Clinical

Success Stories

Care Management: A Critical Component of Effective Population Health Management

Unprecedented changes in the healthcare payment system have resulted in health organizations across the country investing in the pursuit of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI’s) Triple Aim to improve population health, improve patient experience and outcomes, and reduce costs per capita. Health organizations must develop effective population health management strategies, and they need the right data and analytics to inform their initiatives.
 
Once armed with the information to make data-driven decisions, leading healthcare providers are implementing care management programs, which have proven to be helpful mechanisms for achieving the Triple Aim. Many healthcare organizations have identified specific patient cohorts to monitor the impact of care management interventions on individual and population health outcomes.
 
Data-driven care management programs that target high-risk and rising-risk patients can achieve impressive results, including:

Up to 20 percent lower rates of hospitalization in mature care management programs.
Lower rates of emergency department utilization.
Decreased costs.

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How to Significantly Reduce Sepsis Mortality

Up to 50 percent of all hospital deaths in the United States are linked to sepsis. That sepsis mortality statistic was not lost on Piedmont Healthcare, a system of six hospitals and more than 100 physician and specialist offices across greater Atlanta and North Georgia. Sepsis accounted for half of Piedmont’s mortality rate, despite years of progress in sepsis care.
 
Piedmont leaders recognized that they needed an innovative quality improvement methodology to spread best practices and sustain improvement, supported by an accessible source of timely, reliable, and actionable information. They therefore implemented a “core and spread” team structure to promote enterprise-wide adoption of best practices. The health system also deployed a sepsis prevention analytics application to deliver performance insight to all levels of the organization, and discovered a high correlation between better patient and financial outcomes and the number of bundle elements the patient received.  Being able to tie outcomes to interventions, along with the incorporation of nurse driven protocols, resulted in sustained practice change and greater engagement from physicians, nursing and frontline staff, all the way to the Board level.
 
As a result, Piedmont achieved the following impressive outcomes:

5.8 percent reduction in mortality for all patients with severe sepsis and septic shock, translating to 26 lives saved in one year.
2.5 percent reduction in total inpatient length of stay (LOS).
8.2 percent reduction in variable cost per case, equating to $4.3 million saved in one year.

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ICU Avoidance: Lowering Costs, Patient Risk, and LOS

A stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) is both costly and risky. In a sobering example of the latter, nearly one third of patients admitted to the ICU experience delirium, a state of cognitive impairment that can increase risk of death in the hospital. Still, many cardiovascular patients need intensive care that can only be provided safely in an intensive care unit, requiring hospitals to assure enough beds and skilled ICU staff for these patients—while quickly identifying which patients can receive care as good or better in another unit.
 
Allina Health has achieved this dual objective with a concerted ICU avoidance strategy for specific complex sub-populations of cardiovascular (CV) patients. The foundation of this strategy is risk-informed decisions about which patients can avoid the ICU; clinical staff education; and an analytics platform and enterprise data warehouse (EDW) from Health Catalyst that enables CV care leaders to monitor safety metrics for those patients who avoid a stay in the ICU. So far, Allina Health’s efforts have resulted in the following achievements:

636 additional ICU days made available for more critically ill patients by employing ICU avoidance strategies
One-day reduction length of stay (LOS) for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) patients
$589,000 cumulative cost savings

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Nurse-Driven Protocol Optimizes Management of Post Op Afib While Reducing LOS and Costs

Post Operative Atrial Fibrillation occurs in up to 30 percent of all patients after cardiac surgery. This serious complication increases the length of the patient’s hospital stay, and is associated with a twofold increase in the incidence of cerebral infarction and an increased risk of 30-day mortality. Timely and consistent management of Post Op Afib can prevent significant complications and help prevent death. To standardize such an approach to managing Post Op Afib, Allina Health’s Minneapolis Heart Institute created a physician committee to raise consensus on and develop a protocol for Post Op Afib management.
 
The committee ultimately created a nurse-driven protocol and decision support algorithm linked to the health system’s electronic health record (EHR). Additionally, it uses analytics, supported by Health Catalyst’s Late-Binding™ Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), to track physician ordering rate, patient outcomes, and cost. This combination of people, processes, and analytics tools has made a significant difference for Allina and its patients.

Two-day reduction in ICU LOS.
5.9 percentage point reduction in ICU readmission rate.
$1.5 million savings.

