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Advancing Health Equity – Data Driven Strategies Reduce Health Inequities

Health equity means that everyone has an equal opportunity to live the healthiest life possible – this requires removing obstacles to health. The U.S. ranks last on nearly all measures of equity, as indicated by its large, disparities in health outcomes. Illness, disability, and death in the United States are more prevalent and more severe for minority groups. Health inequities persist in Minnesota as well, which motivated Allina Health to take targeted actions to reduce inequities.

Allina Health needed actionable data to identify disparities and to reduce these inequities. This came in the form of REAL (race, ethnicity, and language) data, which Allina Health analysts used to visualize how health outcomes vary by demographic characteristics including race, ethnicity, and language.  To understand the root causes of specific disparities as well as to identify solutions within their sphere of influence as a healthcare delivery system, Allina Health consulted the literature and also consulted patients, employees and community members. Then Allina Health created appropriate interventions based on this information.

As a result, Allina Health created an awareness of the health inequities among its patient populations, as well as effective approaches to breach the barriers that were preventing these patients from getting the care they needed. While much work remains in this long journey to achieve health equity, Allina Health has taken some significant steps forward, including:

  • Three percent relative improvement in colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates for targeted populations, exceeding national CRC screening rates by more than ten percentage points.
  • REAL data embedded in dashboards and workflow to easily identify and monitor disparities.
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Improving Clinical Processes and Effectiveness of Care through Creation of a Disease-Specific Registry

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the central nervous system of about 400,000 people in the United States. With no known cure, current treatment for MS is to slow disease progression, manage symptoms and maintain the patient’s quality of life. Effective treatment of MS requires detailed patient information be readily available.

To better monitor disease progression and long-term patient outcomes, clinicians with OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute collaborated with researchers at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria (UICOMP) to build a customized database.

The customized MS flowsheet registry resulted in several benefits, including:

  • 20.9 minute reduction (per patient) physician time spent searching for data.
  • 2.2 minute reduction (per patient) support staff time spent searching for data.
  • 300 percent increase in investigator initiated studies.

The success of the customized database suggests possible expansion may improve outcomes in other chronic or specialty care patient populations.

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Clinically Meaningful Quality Metrics Improve the Provider Experience

Nearly half (46 percent) of all physicians report that they suffer from burnout, citing too many bureaucratic tasks as one reason. Providers want to find meaning in their work, and improvement on many current quality metrics do not predict better patient outcomes or experience of care. They are looking for tools to reduce their workload and improve their ability to provide excellent care, including having metrics and registries that are meaningful and informative.

Faced with the challenge of making quality measures meaningful, Partners HealthCare worked to redefine measures to be more relevant, create point-of-care registries to manage an all-payer population, created teams of Population Health Coordinators to support front-line teams in managing the registries, and used its analytics platform to monitor change and explore provider variation in order to improve quality. This resulted in:

  • 85 percent of clinicians surveyed felt that the new metrics helped them take better care of their patients.
  • Quality improved at an unprecedented rate on an all-payer population five times bigger than the standard pay-for-performance population.
  • Near real-time measurement using clinical data eliminated months-long delays, while run charts and provider and clinic-comparison views turbo charged quality improvement.
  • 125 percent increase in user adoption of the analytic tool (99 unique users, 674 unique sessions, and rising).
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How Allina Engaged Clinicians and Analytics to Improve Influenza Vaccination Rate

Influenza, a contagious respiratory illness spread by droplets, can lead to hospitalization and even death. Millions of people get influenza each year, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands to tens of thousands die from influenza related causes each year. The key to preventing a devastating outbreak is vaccinating enough people that an outbreak is unlikely.

When Allina Health identified that its own rates for influenza vaccination were lower than desired, the health system studied data gleaned from its EHR and an Analytics Platform from Health Catalyst, which includes a Late-Binding™ Enterprise Data Warehouse and broad suite of analytics applications, to understand its true current vaccination performance. The data revealed that changes were in order, which Allina put in place through clinician feedback, engagement, and education.

Results:

  • 4.8 percentage point improvement in influenza vaccination rate, exceeding the Healthy People 2020 goals for vaccination.
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How Texas Children’s Turned Child Diabetes Management into a Community Cause

Patients with diabetes are at a high risk for infections and substantial complications, including the risk of death from infections. Further, social determinants in these patients’ communities have a tremendous influence on their health.

Texas Children’s Hospital, ranked as one of the top four Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, recognized that there were gaps in diabetes care coordination in the community—where the majority of a child’s diabetes management takes place. The hospital initiated a coordinated community response, aided with an analytics platform, which is setting the standard for community management of pediatric diabetes.

