to identify department priorities, such as nurses’ narration of care, physicians’ use of clear language, or discharge or transfer processes.

UnityPoint Health launched its first service action team in 2014 for outpatient services. “This was our largest volume for surveys and it also had some of our lowest patient experience performance. We really wanted to get in and see what could we do to make the biggest impact on the highest number of our patients.”

Once that team developed some tactics to improve patient privacy concerns, wait times and registration processes, it saw improvements in those areas.

During the program, Ms. Moore outlined priorities and shared results from each service action team.

Importantly, there are two support service action teams: a measurements team to educate employees on the relevance of patient experience scores and their role in them, and a communications team to convey information on patient experience activities throughout UnityPoint Health. The health system also recently launched an “Excellence in Patient Experience” awards program.

And rounding out the program is the placement of patient experience directors like Ms. Moore throughout the organization, each supported by a physician champion.

Physician education in patient experience is ongoing, she added, whether during rounds or mandatory one-on-one shadowing and coaching for patient experience for all new hires.

Listen to an interview with Paige Moore on UnityPointHealth’s four foundational behaviors.

Infographic: Patient Matching Errors

July 21st, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Mistaken identities and unmatched patient healthcare records can have serious consequences, according to a new infographic by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The infographic looks at common patient matching problems and the impact on healthcare quality and costs.

The Science of Successful Care Transition Management: Leveraging Home Visits to Improve Readmissions and ROIA care transitions management program operated by Sun Health since 2011 has significantly reduced hospital readmissions for nearly 12,000 Medicare patients, resulting in $14.8 million in savings to the Medicare program.

Using home visits as a core strategy, the Sun Health Care Transitions program was a top performer in CMS’s recently concluded Community-Based Care Transitions (CBCT) demonstration project, which was launched in 2012 to explore new solutions for reducing hospital readmissions, improving quality and achieving measurable savings for Medicare.

The Science of Successful Care Transition Management: Leveraging Home Visits to Improve Readmissions and ROI explores the critical five pillars of the Arizona non-profit’s leading care transitions management initiative, adapted from the Coleman Care Transitions Intervention®.

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“My Pleasure” or “No Problem”: Which Response Would Healthcare Consumers Prefer to Hear?

July 19th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Healthcare Scripting

How effective is scripting in the healthcare setting?

Years ago an article I read in a business magazine suggested replacing the phrase “No problem” with “My pleasure” when responding to a customer request. Attune to this language nuance, it began to irk me when someone would say “No problem” and conversely when I respond “My pleasure” a customer interaction takes a more positive spin.

Fast forward many years, and I’ve started to hear an increasing number of healthcare organizations using scripting in a variety of ways…to improve the patient experience, increase patient engagement, protect patient privacy and in a host of other circumstances.

How effective are these scripts? Can they help increase patient satisfaction and engagement? Will they have an impact on HCAHPS and HEDIS scores? What’s your experience with scripting in patient and member interactions?

2017 ACO Snapshot: As Adoption Swells, Social Determinants of Health High on Accountable Care Agenda

June 29th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

Nearly two-thirds of 2017 ACO Survey respondents attribute a reduction in hospital readmissions to accountable care activity.

Healthcare organizations may have been wary back in 2011, when the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) first introduced the accountable care organization (ACO) model. The HHS viewed the ACO framework as a tool to contain skyrocketing healthcare costs.

Fast-forward six years, and most resistance to ACOs appears to have dissipated. According to 2017 ACO metrics from the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN), ACO adoption more than doubled from 2013 to 2017, with the number of healthcare organizations participating in ACOs rising from 34 to 71 percent.

During that same period, the percentage of ACOs using shared savings models to reimburse its providers increased from 22 to 33 percent, HIN’s fourth comprehensive ACO snapshot found.

And in the spirit of delivering patient-centered, value-based care, ACOs have embraced a whole-person approach. In new ACO benchmarks identified this year, 37 percent of ACOs assess members for social determinants of health (SDOH). In support of that trend, the 2017 survey also found that one-third of responding ACOs include behavioral health providers.

Since that first accountable care foray by HHS, the number of ACO models has proliferated. The May 2017 HIN survey found that, of current ACO initiatives, the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) remains the front runner, with MSSP participation hovering near the same 66 percent level attained in HIN’s 2013 ACO snapshot.

Looking ahead to ACO models launching in 2018, 24 percent of respondents will embrace the Medicare ACO Track 1+ Model, a payment design that incorporates more limited downside risk.

