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Caleb Stowell Sara Sprinkhuizen

Improving Outcomes That Matter Most to Patients

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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Kirstin Scott Tracy Vayo

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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Dr. Bryan Oshiro

The Top Success Factors for Making the Switch to Outcomes-Based Healthcare

Transitioning to outcomes-based healthcare is an industry wide goal. While some health systems, such as Texas Children’s Hospital, are in the process of making the switch (and doing it successfully), many systems don’t even know where to begin.

Despite the challenges of achieving outcomes-based healthcare, it is essential for surviving the transition from fee-for-service (FFS) to value-based care. Systems can overcome the top three challenges associated with making the switch (lack of analytics, lack of access to information, and inappropriate organizational structure) by focusing on the most important success factors:

  1. Analytics
  2. Multidisciplinary Teams

Armed with an enterprise data warehouse (EDW) to make data-driven decisions about the best outcomes improvement goals to pursue, and permanent multidisciplinary teams responsible for continuously improving care, systems can start making the switch to outcomes-based healthcare.

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Brant Avondet

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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Ann Tinker

The Top 7 Outcome Measures and 3 Measurement Essentials

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 blog adds much-needed clarity by reviewing the top seven outcome measures, including definitions, important nuances, and real-life examples:

  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 exact seven outcome measures to calculate overall hospital quality and arrive at its 2016 hospital star ratings.

This blog also reiterates the importance of outcomes measurement, clarifies how outcome measures are defined and prioritized, and recommends three essentials for successful outcomes measurement:

  1. Transparency
  2. Integrated care
  3. Interoperability
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Bobbi Brown Leslie Falk

6 Steps for Implementing Successful Performance Improvement Initiatives in Healthcare

A systematic approach to performance improvement initiative includes three components:  analytics, best practice, and adoption. Taking six steps will help an organization to effectively cover all three  components of success. Step 1: Integrate performance improvement into your strategic objectives. Step 2: Use analytics to unlock data and identity areas of opportunity. Step 3: Prioritize programs using a combination of analytics and an adoption system. Step 4: Define the performance improvement program’s permanent teams. Step 5: Use a best practice system to define program outcomes and define interventions. Step 6: Estimate the ROI.

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Dr. John Haughom

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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Dan Soule

Why Most Analytic Applications Will Never Be Able to Significantly Improve Healthcare Outcomes

The availability of healthcare IT solutions can be overwhelming and all promise to solve an organization’s most pressing issues. While typical data and analytic applications are excellent at exposing opportunities for improvement that are impacting the bottom line, most are not effective at helping the organization determine what to do to address them and improve outcomes. However, a new approach to creating analytics applications is emerging. Analytics applications that incorporate best practices clinical content along with the best practices visualizations help everyone understand the problem and the solution. These applications also enable clinicians to better understand, adopt, roll out, and execute outcome improvement initiatives with healthcare systems. Health Catalyst has deliberately created a comprehensive, dynamic suite of applications that integrate clinical content and facilitate the orderly implementation of action plans.

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Tom Burton

A Guide to Successful Outcomes Using Population Health Analytics

There seem to be a lot of definitions for population health management and population health analytics. But all these definitions share one thing: outcomes. The goal is to provide quality care outcomes with good patient experience outcomes at a low cost outcome. So, how can organizations systematically improve their outcomes? The answer lies in three key questions: What should be done to provide optimal care? How well are those best practices being followed? And how do those best practices move into everyday care for patients? Using a systematic approach to answering these three questions will lead organizations toward becoming an outcomes improvement machine.

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Eric Just

Quality Improvement in Healthcare: Where Is the Best Place to Start?

One of the biggest challenges providers face in their quality improvement efforts is knowing where to get started. In my experience, one of the best ways to overcome that “where do we begin?” factor is by using data from an enterprise data warehouse to look for high-cost areas where there are large variations in how health care is delivered. Variation found through the KPA is an indicator of opportunity. The more avoidable variation that is reflected in a particular care process, the more opportunity there is to reduce that variation and standardize the process. Suppose after performing a KPA you discover three areas of opportunity. How do you determine which one to pursue, especially if it’s your first journey into process improvement? The most obvious answer would seem to be the one with the largest potential ROI. That may not always be the best course to pursue, however. You will also want to take into consideration the readiness/openness to change in each of those areas.

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Bobbi Brown Leslie Falk

How to Drive ROI in Your Healthcare Improvement Projects

Hospitals and healthcare systems need a systematic approach and tools to demonstrate ROI from their healthcare improvement projects. Bobbi Brown, VP of Financial Engagement, shares a four-step process for demonstrating ROI: 1) define the project and business need, 2) begin to quantify ROI, 3) recruit, train and plan, and 4) evaluate costs, revenue and direct benefits. Download the Health Catalyst Clinical Improvement Financial and Executive Communications tools for estimating, calculating and communicating your ROI results.

