Reducing unnecessary clinical variation is necessary in today’s healthcare market for both clinical and financial reasons. Two major drivers for this are the shift from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement and the need for improving clinical outcomes such as reducing complications and readmissions.
Leaders for UnityPoint Health, a healthcare system serving Iowa, western Illinois, and southern Wisconsin, recognized the importance of reducing clinical variation, and the need to have strong physician champions and robust analytics to effectively support improvement efforts. However, it also realized that without understanding organizational strengths and weaknesses related to adopting change and improving outcomes, it would struggle to successfully implement initiatives that delivered the desired benefits and sustained improvements over time. By consistently integrating information from a readiness assessment, an opportunity analysis, and expert resources, UnityPoint Health was able to establish a prioritization and implementation approach to outcomes improvement that has produced the following results:
- Variable costs were reduced by more than $1.75 million based on the deployment of interventions in sepsis alerts, order sets, and other clinical decision support tools.
- Reductions in length of stay have allowed patients to return home earlier and spend more than 1,000 additional nights in their homes.
- Millions of clicks have been reduced for clinicians based on deployment of new sepsis screening tools.
- 36 percent increase in sepsis screenings completed in the emergency department (ED).
- Sepsis order set utilization in the ED has increased by more than 185 percent.