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Leveraging Risk Assessment to Decrease LOS and Cost for PCI Patients

Percutaneous Cardiac Intervention (PCI) is a minimally-invasive alternative to open heart surgery—a procedure that approximately 600,000 U.S. patients will undergo this year.
 
Allina Health, a non-profit health system with 90+ clinics and 13 hospitals with locations throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin, is a leading provider of the procedure in Minnesota. Allina Health discovered that major bleeding events following PCI procedures (the most common non cardiac complication of PCI), though not affecting mortality, were increasing length of stay (LOS) and cost.
 
To improve the quality of its PCI procedures and decrease costs, Allina Health recognized the need to accurately assess bleeding risk and then implemented best-practice interventions to prevent major bleeding events.
 
Already, physicians and patients have seen that these new interventions, which includes a bleeding risk assessment tool, allows clinicians to focus interventions based on risk and reduce complications. The top results from Allina Health’s interventions include:

5.3 percentage point reduction (a 21.7 percent relative reduction) in complication rate.
$1.8M cost savings.
1.4 percentage point reduction (a 36.5 percent relative reduction) in LOS for patients at high risk for bleeding who receive a closure device.

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A Service Line Approach Improves Women’s Health at UPMC

By the age of 60, more than one-third of women in the United States have had a hysterectomy. Healthcare systems across the country are recognizing that a women’s health service line offers a pathway to improving care and decreasing cost for these patients. Having accurate activity-based costing information is necessary to uncover opportunities for clinical practice improvement and cost reduction.
 
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) made the decision to organize Women’s Health as a service line across the entire health system. UPMC fortified this approach with strong and collaborative leadership, an enterprise data warehouse, and an activity-based cost management system. The results:

20 percent reduction in inpatient length of stay for hysterectomies (over a three-year time period)
34 percent reduction in open hysterectomies
28.3 percent reduction in 30-day readmissions for hysterectomies

These results were obtained during a time when this clinical service saw a 25 percent improvement in its contribution margin.

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Developing a Multilevel Approach to Improving Population Health

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, yet heart attacks are largely preventable through healthier lifestyles. Spurred on by this knowledge, New Ulm Medical Center, the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, and the rural community of New Ulm, Minnesota, teamed up to create Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm (HONU) Project. This population-based prevention demonstration project aims to reduce the number of heart attacks and heart disease risk factors among the New Ulm population.
 
Recognizing the complex web of personal, institutional, and societal factors that influence an individual’s heart-health behaviors, HONU leaders implemented a multilevel strategy spanning 10 years to improve the health of the entire population.
 
The HONU Project’s multilevel, data-driven approach has resulted in substantial changes in improving population health in New Ulm:

Significant improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol at the population level.

86 percent of residents now have blood pressure within the recommended range.
72 percent have LDL cholesterol within the recommended range.

Improvements are greater than changes seen in the national comparison population.

 

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Reducing HAC Rates to Keep Kids Safe and Healthy

Hospital-acquired conditions (HACs)—such as central line-associated blood stream infections (CLASBIs) and pressure ulcers (PUs)—cause harm and adversely affect patients’ lives, while also increasing hospital length of stay (LOS) and total hospital costs. In fact, each case of CLABSI alone costs up to $55,000 to treat and makes health systems vulnerable to reimbursement penalties.1
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW), a nationally ranked pediatric center with two hospitals and a surgery center, recognized that reducing the rate of HACs in its facilities would require major systematic changes. CHW’s approach to transforming care to prevent HACs included cultural changes with an emphasis on staff education and engagement and a new governance structure to support the initiative. These changes were powered by high-tech tools and quicker access to new types of data that CHW didn’t have in the past.
The hospital’s implementation of its comprehensive and collaborative HAC reduction plan has resulted in measurable quality of care improvements and cost reductions, including:

$1.6 million savings realized to date as a result of a 30 percent reduction in the overall number of HACs
23 percent reduction in central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs)
74 percent reduction of pressure ulcers (PUs)
68 percent reduction in venous thromboembolisms (VTEs)

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How an IDS Standardized Care for Women While Increasing Market Share