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Outcomes Improvement - Additional Content

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Why Most Analytic Applications Will Never Be Able to Significantly Improve Healthcare Outcomes

The availability of healthcare IT solutions can be overwhelming and all promise to solve an organization’s most pressing issues. While typical data and analytic applications are excellent at exposing opportunities for improvement that are impacting the bottom line, most are not effective at helping the organization determine what to do to address them and improve outcomes. However, a new approach to creating analytics applications is emerging. Analytics applications that incorporate best practices clinical content along with the best practices visualizations help everyone understand the problem and the solution. These applications also enable clinicians to better understand, adopt, roll out, and execute outcome improvement initiatives with healthcare systems. Health Catalyst has deliberately created a comprehensive, dynamic suite of applications that integrate clinical content and facilitate the orderly implementation of action plans.

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Introducing the Accelerated Practices (AP) Program: An Innovative Way to Help Health Systems Accelerate and Sustain Outcomes Improvement

We are excited to announce the launch of Health Catalyst University’s Accelerated Practices (AP) Program. This program is a highly immersive, project-based learning experience that healthcare industry experts have spent a lot of time developing. The goal of the program is for participants to leave with the tools and knowledge they need to achieve significant improvements in a short amount of time for their organizations. They will also learn how to communicate the need for change in this new value-based care environment by using data and proven leadership principles.

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The 4 Clinical Teams Needed to Drive Sustainable Improvement

As the healthcare industry shifts from a fee-for-service to pay-for-performance and accountable care organizations are under greater pressure to make improvements to their clinical, financial and operational outcomes. As clinical quality improvement efforts grow systematically improving and sustaining care across the organization becomes more challenging. In order to ensure sustainable, long-term change a cross-functional, team-based approach that accelerates the implementation of change throughout the organization is necessary. This is the adoption system. Without an adoption system, improvement initiatives become a series of one off projects that may have a temporary positive impact, but soon return to the baseline level.

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Michael Porter and Others Show How to Deliver Better Care in Value-based Healthcare Documentary

Healthcare organizations from Hamburg to Gothenburg to Boston are realizing the future of care delivery through a value-based approach, as portrayed in this video documentary featuring professor Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School. Measured Outcomes: A Future View of Value-Based Healthcare explains how value-based care is a methodology that involves standardizing outcome measurements, tracking them over the long term, and putting clinical teams in place with the longevity needed to build a sustainable program. More importantly, it is healthcare that matters most to patients because they report and track their own quality measurements, giving them a say in their own healthcare experience. Providers are winning, patients are winning, and the results for the organizations showcased in this video are remarkable, such as an 88 percent prostatectomy success rate for the Martini-Klinik in Hamburg, Germany, compared to a 32.8 percent rate for the rest of the country. And with just 10 surgeons on staff, they are doing more volume than any other facility in the world, by far, all attributable to their value-based approach.

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Improving Outcomes for Sepsis Patients: 3 Key Solutions Proven to Help

There are a number of reasons why hospitals are looking for improvement opportunities to reduce sepsis rates: sepsis costs lives, sepsis adds significant expense to care, and high sepsis rates lead to financial penalties. The three key solutions include an enterprise data warehouse, sophisticated healthcare analytics applications and dashboards, and permanent cross-functional teams for sustainable sepsis improvements.

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Patient Flight Path Analytics: From Airline Operations to Healthcare Outcomes

We developed a predictive analytics framework for patient care based upon concepts from airline operations. Using the idea of an aircraft turnaround time where the airline wants to put the aircraft back into operation as soon as possible, we’ve created a way to help patients headed toward poor outcomes, along with their providers, “turnaround” and get the best possible, most cost-effective outcome. For example, in a diabetes patient, we might use variables such as: age, alcohol use, annual eye/foot exam, BMI, etc. to look for patterns that might influence two outcomes: 1) Diabetic control and 2) The absence of progression toward diabetic complications. The notion of our Patient Flight Path is useful at both the conceptual level, as well as the predictive algorithm implementation level.

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Improving Population Health Outcomes: From Airplanes to Doctors’ Offices

A staple of inflight magazines, the “Best Doctors” ad showcases individual doctors for specialties in healthcare. Yet, there are no “Best Pilots” ads. That’s because healthcare functions as a craftsmanship practice, while aviation operates using a standard of production. The craftsmanship mentality in medicine leads to a wide variation in results for patients, even those facing the same diagnoses. To improve population health systematically, three systems are required: 1. The Best Practice System (including best practices identified and agreed upon), 2. The Adoption System (meaning how those practices are used across the enterprise), and 3. The Analytics System (in part, measuring how well those best practices are being implemented). Taken together, these systems will move healthcare toward an effective system of production and improve outcomes for patients.

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How to Improve Clinical Programs by Breaking the Cycle of Waste in Healthcare

To succeed with value-based care, health systems must demonstrate to CMS they operate more effectively, efficiently, and safely. This requires organizations to identify and improve three types of waste commonly found in clinical programs: ordering waste, workflow and operational variations waste, and defect waste. Finding these areas, however, requires three critical solutions: an EDW, a KPA Application, and organizational readiness assessments.

