UnityPoint Health Earns 2024 Flywheel Award for Hitting $100M+ Savings Milestone

Health Catalyst honored UnityPoint Health with The Flywheel Award at the 2024 Healthcare Analytics Summit (HAS 24) for its outstanding achievements in transforming healthcare and enhancing the lives of those it serves. They were recognized for consistently delivering significant improvements throughout their organization and accomplishing considerable milestones, including over $100M in savings and revenue enhancements. 

These accomplishments encompass a variety of successes, such as reducing healthcare costs by $41M through shorter hospital stays and saving $32M in healthcare expenditures in a single year through improved care management practices. 

Additionally, they achieved a 39 percent relative decrease in emergency department (ED) visits and a 54 percent relative decrease in hospital admissions, with an average annual shared savings of $31M since 2012 and a reduction of $17.4M in direct costs over six years by minimizing unnecessary blood transfusions. UnityPoint demonstrated remarkable efficiency with a 15-plus benefit-to-cost ratio over the past seven years.

UnityPoint Utilizes Advanced Data and Analytics to Institute Care Management Initiatives

UnityPoint’s achievements are particularly noteworthy given the unsettling rise of U.S. healthcare spending, prompting payers and providers to seek innovative ways to reduce expenses. As UnityPoint progresses on its value-based care journey, it recognized the need for advanced analytics to support clinical decision-making while addressing population health priorities and managing costs effectively. 

At a critical juncture in their journey, the organization sought consistent data definitions for measuring outcomes and care quality. The leadership’s goal was to gain a deeper understanding of their extensive collection of clinical and claims data. This limitation hindered their ability to leverage valuable data insights and analytics to succeed in risk-based contracts like shared savings agreements.

To address these challenges, the Iowa-based hospital network adopted the Health Catalyst® data platform and a suite of analytics applications to establish a single source of truth across various systems. This enabled the conversion of raw data into insights that were consistent and accessible across all settings, providing actionable information on patient characteristics and healthcare utilization patterns. They also built a better predictive model to tackle population health and financial trends.

Proactive Measures Led to Improved Performance on Value-Based Contracts

As a result, they were able to identify patients who would benefit most from care management intervention by segmenting them based on a defined risk level correlating to a patient’s likelihood of inpatient admission, ED visits, 30-day readmissions, and missed outpatient appointments.

The resulting data-informed standard practices enhanced patient outcomes, including giving providers a chance to proactively schedule patient screenings and interventions that reduced unnecessary treatments, such as high-cost imaging. The health system’s proactive approach also decreased per-member, per-month costs for the organization, resulting in improved performance on value-based contracts.

The organization recognized the importance of establishing standardized analytics, processes, measures, and tools that could be universally applied across the Accountable Care Organization (ACO), which led to better facility performance, optimizing patient care processes and outcomes, and achieving success in risk-based contracts through data-driven strategies.

Notes from the Field: 7 Questions with Teresita Oaks, MPH, Director of Community Health Programs at Parkland Health

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