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Outcomes Improvement

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Improving Patient-Reported Outcomes

Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) have been used in healthcare since the 1970s. But the industry hasn’t had meaningful, consistent PROs and PROMs definitions until ICHOM developed one. ICHOM, a pioneer in outcomes measurement and improvement, demonstrates that healthcare organizations focused on improving patient outcomes that patients actually care about are the ones most likely to transform healthcare.
PROs and PROMs complement clinical indicators in understanding the quality of healthcare a team is delivering. For example, an improvement program for prostate cancer patients that only focuses on improving blood loss or length of stay in the hospital completely misses a patient’s biggest fears: will they need to wear pads for the rest of their life? Will their relationship with their partner be the same as it was?
By focusing on outcomes that matter most to patients, health systems will be more successful at improving outcomes. ICHOM describes five strategies for getting started with PROs and PROMs:
  1. Find the Believers (Identify Clinician Champions)
  2. Organize a Cross-Functional Team (with Appropriate Governance)
  3. Invest Time and Resources
  4. Celebrate Progress Along the Way
  5. Use Early Successes to Scale and Spread

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The Top Six Early Detection and Action Must-Haves for Improving Outcomes

Given the industry’s shift toward value-based, outcomes-based healthcare, organizations are working to improve outcomes. One of their top outcomes improvement priorities should be early detection and action, which can significantly improve clinical, financial, and patient experience outcomes. Through early detection and action, systems embrace a proactive approach to healthcare that aims to prevent illness; the earlier a condition is detected, the better the outcome. But, as with most things in healthcare, improving early detection is easier said than done. This executive report provides helpful, actionable guidance about overcoming common barriers (logistical, cultural, and technical) and improving early detection and action by integrating six must-haves:

  • Multidisciplinary teams
  • Analytics
  • Leadership-driven culture change
  • Creative customization
  • Proof-of-concept pilot projects
  • Health Catalyst tools (knowledge briefs, outcomes improvement packets and worksheets, and care process improvement maps).
The report features a Thibodaux Regional Medical Center sepsis success story that demonstrates how creative customization, when paired with evidence-based standardization, can improve early detection and action efforts, as well as clinical, financial, and patient outcomes.

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7 Features of Highly Effective Outcomes Improvement Projects

There’s a formula for success when putting together outcomes improvement projects and organizing the teams that make them prosper. Too often, critically strategic projects launch without the proper planning, structure, and people in place to ensure viability and long-term sustainability. They never achieve the critical mass required to realize substantial improvements, or they do, but then the project fades away and the former state returns. The formula for enduring success follows seven simple steps:

  1. Take an Outcomes Versus Accountability Focus
  2. Define Your Goal and Aim Statements Early and Stick to Them
  3. Assign an Owner of the Analytics (Report or Application) Up Front
  4. Get End Users Involved In the Process
  5. Design to Make Doing the Right Thing Easy
  6. Don’t Underestimate the Power of 1:1 Training
  7. Get the Champion Involved

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The Top Seven Healthcare Outcome Measures and Three Measurement Essentials

Healthcare outcomes improvement can’t happen without effective outcomes measurement. Given the healthcare industry’s administrative and regulatory complexities, and the fact that health systems measure and report on hundreds of outcomes annually, this article adds much-needed clarity by reviewing the top seven outcome measures, including definitions, important nuances, and real-life examples. The top seven categories of outcome measures are:

  1. Mortality
  2. Readmissions
  3. Safety of care
  4. Effectiveness of care
  5. Patient experience
  6. Timeliness of care
  7. Efficient use of medical imaging
CMS used these seven outcome measures to calculate overall hospital quality and arrive at its 2018 hospital star ratings. This article also reiterates the importance of outcomes measurement, clarifies how outcome measures are defined and prioritized, and recommends three essentials for successful outcomes measurement.

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Outcomes Improvement - Additional Content

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The Top Six Examples of Quality Improvement in Healthcare

In order to thrive in an increasingly challenging healthcare environment, undertaking quality improvement projects is more important than ever for healthcare systems’ continued survival. However, health systems need to tackle the right projects at the right time to maximize the impact to their organization. This article shares both clinical and financial and operational examples of quality improvement in healthcare that may help others as they tackle improvement projects. Some examples shared include:

  • Pharmacist-led Medication Therapy Management (MTM) reduces total cost of care.
  • Optimizing sepsis care improves early recognition and outcomes.
  • Boosting readiness and change competencies successfully reduces clinical variation.
  • New generation Activity-Based Costing (ABC) accelerates timeliness of decision support.
  • Systematic, data-driven approach lowers length of stay (LOS) and improves care coordination.
  • Clinical and financial partnership reduces denials and write-offs by more than $3 million.