One in three pregnant women give birth via cesarean section in the United States, which is more than double the rate the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends. And instead of decreasing, the overall C-section rate in Washington State increased 73 percent from 1996 to 2009. C-section rates are just one area of maternal care where our practice in the U.S. lags behind the science and knowledge of best practice. MultiCare Health System believes that all of its female patients should experience the same high-quality care across its integrated delivery system. The health of the next generation depends on it.
MultiCare recognized that it had to standardize care across its system to meet quality standards, improve its patients’ experiences and outcomes, and maintain its market share. The health system launched a Women’s Collaborative, the sole purpose of which was to improve clinical care and patient outcomes for women’s services systemwide.
By working with clinicians to implement standards of care, and using analytics to measure performance, the Women’s Collaborative achieved the following:

NTSV (low-risk, rst-time mother) C-section rate 9 percent less than the national average and already below the 2022 national goal of 23.9 percent
Six-point increase in market share for inpatient OB/GYN services
Improvements in care delivery:

63 percent reduction in episiotomy rate

11 percent reduction in SSI rate for C-sections
14 percent reduction in 3rd or 4th degree perineal laceration rate
Non medically indicated induction rate consistently less than a quarter of one percent
6.7 percent reduction in the percentage of abdominal hysterectomies

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Nationally Recognized Transitional Rehabilitation Program’s Strategies

Serving patients with special needs, such as traumatic injury or multiple high acuity co-morbidities, is a costly and complex endeavor. Allina Health’s Transitional Rehabilitation Program (TRP) tackled both of these realities head-on—resulting in cost savings while helping this vulnerable patient population achieve a higher quality of life.
Recognizing the need for high-quality data that could prove the TRP’s value to its patients and community, Allina implemented analytics that enabled it to track and report outcomes and costs, demonstrate value, and generate savings for the health system and the community.
The initiative has reaped wide-ranging results in patient improvements and cost savings including saving health systems and communities $3.2 million over a one-year period, 20 percent greater success than traditional skilled nursing facilities in discharging patients to home and community, 20 percent improvement in impairment in brain injury patients (MPAI-4), and 84 percent improvement in spinal cord independence measure (SCIM).

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Care Management Strategy Improves Lives of Stroke Patients

Stroke is a leading cause of hospitalizations among elderly often resulting in serious long-term disability, readmissions (up to 27% are readmitted to the hospital in year one), or secondary stroke. Allina Health’s Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute (CKRI) had deployed a successful care coordination model for other complicated, high-risk populations that it was confident would help stroke patients, as well.
CKRI created a holistic program for stroke patients that delivers comprehensive, seamless care across inpatient, outpatient and support services. A data warehouse and analytics platform merges data across the care continuum, and enables Allina to target high-risk stroke patients for coordinated care, track their progress and measure their outcomes.
Within a year, Allina was able to prove the value of this new care model for stroke by realizing $350,000 in cost savings and, most importantly, through actual lives saved and improved.

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Innovative Approach to Rehabilitation Care Improves Patient Outcomes

Disability is one of the United States’ most important public health issues—with approximately 15 percent of citizens affected. Allina Health created The Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute (CKRI) to help people with disabilities, injuries, or complex medical conditions achieve the highest possible degree of health, functionality, and quality of life.
CKRI’s advanced model for rehabilitation care focuses on the whole person, one that looks beyond the medical to address vocational, social, and emotional needs. This collaborative model enables comprehensive and seamless care across the continuum while preparing the organization to operate in a value-based, at-risk environment. CKRI also implemented an analytics infrastructure to help focus its resources appropriately and to measure success.
This innovative approach has optimized patients’ quality of life with up to 76 percent reduction in hospitalizations and 53 percent reduction in ED visits – resulting in annual community cost savings of $11.2 M.

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Systematic Improvement of Diabetes Care in the Inpatient Setting

With diabetes being one of the most common diseases in school-aged children, Texas Children’s Hospital decided to launch a vast diabetes care improvement initiative to standardize care through a set of evidence-based care guidelines. Powered by an enterprise data warehouse and a pediatrics diabetes analytics application from Health Catalyst, Texas Children’s focused on order set utilization, timeliness of IV insulin administration, length of stay, establishing a diabetic care unit (DCU), and implementing a new specialty unit called Core Diabetic Nurses (CDNs) who have extensive training in diabetes management. These remarkable efforts have resulted in 81 percent of DKA patients being assigned to the DCU with a CDN, a 17 percent relative increase in DKA patients receiving an evidence-based evaluation and order sets, a 19 percent relative increase in DKA patients receiving IV insulin within one hour of order, and a 33 percent relative decrease in LOS for DKA patients.

