New Ranking Helps Prioritize Your Healthcare Cost Reduction Efforts With Surprising Results

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To help guide thinking about starting a healthcare cost reduction effort, below is a diagram with real data from a real healthcare system in the U.S. that shows the top clinical processes in terms of cost. The results are almost identical, across the health systems that Health Catalyst works with. The notion with this data is if you are trying to organize yourselves around a cost reduction and clinical improvement strategy, it’s probably a good idea to choose the top three or four of these to get started in the first year, then simply work your way through the list after that. It’s the same basic problem-solving framework that the FAA uses in the U.S. for steadily improving airline safety and reliability.

The unique aspect of this data is that it combines inpatient and outpatient data into one perspective. In the past at Intermountain Healthcare, my colleagues and I looked at inpatient and outpatient care processes as separate processes, and we called them Clinical Programs. Also, we didn’t have an effective algorithm for grouping these inpatient and outpatient data sets into a single view of the patient care process. That approach was definitely effective, but this new perspective is based on the availability of new data, mashed together with new grouping algorithms, plus the evolution of our awareness about how best to optimize the delivery of care, with the goal of extending inpatient/outpatient concepts into true population health in the community— that is, the outpatient experience will eventually include the socio-economic data environment of the patient.

This diagram is a reflection of work at Health Catalyst over the last three years. Dr. David Burton, who hired and partnered with Dr. Brent James on Intermountain Healthcare’s Clinical Programs, is the brainpower behind these new inpatient/outpatient grouping algorithms.

inpatient-outpatient grouping algorithm

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