This 2017 accountable care snapshot, which reflects feedback from 104 hospitals, health systems, payors, physician practices and others, also captured the following trends:

  • More than half—57 percent—participate in the Medicare Chronic Care Management program;
  • Cost and provider reimbursement are the top ACO challenges for 18 percent of 2017 respondents;
  • Clinical outcomes are the most telling measure of ACO success, say 83 percent of responding ACOs;
  • Twenty-nine percent of respondents not currently administering an ACO expect to launch an accountable care organization in the coming year;
  • 75 percent expect CMS to try and proactively assign Medicare beneficiaries to physician ACO panels to boost patient and provider participation.

Download HIN’s latest white paper, “Accountable Care Organizations in 2017: ACO Adoption Doubles in 4 Years As Shared Savings Gain Favor,” for a summary of May 2017 feedback from 104 hospitals and health systems, multi-specialty physician practices, health plans, and others on ACO activity.

Shared SNF Patients, Common Readmissions Goals Unify Three Competing Health Systems

June 15th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

A common desire to reduce SNF readmissions resulted in the formation of Michigan's Tri-County SNF Collaborative.

A common desire to reduce SNF readmissions resulted in the formation of Michigan’s Tri-County SNF Collaborative.

Concerned about escalating hospital readmissions from skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and the accompanying pinch of Medicare readmissions penalties, three Michigan healthcare organizations decided to set competition aside to collaborate and reduce rehospitalizations from SNFs. Here, Susan Craft, director of care coordination, family caregiver program, Office of Clinical Quality & Safety at Henry Ford Health System, describes the origins of Michigan’s Tri-County SNF Collaborative, of which her organization is a founding member.

I want to talk about the formation of the Tri-County SNF Collaborative between Henry Ford Health System, Detroit Medical Center, and St. John Providence Health System. As quality and care transition leaders from each of the health systems, we see each other frequently at various meetings. After some good conversation, we learned that each of us was partnering with our SNFs to improve quality and reduce readmissions.

We all required that they submit data to us that was very similar in nature but not exactly the same, which created a lot of burden for our SNFs to conform to multiple reporting requirements. We knew we were working with the same facilities because geographically, we are all very close to each other. We recognized that this was really a community problem, and not an individual hospital problem. Although we are all competing healthcare systems, those of us with very similar roles in the organization had very little risk from working together. And because we had so much in common, it just made sense that we create this collaborative.

We also worked with our MPRO (Michigan Quality Improvement Organization) and reviewed data that showed that about 30 percent of our patient population was shared between our three health systems. We decided it made sense to move forward. We created a partnership that was based on collaboration and transparency, even within our health systems. We identified common metrics to be used by all of our organizations and agreed upon operational definitions for each of those. We all reached out to our SNF partners to tell them about the collaborative and invite them to join, and then engaged MPRO as our objective third party. We created a charter to solidify that cooperation and collaboration.

Source: A Collaborative Blueprint for Reducing SNF Readmissions: Driving Results with Quality Reporting and Performance Metrics

reducing SNF readmissions

A Collaborative Blueprint for Reducing SNF Readmissions: Driving Results with Quality Reporting and Performance Metrics examines the evolution of the Tri-County SNF Collaborative, as well as the set of clinical and quality targets and metrics with which it operates.

Infographic: Healthcare Scorecards Versus Dashboards

April 3rd, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Healthcare organizations use scorecards and dashboards to measure and sustain outcomes improvement, according to a new infographic by HealthCatalyst.

The infographic examines how organizations use dashboards versus scorecards and the key features of each.

2016 Healthcare Benchmarks: Data Analytics and IntegrationThe 2016 Healthcare Benchmarks: Data Analytics and Integration assembles hundreds of metrics on data analytics and integration from hospitals, health plans, physician practices and other responding organizations, charting the impact of data analytics on population health management, health outcomes, utilization and cost.

2016 Healthcare Benchmarks: Data Analytics and Integration examines the goals, data types, collection processes, program elements, challenges and successes shared by healthcare organizations responding to the January 2016 Data Analytics survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network. Click here for more information.

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Infographic: Protecting Patients From Falls

March 29th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

In upstate New York, one in four adults ages 65 or older fell at least once in the last year, according to a new infographic by Univera Healthcare.

The infographic examines the impact of those falls on this population and on emergency room utilization, fall risk factors and fall prevention strategies.

Visiting targeted patients at home, especially high utilizers and those with chronic comorbid conditions, can illuminate health-related, socioeconomic or safety determinants that might go undetected during an office visit. Increasingly, home visits have helped to reduce unplanned hospitalizations or emergency department visits by these patients.

