On July 25, 2019, our Health Catalyst CEO, Dan Burton, the rest of the executive leadership team, and dozens of fellow team members celebrated the Health Catalyst IPO in New York City. More than 700 team members and their families all over the world joined the celebration during events held locally—from Salt Lake City to Boston to Columbus to Singapore. This was a day long-in-the-making, starting with our prescient co-founders Tom Burton and Steve Barlow in 2008. From those early days onward, Health Catalyst has been a mission-driven company committed to being the catalyst for massive, measurable, data-informed healthcare improvement.
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Leadership, Culture, Governance, Diversity and Inclusion - Additional Content
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Healthcare generates an estimated $1 trillion in waste each year, including supply costs, unnecessary tests, and surgeries that aren’t clinically indicated by best practices. One effective way health systems can reduce waste is by centralizing duplicated services into one high-performing center for that service. For example, instead of having a few cardiac catheterization (cath) labs, a health system can consolidate its cath services into one facility, cutting equipment, staffing, and space requirements. Despite its clinical and financial benefits, centralization can be challenging for health system leaders, who may face operational and political challenges when cutting services from certain locations. To navigate these challenges, leadership must use a data- and analytics-driven centralization strategy and a data and analytics system that can measure performance at the surgeon, facility, and program levels.
Drs. Allen Frankel and Michael Leonard have developed a framework for creating high-reliability organizations in healthcare. This report, based on their 2018 webinar, covers the components and factors of this frame work, including:
- Improvement and Measurement
- Continuous Learning
- Teamwork and Communication
- Psychological Safety
Employers that offer robust employee health plans at affordable costs are more likely to attract and retain a great workforce. Healthcare, however, is often a top expense for organizations, making balancing attractive benefits with attractive costs a complex undertaking. Employers need a deep understanding of employee populations and opportunities to manage health plan costs without sacrificing quality. An analytics-driven approach to employee population health management gives employers insight into two key steps to lower healthcare costs and enhance benefits:
- Manage easily fixed cost issues.
- Use healthcare cost savings to fund expanded benefits.
By committing to transforming healthcare analytics, organizations can eventually save hundreds of millions of dollars (depending on their size) and achieve comprehensive outcomes improvement. The transformation helps organizations achieve the analytics efficiency needed to navigate the complex healthcare landscape of technology, regulatory, and financial challenges and the challenges of value-based care. To achieve analytics transformation and ROI within a short timeframe, organizations can follow five phases to become data driven:
- Establish a data-driven culture.
- Acquire and access data.
- Establish data stewardship.
- Establish data quality.
- Spread data use.
Historically technology and talent were primary assets used to weigh the value of M&A activity, but data is an equal pillar. Buyers (the acquiring organizations) face enormous responsibility and risk with M&A transactions. C-suite leaders have a lot to consider—enterprise-wide technology, finances, operations, facilities, talent, processes, workflows, etc.—during the due diligence process. But attention is often heavily weighted toward time-honored balance sheet and facility assets rather than next-generation assets with the long-term strategic value in the M&A process: data. The model for conducting due diligence around data involves four disciplines:
- Establish the strategic objectives of the M&A with the leadership team.
- Prioritize data along with the standardization of solutions and the design of a new IT organization (i.e., a co-equal effort for data, tools, and talent).
- Identify the near-term data strategic priorities, stakeholders, and tools.
- Assess the talent and consider creating an analytics center of excellence (ACOE) to harness organizational capabilities.
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, health equity is achieved when everyone can attain their full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position of any other socially defined circumstance. Without health equity, there are endless social, health, and economic consequences that negatively impact patients, communities, and organizations. The U.S. ranks last on measures of health equity compared to other industrialized countries. Healthcare contributes to this problem in many ways, including ignoring clinician biases toward certain populations and overlooking the importance of social determinants of health. Fortunately, there are effective, tested steps organizations can take to tackle their health inequities and disparities (e.g., incorporating nonmedical vital signs into their health assessment processes and partnering with community organizations to connect underserved populations with the services they need to be healthy). Some health systems, such as Allina Health, have achieved impressive results by making health equity a systemwide strategic priority.
Improving diversity and inclusivity in healthcare, and any industry, is more than just the right thing to do: it’s an intelligent business decision with impacts on productivity, sales, and innovation. Organizations committed to addressing the lack of diversity and inclusivity in healthcare should start by thinking about the principles and values that underlie their cultures. At Health Catalyst, every diversity initiative is founded in one of the core principles that motivates our work and is embodied by every team member:
With an estimated 80 percent of medical errors resulting from miscommunication among healthcare teams, organizations can significantly improve outcomes with better communication. A communication methodology outlines the essential information clinicians need to share, giving care teams the knowledge they need, when they need it, to make informed treatment decisions. One communication toolkit, SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation), defines the essential information clinicians must share when they hand off patient care from the inpatient to the ambulatory setting:
- S (situation): The patient’s current situation.