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Is a Medical Writer the Missing Accelerant to Your Outcome Improvement Efforts?

Quality improvement efforts are more important than ever. However, even improvement efforts that have the right people, processes, and technology can struggle to make progress.  A medical writer with healthcare knowledge and strong information design skills may be the missing ingredient that can help speed time to adoption and value. This article discusses the functions a medical writer can fulfill, and why they matter. You will also learn:

  • The four skills that a medical writer with strong information design skills brings to an improvement team.
  • Examples of output of medical writers in a healthcare setting.
  • The skills a medical writer needs.
Additionally, you will learn how to find this unique skill set and where you might find this key person.

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Unlocking the Power of Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs)

Health systems attempt to measure an ever-increasing amount of clinical measures, these often miss the mark of what matters to patients. Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROs) are the missing link in empowering patients and helping to define good outcomes.  This article walks through how patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) can help identify best practices and drive system-wide quality improvement. PROMs can help health systems do the following:

  • Serve as a guide for appropriateness and efficiency.
  • Lead to better shared decision-making.
  • Demonstrate value and transparency
This article also discusses the effect of PROMs on providers in a culture of “one more thing,” and tips for effective implementation.

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How to Evaluate Emerging Healthcare Technology With Innovative Analytics

As healthcare systems are pressured to cut costs and still provide high-quality care, they will need to look across the care continuum for answers, reduce variation in care, and look to emerging technologies. This article walks through how to evaluate the safety and effectiveness and of emerging healthcare technology and prioritize high-impact improvement projects using a robust data analytics platform. Topics covered include:

  • The importance of identifying variation in innovation.
  • Ways to improve outcomes and decrease costs.
  • The value of an analytics platform.
  • The reliable information that produce sparks for innovation.
  • Identifying and evaluating emerging healthcare technology.
  • Knowing what data to use.
  • The difference between efficacy and effectiveness in evaluation of emerging healthcare technology.

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Emergency Department Quality Improvement: Transforming the Delivery of Care

Overcrowding in the emergency department has been associated with increased inpatient mortality, increased length of stay, and increased costs for admitted patients. ED wait times and patients who leave without seeing a qualified medical provider are indicators of overcrowding. A data-driven system approach is needed to address these problems and redesign the delivery of emergency care. This article explores common problems in emergency care and insights into embarking on a successful quality improvement journey to transform care delivery in the ED, including an exploration of the following topics:

  • A four-step approach to redesigning the delivery of emergency care.
  • Understanding ED performance.
  • Revising High-Impact Workflows.
  • Revising Staffing Patterns.
  • Setting Leadership Expectations.
  • Improving the Patient Experience.

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Improving Quality Measures Can Lead to Better Outcomes

Current quality measures are expensive and time consuming to report, and they don’t necessarily improve care. Many health systems are looking for better ways to measure the quality of their care, and they are using data analytics to achieve this goal. Data analytics can be helpful with quality improvement. There are four key considerations to evaluate quality measures:

  1. Organizations must develop measures that are more clinically relevant and better represent the care provided.
  2. Clinician buy-in is critical. Without it, quality improvement initiatives are less likely to succeed.
  3. Investment in tools and effort surrounding improvement work must increase. Tools should include data analytics.
  4. Measure improvement must translate to improvement in the care being measured.
When the right measures are in place to drive healthcare improvement, patient care and outcomes can and do improve.

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Healthcare Project Management Techniques: A Pragmatic Approach to Outcomes Improvement

Project management skills and good project managers are increasingly important to the healthcare industry because they can help control costs, manage risk, and speed improvement project outcomes. By applying project management techniques, from waterfall to agile methodologies, organizations can plan, organize, and execute a set of tasks efficiently in order to maximize resources and achieve specific goals. This article explores project management techniques and offers considerations for healthcare leaders when adapting these techniques for clinical, financial, and operational process improvement. The author also shares a pragmatic application and practical tips for implementing these project management techniques in a healthcare environment.

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A Framework for High-Reliability Organizations in Healthcare

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:

  • Leadership
  • Transparency
  • Reliability
  • Improvement and Measurement
  • Continuous Learning
  • Negotiation
  • Teamwork and Communication
  • Accountability
  • Psychological Safety

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How to Achieve Your Clinical Data Analytics Goals

Healthcare organizations know that they need to an effective clinical data analytics strategy to improve and survive in today’s challenging environment. In order to make these necessary improvements, healthcare leaders need to establish clear goals for their clinical data analytics initiatives. Achieving these goals requires clinical teams to clearly identify problems and plan for how to achieve them. This article walks improvement teams through sometimes confusing process of identifying problems, setting clear, achievable goals, and common pitfalls along the way. Topics covered include:

  • Six categories of clinical data.
  • Three types of goals: outcome, process, and balance.
  • How to write an outcome goal.
  • Internal vs. External Benchmarks.
  • Mitigation strategies.
  • Getting clinical buy-in.