2017 Healthcare Benchmarks: Home Visits examines the latest trends in home visits for medical purposes, from populations visited to top health tasks performed in the home to results and ROI from home interventions.

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5-Part Framework for MIPS Success Under MACRA

March 2nd, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

Before picking MACRA pace, physician practices should construct a framework for MIPS success.

Along with picking a MACRA pace, physician practices should construct a framework for MIPS success.

Regardless of the pace a healthcare organization sets for Quality Payment Program participation, there are some key tactics that should form the framework of any MACRA initiative. Here, William Holding, consultant with PDA Inc., outlines the critical elements organizations need to achieve “MACRA-readiness.”

  • The first component for success is perhaps the most important, and that’s having a culture of provider support. A willingness to explore new options. This component is free, so if you don’t have that culture in place today, before going and investing in analytics products, performance improvement or new staffing, you’ve got to put this culture in place. We have seen organizations do this successfully, and make the journey into accountable care organizations (ACOs) or value-based programs by working on this piece first.
  • Second is strategic planning. Set measurable goals. That’s important. Look ahead one year, two years, three years. Set goals that have timelines, and goals that are reasonably achievable.
  • The next piece is strong leadership. If you don’t have a quality committee or a Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) committee, consider establishing one, and establishing a position lead in that program. It should be a multidisciplinary effort. Pull physicians, mid-levels, nursing leadership, IT and program management into that program. You should have tailored reporting strategies that align with your planning efforts.

    I’ve experienced teams that didn’t work well. In working with large systems, even with the support of clinical leadership and with the right analytical skills, efforts, I have witnessed efforts that were slower than they should have been until they brought in the right team member. This team member possessed in-depth knowledge of clinical workflows, had clout within the organization, knew personnel across IT, could talk to providers, and was a good communicator. When that person was on the team, the efforts began to move forward much faster. You’ve got to find the right people to be involved.

  • Next, data analytics is key. This starts with an individual with the right skills. It doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive solution for this. Sometimes ad hoc solutions work just fine for certain organizations. However, you need the right individual who knows the data, who knows how to respond to requests from leadership, and who can really own it.
  • Lastly, clinical documentation is essential. Doing that well will improve your position in this program.

Source: Physician MACRA-Readiness: Mining QRUR and Other CMS Data to Maximize MIPS Performance

social determinants of health

Physician MACRA-Readiness: Mining QRUR and Other CMS Data to Maximize MIPS Performance describes the wealth of data analytics available from the CMS Enterprise Portal—Quality Resource Use Reports (QRURs) and other analyses providing a window into practice performance under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). MIPS is one of two MACRA reimbursement paths and the one where most physician practices are expected to align.

Infographic: Navigating the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System

February 17th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

The goal of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ new quality program, the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), is to streamline quality reporting to CMS and improve care, according to a new infographic by athenaInsight, Inc.

The infographic examines how MIPS will impact an average clinician this year…and in 2019 when the 2017 reporting will impact a clinician’s reimbursement rates.

Infographic: EHR + CRM = Superior Patient Engagement

Under CMS’s “Pick Your Pace” choices for Year 1 Quality Payment Program participation, physician practices may opt for the minimum activity necessary to avoid a payment penalty in 2019: simply submitting some data in 2017.

However, instead of delaying MACRA participation to the later part of this year, physicians should prepare and better position themselves today for MIPS success by analyzing their existing CMS data on their practices’ performance and laying a path toward performance improvement.

Physician MACRA-Readiness: Mining QRUR and Other CMS Data to Maximize MIPS Performance describes the wealth of data analytics available from the CMS Enterprise Portal–Quality Resource Use Reports (QRURs) and other reports providing a window into practice performance under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). MIPS is one of two MACRA reimbursement paths and the one where most physician practices are expected to align.

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HINfographic: Healthcare Industry Trends for 2017

February 8th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Value-based healthcare, the drive for quality and the uncertainty regarding the Affordable Care Act under the President Donald Trump administration are just some of the factors impacting the healthcare industry this year, according to HIN’s Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2017: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry.

A new infographic by HIN examines the key trends that will impact the healthcare industry this year.

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2017: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry Not in recent history has the outcome of a U.S. presidential election portended so much for the healthcare industry. Will the Trump administration repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? What will be the fate of MACRA? Will Medicare and Medicaid survive?

These and other uncertainties compound an already daunting landscape that is steering healthcare organizations toward value-based care and alternative payment models and challenging them to up their quality game.

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2017: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry, HIN’s 13th annual business forecast, is designed to support healthcare C-suite planning during this historic transition as leaders prepare for both a new year and new presidential leadership.

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