Notes From the Field: 7 Questions with Claire Corbett, Senior Director of Clinical Optimization and Variation Reduction, Novant Health

“Notes from the Field” is a special newsroom feature highlighting industry professionals working to transform healthcare. In this edition, we spoke with Claire Corbett, MMS, MBA, FAB, Senior Director of Clinical Optimization and Variation Reduction at Novant Health.

1. Tell us about your role.

Novant Health is an integrated network of hospitals, physician clinics, and outpatient facilities that delivers a seamless and convenient healthcare experience to communities in North Carolina and South Carolina. Our network consists of more than 2,000 physicians and nearly 40,000 team members who provide care at more than 850 locations, including 19 hospitals and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics.

I lead a team and program that identifies and addresses unwarranted care variation that impacts patient outcomes and costs of care. Our dedicated team uses a combination of improvement and implementation science strategies, data analytics and insights, and adaptive leadership principles. Using a collaborative partnership model, we work closely with clinical and operational teams to drive progress in our strategic initiatives.

2. What is one thing you’ve learned in the past year?

The importance of simplicity. My team has focused on simplifying communication so that it is clear, direct, and effective. This includes verbal communication while leading teams or giving presentations and written communication, such as emails, visuals, and graphs. When developing content, we work to understand the audience and people we work with.  The more we can be clear and concise, the more likely we are to communicate effectively.

3. What inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare?

I have always had a service mentality and a desire to make a difference and serve others. I am driven by the idea of having a meaningful impact in my community and leaving it an even better place than I found it. Healthcare is a natural fit for that.

4. What do you see as the biggest opportunity to improve healthcare?

Scientific discovery and technology are advancing so quickly in the healthcare space. One of the most important things we can do is to focus on real-world adoption of technology into workflows and translate knowledge into practice. Through implementation science, we can narrow the know-do gap, decreasing the time from discovery to real world adoption in practice and ensure more and more patients can benefit from advancements.

5. What is the greatest challenge facing healthcare?

The challenges of COVID-19 and the subsequent staffing crisis and financial pressures have made maintaining historical care models increasingly difficult. We are  learning new approaches to   delivering care in ways that are clinically effective and efficient and aim to deliver the right care in the right environment. Some of these approaches are different than the traditional hospital-centric methods, including delivery models like optimizing telemedicine, remote monitoring, hospital at home and more. We are learning how to continue providing quality service while evolving with the changing landscape of healthcare.

6. How do you envision technology playing a role in addressing this challenge in healthcare?

Ideally, technology empowers clinicians to provide the best possible evidence-based care to patients, making it easier and more efficient for both care teams and patients. This includes non-traditional care delivery models.  

Data and analytics can help us understand if the care we are providing is achieving desired outcomes or if there are opportunities to improve. Through data analysis we can link clinical and operational practices to outcomes such as mortality, complications, length of stay, direct costs and more. It provides a huge benefit as it enhances our ability to cater more effectively to the needs of our patients through a deeper understanding of the care we provide. Data insights also create a burning platform for change and align teams around a common patient-centric mission.

7. How are you leveraging new technologies, such as augmented intelligence, to enhance productivity/efficiency, quality, and outcomes?

If we fail to effectively use and integrate a tool into our workflows, it remains nothing more than a shiny gadget. It is our responsibility to determine how to effectively apply technology and the insights generated by AI in practical settings for the benefit of patients and the care teams. Utilizing AI, we recently gained a deeper understanding of high-risk patients in our emergency department and presented our findings at the Healthcare Analytics Summit (HAS). By leveraging AI technology to analyze data, we identified those at highest risk among the patients boarding to provide wrap-around services that enhanced their care.

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