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The Top Seven Healthcare Outcome Measures and Three Measurement Essentials

Healthcare outcomes improvement can’t happen without effective outcomes measurement. Given the healthcare industry’s administrative and regulatory complexities, and the fact that health systems measure and report on hundreds of outcomes annually, this article adds much-needed clarity by reviewing the top seven outcome measures, including definitions, important nuances, and real-life examples. The top seven categories of outcome measures are:

  1. Mortality
  2. Readmissions
  3. Safety of care
  4. Effectiveness of care
  5. Patient experience
  6. Timeliness of care
  7. Efficient use of medical imaging
CMS used these seven outcome measures to calculate overall hospital quality and arrive at its 2018 hospital star ratings. This article also reiterates the importance of outcomes measurement, clarifies how outcome measures are defined and prioritized, and recommends three essentials for successful outcomes measurement.

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How UPMC and Health Catalyst Improve Outcomes Using Innovation in Activity-based Costing

UPMC and Health Catalyst created a great business partnership focused on sharing risks and rewards to innovate how activity-based costing (ABC) is done in healthcare. The partners relied on complementary intellectual property, complementary talent, and complementary risks and rewards to drive benefits that extend beyond either organization’s borders. Health Catalyst licensed UPMC’s activity-based costing software, which served as the foundation for the Health Catalyst CORUS suite. Together, the partners will continue to work for innovations in ABC to drive outcomes improvements in healthcare.

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Five Deming Principles That Help Healthcare Process Improvement

Dr. John Haughom explains 5 key Deming processes that can be applied to healthcare process improvement. These include 1) quality improvement as the science of process management, 2) if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it, 3) managed care means managing the processes of care (not managing physicians and nurses), 4) the importance of the right data in the right format at the right time in the right hands, and 5) engaging the “smart cogs” of healthcare.

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Why Health Systems Must Use Data Science to Improve Outcomes

In today’s improvement-driven healthcare environment, organizations must ensure that improvement measures help them reach desired outcomes and focus on the opportunities with optimal ROI. With data science-based analysis, health systems leverage machine learning to determine if improvement measures align with specific outcomes and avoid the risk and cost of carrying out interventions that are unlikely to support their goals. There are four essential reasons that insights from data science help health systems implement and sustain improvement:

  1. Measures aligned with desired outcomes drive improvement.
  2. Improvement teams focus on processes they can impact.
  3. Outcome-specific interventions might impact other outcomes.
  4. Identifies opportunities with optimal ROI.

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Prioritizing Healthcare Projects to Optimize ROI

Healthcare organizations have long relied on traditional benchmarking to compare their performance to others and determine where they can do better; however, to identify the highest ROI improvement opportunities and understand how to take action, organizations need more comprehensive data. Next-generation opportunity analysis tools, such as Health Catalyst® Touchstone™, use machine learning to identify projects with the greatest need for improvement and the greatest potential ROI. Because Touchstone determines prioritization with data from across the continuum of care, users can drive improvement decisions with information appropriate to their patient population and the domains they’re addressing.

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Four Population Health Management Strategies that Help Organizations Improve Outcomes

Population health management (PHM) strategies help organizations achieve sustainable outcomes improvement by guiding transformation across the continuum of care, versus focusing improvement resources on limited populations and acute care. Because population health comprises the complete picture of individual and population health (health behaviors, clinical care social and economic factors, and the physical environment), health systems can use PHM strategies to ensure that improvement initiatives comprehensively impact healthcare delivery. Organizations can leverage four PHM strategies to achieve sustainable improvement:

  1. Data transformation
  2. Analytic transformation
  3. Payment transformation
  4. Care transformation

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Measuring the Value of Care Management: Five Tools to Show Impact

To earn legitimacy and resources within a healthcare organization, care management programs need objective, data-driven ways to demonstrate their success. The value of care management isn’t always obvious; while these programs may, in fact, be responsible for improvements in critical metrics, such as reducing readmissions, C-suite leaders need visibility into care management’s impact and processes to understand precisely how they’re improving care and lowering costs at their organizations. Five analytics-driven technologies give healthcare leaders a comprehensive understanding of care management performance:

  1. The Patient Stratification Application
  2. The Patient Intake Tool
  3. The Care Coordination Application
  4. The Care Companion Application
  5. The Care Team Insights Tool

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