- B (background): Information about the current situation.
- A (assessment): Assessment of the situation and background and potential treatment options.
- R (recommendation): Recommended action.
Healthcare leaders looking to establish and sustain a culture of large-scale outcomes improvement must communicate their health system’s values, beliefs, and norms throughout the entire organization. Effective communication spreads understanding of outcomes improvement, ensuring broad engagement and ongoing progress toward shared goals. An eight-step strategy describes essential elements of organizational outcomes improvement communication plan:
- Include a communications specialist on the outcomes improvement leadership team.
- Analyze the stakeholders early and often.
- Craft the central message around shared values.
- Be a constant champion.
- Commit to regular times and mechanisms for communication.
- Make sure communication flows both ways.
- Be transparent.
- Be creative.
It’s often human nature to look for a culprit or hero when there’s a setback or success. In healthcare, however, this punishment-and-reward formula puts patient outcomes at risk, as it doesn’t consider all factors that contribute to a result and lead to a better process. The key to failure or success is most likely a chain of events, and not an individual action. To avoid the same mistake again or build on good practices, healthcare leaders must look at the system, not the individual or their actions. Effective improvement leadership will standby a systems approach, even under the most challenging circumstances.
Many healthcare organizations invest for financial, strategic, and operational reasons. These investments cover a broad spectrum of opportunities, from medical technology, to delivery models, to promising new research. Health Catalyst follows these investment avenues, building long-term relationships, and connecting with its partners in three ways:
- As owners.
- As innovators.
- As customers.
Chilmark’s 2017 Healthcare Analytics Market Trends Report is a trove of insights to the analytics solutions driving the management of population health and the transition to new reimbursement models. The report reviews the analytics market forces at work, such as:
- The need to optimize revenue under diverse payment models.
- The increasing importance of analytics in general, and a platform in specific, that can aggregate all data.
- Continuing confusion about how to react to MIPS and APMs.
- The growing importance of providing a comprehensive set of open and standard APIs.
- The need for better tools to create analytics-ready data stores.
Digital magazine and website Computerworld has named Health Catalyst to its 2017 Best Places to Work in IT list. Health Catalyst joins 100 IT companies that are leading the way in employee satisfaction and engagement with generous salaries, exceptional benefits, ongoing learning, and more. According to Ken Mingis, executive editor of Computerworld, IT employee satisfaction is increasingly vital: “As technology moves to the strategic center of every business, the ability of the enterprise to attract and retain skilled IT talent has become critically important.” Some of the team member-reported attributes that make Health Catalyst a best place to work include:
- Above-market compensation.
- Great work-life balance, thanks to unlimited PTO, company holidays, a work-from-home policy, and maternity and paternity leave.
- Companywide bonus structure.
- Fitness benefits, including onsite gym with fitness classes.
- Education/training reimbursement.
As access to healthcare data grows, healthcare leaders are using more data to make decisions. Leaders at every level need a decision-support tool that meets the demands of today’s increasingly data-rich environment. Healthcare dashboards once filled this niche, but no longer keep up with ever-growing data demands. Fortunately, an innovative visual reporting system, Leading Wisely®, picks up where dashboards fall short—enabling faster reporting and customized, self-service capability for comprehensive data-driven support. Leading Wisely’s key next-level features include:
- Customization, allowing the individual user to personally tailor measures.
- Proactive alerts, prompted by personalized notification settings.
- User friendly layout, with easy-to-read highlights that indicate if a measure if moving off course.
The next step in the evolution of decision support is here—introducing Leading Wisely. With real-time alerts and customizable reports, healthcare leaders now have access to the actionable insights and meaningful information they need to make strategic decisions. Unlike traditional dashboards or static reports, Leading Wisely helps leaders at all levels avoid being blindsided, giving them complete control over their data.
For healthcare organizations looking to achieve outcomes improvement goals, effective governance is the most essential must-have. This leadership culture ensures success by enabling health systems to invest in outcomes improvement and allocate resources appropriately toward these goals. This executive report is an outcomes improvement governance handbook centered on four guiding principles (and associated helpful steps) health systems can follow to achieve effective governance and start achieving more with less:
- Stakeholder engagement
- Shared understanding