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The Improvement Methodology From Thibodaux That TJC Calls “Best Practice”

Thibodaux Regional Medical Center has always excelled in delivering quality care to its patients, but a fundamental tenet of its culture is continuous improvement.
Driving that continuous improvement is a methodology The Joint Commission called “best practice in how to use data and get physicians engaged.” This quality improvement methodology centers around a three-systems care transformation model that includes best-practice care protocols, analytics, and rapid time-to-value analytics application development and frontline clinician adoption.

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Keys to Successful Quality Improvement: A CEO’s Perspective

We believe healthcare is undergoing a transformation and that CEOs need to promote a culture of dialogue and adaptive learning to drive continuous quality improvement. Thirty years ago Greg Stock, CEO of Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, was seated in a healthcare conference when he heard a presenter say, “Thirty percent of clinical care is waste.” These words triggered something in Stock that sent him down a relentless path to transforming healthcare in his community.
Learn how Stock is leading and sustaining outcomes by establishing a culture of quality with an adaptive leadership style, engaging physicians, and using analytics, best practices and adoption processes that work.

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Saving Lives with Best Practices and Improvements in Sepsis Care

Every year, severe sepsis impacts more than 1 million Americans, and an estimated 25 percent die from the condition. Thibodaux Regional Medical Center is committed to driving and keeping its sepsis mortality rate to less than have the national average. How is this health system achieving these outcomes? Thibodaux formed a sepsis improvement team charged with reducing sepsis mortality and lowering costs while improving the patient experience. The team implemented best-practice care protocols, an analytics system, and an adoption approach that engaged clinicians using education and data. Backed by executive leadership and guided by clear goals, the sepsis improvement initiative has achieved impressive results in just six months that include a decrease in sepsis mortality rate to half of the national average, a 3 percent reduction in average variable cost, a reduction in LOS in the ICU by one day, and a 7 percent improvement in patient satisfaction.

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Allina Health: A Successful Approach to Improving VTE Care and Prevention across a Large Health System

An estimated 1 million cases of venous thromboembolism (VTE) occur each year in the United States—with approximately 300,000 of these cases resulting in death. These sobering statistics led Allina Health to embark on a journey to address prevention and improved care for its VTE patients—one of the most common causes of hospital-related death in the United States—and one of the most preventable. Supported with analytics, Allina implemented a physician-led, multidisciplinary workgroup to standardize order sets and engage clinicians in improvement efforts. To date, their system-wide efforts have generated measurable improvements including an 11 percent increase in VTE bundle compliance rate, a 96.9 percent compliance with VTE prophylaxis, and a 41 percent increase in compliance with VTE warfarin therapy discharge instructions.

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How Allina Health Deployed Evidence-Based Decision Making and Reduced Variation

To tackle the variation and waste that can arise from different treatment decisions, Allina Health developed a solid framework to establish and deploy standard, evidence-based practices across the enterprise. The transition to a standard evidence-based decision-making process required collaboration and buy-in from multiple stakeholders and physicians. Allina’s established quality governance structure reviewed and approved system-wide clinical practice guidelines for Stage 1 lung cancer treatment and IV heparin treatment. To sustain and improve on this new model of care, a comprehensive checklist was developed to ensure that all future guidelines are based on patient subgroups and preferences, available evidence, stakeholder review, and other important criteria including IOM standards. Adherence to guidelines is monitored with metrics based on data extracted from Allina’s enterprise data warehouse and from the electronic health record. Results to date already indicate notable improvements in variation and cost, including the following: the establishment of a system-wide EBDM model and policy, 20 system-wide approved evidence-based guidelines developed months faster, a 5 percent decrease in Stage 1 lung cancer treatment variation, and a 20 percent decrease in the number of heparin protocols.

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One Healthcare System’s Effective Strategy to Improve Pneumonia Outcomes

MultiCare Health System, an IDS serving communities throughout Washington State, recently undertook an initiative to improve the care of, cost of, and experience for pneumonia patients. This initiative included the building of evidenced-based order sets (and driving their adoption), assigning a team of social workers called “personal health partners” to research and improve patient follow-up and communication, and deploying an analytics application to provide near real-time feedback on compliance and performance while offering a single view of patient-specific data across multiple visits and care settings, such as medication and readmission histories. Through these efforts, MultiCare has realized significant outcome improvements including reducing pneumonia readmissions by 23 percent, a 28 percent reduction in mortality rate, a 2 percent decrease in LOS, and a 6.4 percent reduction in average variable cost per patient.