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Planning for Healthcare Improvement: A Goal Without a Plan Is Just a Wish

While our current health system has accomplished some great things, the complexity is producing serious quality issues. Healthcare improvement will require that the system changes how it is organized and operated. The best approach to this kind of change and improvement will be the develop a systematic plan composed of the Analytic System (where organizations unlock their data), the Deployment System (organizational, team-based structures), and the Content System (knowledge and best-practices management).

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A Guide to Successful Outcomes Using Population Health Analytics

There seem to be a lot of definitions for population health management and population health analytics. But all these definitions share one thing: outcomes. The goal is to provide quality care outcomes with good patient experience outcomes at a low cost outcome. So, how can organizations systematically improve their outcomes? The answer lies in three key questions: What should be done to provide optimal care? How well are those best practices being followed? And how do those best practices move into everyday care for patients? Using a systematic approach to answering these three questions will lead organizations toward becoming an outcomes improvement machine.

Read More
My Folder

6 Steps for Implementing Successful Performance Improvement Initiatives in Healthcare

A systematic approach to performance improvement initiative includes three components:  analytics, best practice, and adoption. Taking six steps will help an organization to effectively cover all three  components of success. Step 1: Integrate performance improvement into your strategic objectives. Step 2: Use analytics to unlock data and identity areas of opportunity. Step 3: Prioritize programs using a combination of analytics and an adoption system. Step 4: Define the performance improvement program’s permanent teams. Step 5: Use a best practice system to define program outcomes and define interventions. Step 6: Estimate the ROI.

Read More
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3 Steps to Prioritize Clinical Quality Improvement in Healthcare

With all of the discussion about clinical quality improvement in healthcare, you know you need to find out which areas to focus on for improvement initiatives. But how do you prioritize which areas will provide the greatest results? These three steps will help eliminate the guesswork so you can make decisions based on data: 1) Implement a healthcare enterprise data warehouse foundation. 2) Identify improvement priorities. 3) Gain consensus.

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Quality Improvement in Healthcare: Where Is the Best Place to Start?

One of the biggest challenges providers face in their quality improvement efforts is knowing where to get started. In my experience, one of the best ways to overcome that “where do we begin?” factor is by using data from an enterprise data warehouse to look for high-cost areas where there are large variations in how health care is delivered. Variation found through the KPA is an indicator of opportunity. The more avoidable variation that is reflected in a particular care process, the more opportunity there is to reduce that variation and standardize the process. Suppose after performing a KPA you discover three areas of opportunity. How do you determine which one to pursue, especially if it’s your first journey into process improvement? The most obvious answer would seem to be the one with the largest potential ROI. That may not always be the best course to pursue, however. You will also want to take into consideration the readiness/openness to change in each of those areas.

Read More
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How to Improve Patient Outcomes for Chronic Diseases and Comorbidities

Managing and treating patients with chronic conditions and comorbidities is difficult without coordination between the various treating physicians. To improve patient outcomes for such complex situations, an enterprise data warehouse can deliver the necessary quality improvements and coordinated care these types of patient populations require.

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The Best Way to Track and Improve Cancer Patient Outcomes

The cancer care delivery system is in crisis- amplified by the complexity of cancer care and historical limitations in quality-improvement tools. Learn how this hospital used data warehousing and business intelligence tools to increase their staging data capture by 450% and identified variation in care.

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How to Drive ROI in Your Healthcare Improvement Projects

Hospitals and healthcare systems need a systematic approach and tools to demonstrate ROI from their healthcare improvement projects. Bobbi Brown, VP of Financial Engagement, shares a four-step process for demonstrating ROI: 1) define the project and business need, 2) begin to quantify ROI, 3) recruit, train and plan, and 4) evaluate costs, revenue and direct benefits. Download the Health Catalyst Clinical Improvement Financial and Executive Communications tools for estimating, calculating and communicating your ROI results.

Read More
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The Glaring Omission in Healthcare: Patient Satisfaction and Outcome Data

As a business person and a CIO, the only two metrics that really matter to me are employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. As fellow CIOs can attest, we are inundated with metrics. Managing a complex IT environment in a healthcare setting is like surfing in a hurricane of metrics, at every layer of technology that we manage, from the data center to the software application. But... the only two metrics that really matter are employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Every other metric is a means to those two ends.

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How to Sustain Healthcare Quality Improvement in 3 Critical Steps

Ronald D. Snee, a fellow with the American Society for Quality, articulates that organizations don’t hold quality and cost gains because they don’t make improvement the backbone of their organization. Rather, they approach improvement as a series of initiatives. He states, “Many organizations focus on sustaining the gains only after improvement has been achieved. Intuitively, that may seem the correct sequence, but it is in fact backwards. The time to focus on sustaining improvement gains is well before the initiative is launched.” In this article, I review 3 critical organizational steps that can help sustain those gains.

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