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How Allina Health Improved Spine Care Variation and Outcomes

Low back pain (LBP) is a common and expensive problem. The annual cost to patients, employers, and insurers collectively exceeds $100 billion in the U.S. alone. Additionally, LBP care treatment variations, impact outcomes. In 2011, Allina Health created the Spine Institute to deliver care that supports the IHI Triple Aim in the treatment of spine disorders and LBP. All clinical disciplines involved in spine care are part of the program, and care providers follow standard spine care and management evidence-based models. Access to quality data enables Allina to measure performance across providers. With this successful spine care coordination program and advanced clinical analytics, Allina has reduced length of stay by 16 percent and post-op complications by 3.6 percent, while projecting $2.7 million in savings.

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Achieve Reduced Heart Failure Readmission Rates: One Healthcare Organization’s Care Coordination Strategy

Heart failure (HF) sends more US adults over 65 to the hospital than any other cause—costing Medicare alone more than $17 billion annually—with readmissions significantly contributing to the issue. For large integrated networks like Allina Health, efforts to reduce readmissions for HF patients are challenged by the need for coordinated care and consolidated data across the care continuum. Allina implemented a multidisciplinary HF management program with a nurse care coordinator and nurse practitioners who assure patient engagement and provide a “bridge” between different points in the care continuum. These important people and processes are aided by access to data from an enterprise data warehouse that merges data across the health system and gives providers insight into HF care and performance metrics. The program has helped Allina achieve a 30-day HF readmission rate well below the national average —17 percent in 10 of 11 hospitals doing cardiac care.

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How an IDS Improves Outcomes Using a Clinical Collaborative Structure

MultiCare, an integrated delivery system (IDS) in the Pacific Northwest, has established a Clinically Integrated Network (CIN) to serve as a model for value creation that benefits patients, providers, and payers. However, to create a truly integrated network, MultiCare needed to build a system of collaboratives—multidisciplinary, clinically focused teams charged with developing clinical care standards and pathways and then collaborating with operations to get them implemented across the enterprise—to improve outcomes in a growing range of clinical domains including Critical Care, Women’s, Surgery, Medicine, Cardiac, and Pediatric. The outcomes of this collaborative care include a 65 percent reduction in sepsis mortality rate, a 75 percent reduction in time required to approve system-wide care guidelines, and a significant contribution to a system-wide cost savings trajectory of more than $100 million over the last three years.

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Standardizing Labor and Delivery Best Practices to Improve Outcomes

Advancing women’s health is a key part of the nation’s healthcare quality improvement and population health management agenda. Mission Health has embarked on a journey to standardize its best practices and develop a more systematic method for collecting and analyzing data related to perinatal care. With an EDW serving as its analytics platform, and a newly implemented clinical improvement model, Mission is able to monitor performance on several evidence-based practices designed to improve maternal and newborn care. Learn how they have sustained a zero elective delivery rate, and how they have reduced the time they spend manually collecting data and calculating rates.

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New Initiative Supports Cardiac Patients on a Better Path to Health

With nearly one in four Medicare patients hospitalized with heart failure (HF) being readmitted to hospitals within 30 days of discharge, healthcare organizations like MultiCare are primed to develop care improvement initiatives focused on reducing readmissions. MultiCare has had a HF collaborative for several years, focused on standardizing and increasing the quality of care for its cardiac patients—resulting in a 24 percent improvement in HF readmission rates and an 18 percent improvement in mortality rates. With this proven commitment to its patients, MultiCare was selected for participation in the American College of Cardiology’s Patient Navigator program, opening up the opportunity to provide cardiac patients with an advocate dedicated to helping patients navigate their pathway to improvement. Through participation in this patient navigator program, MultiCare has ability to further bring the patient’s voice to the forefront and improve its quality of cardiac care even more dramatically in the future.

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Sepsis Mortality and Length of Stay: One Hospital System’s Story

Sepsis, a serious complication that strikes quickly and is often fatal, is the single most expensive condition to treat in the hospital, in part because of the longer than average stay. To reduce sepsis mortality rates, which are between 20 and 50 percent, many hospitals have established evidence based bundles comprised of antibiotic administration, lactate level monitoring and other elements of care. However, without analytics, hospitals rely on manual processes to track sepsis rates and bundle compliance. Learn how Mission Health has streamlined surveillance by 75% while experiencing a 2.6% reduction in sepsis mortality rates and an 18% reduction in length of hospital stay.

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