Results

  • 4 percent relative improvement in the percentage of patients with diabetes who received the influenza vaccine.
  • 3 percent relative improvement in pediatric provider diabetes knowledge.
  • 90 percent of patients now have individualized school packets developed and available in the EHR.
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Improving Population Health for Children with Diabetes

Diabetes is the most common chronic illness for children living in developed countries. Leaders at Texas Children’s Hospital wanted to take a more data-driven approach to population health management for children with diabetes. They created a Care Process Team (CPT) to pursue outcomes improvements related to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) since data from the EDW revealed that 64% of diabetes patients discharged had this life-threatening condition.

After the CPT achieved their initial goal of improving care for patients admitted to the hospital with DKA, they set out to implement larger improvements that would benefit the entire population of diabetes patients.

By empowering CPT members, leveraging data to drive decisions, and implementing new interventions effectively, the Diabetes CPT members have improved population health for patients with diabetes across all settings of care. Below are a few of the most significant results.

  • 44 percent relative decrease in LOS for patients with DKA.
  • 30.9 percent relative reduction in recurrent DKA admissions per fiscal year.
  • 34.4 percent relative improvement in the percentage of patients with diabetes who receive the influenza vaccine.
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Improving Diabetic Care in the Ambulatory Environment

Diabetes is the most common life-threatening, chronic illness in children who live in developed countries. With effective management of diabetes, children with diabetes can live long, healthy, and active lives.

Texas Children’s Hospital believes that diabetes patients and their families are most successful in managing their disease if they receive standardized, family-centered, multidisciplinary care in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

Texas Children’s created a new Clinic Care Process Team (CPT) which developed a comprehensive approach to standardizing diabetes care by automating best practice alerts that help clinicians recognize the need for testing, so they order labs more quickly.

Within one month of implementation Texas Children’s saw measurable improvements:

  • Screening percentages for each test improved to >80 percent.
  • 28.2 percent relative improvement in the percentage of patients receiving recommended annual thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) testing, with current performance greater than 90 percent.
  • 23 percent relative improvement in the percentage of patients receiving recommended annual lipid testing, with current performance greater than 90 percent.
  • 54.1 percent relative improvement in the percentage of patients receiving annual retinal examinations, with current performance at 94 percent.
  • Patient satisfaction is on an upward trend.
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Care Management: A Critical Component of Effective Population Health Management

Unprecedented changes in the healthcare payment system have resulted in health organizations across the country investing in the pursuit of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI’s) Triple Aim to improve population health, improve patient experience and outcomes, and reduce costs per capita. Health organizations must develop effective population health management strategies, and they need the right data and analytics to inform their initiatives.

Once armed with the information to make data-driven decisions, leading healthcare providers are implementing care management programs, which have proven to be helpful mechanisms for achieving the Triple Aim. Many healthcare organizations have identified specific patient cohorts to monitor the impact of care management interventions on individual and population health outcomes.

Data-driven care management programs that target high-risk and rising-risk patients can achieve impressive results, including:

  • Up to 20 percent lower rates of hospitalization in mature care management programs.
  • Lower rates of emergency department utilization.
  • Decreased costs.
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Developing a Multilevel Approach to Improving Population Health

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, yet heart attacks are largely preventable through healthier lifestyles. Spurred on by this knowledge, New Ulm Medical Center, the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, and the rural community of New Ulm, Minnesota, teamed up to create Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm (HONU) Project. This population-based prevention demonstration project aims to reduce the number of heart attacks and heart disease risk factors among the New Ulm population.

Recognizing the complex web of personal, institutional, and societal factors that influence an individual’s heart-health behaviors, HONU leaders implemented a multilevel strategy spanning 10 years to improve the health of the entire population.

The HONU Project’s multilevel, data-driven approach has resulted in substantial changes in improving population health in New Ulm:

  • Significant improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol at the population level.
    • 86 percent of residents now have blood pressure within the recommended range.
    • 72 percent have LDL cholesterol within the recommended range.
  • Improvements are greater than changes seen in the national comparison population.

 

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How an IDS Standardized Care for Women While Increasing Market Share

One in three pregnant women give birth via cesarean section in the United States, which is more than double the rate the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends. And instead of decreasing, the overall C-section rate in Washington State increased 73 percent from 1996 to 2009. C-section rates are just one area of maternal care where our practice in the U.S. lags behind the science and knowledge of best practice. MultiCare Health System believes that all of its female patients should experience the same high-quality care across its integrated delivery system. The health of the next generation depends on it.

MultiCare recognized that it had to standardize care across its system to meet quality standards, improve its patients’ experiences and outcomes, and maintain its market share. The health system launched a Women’s Collaborative, the sole purpose of which was to improve clinical care and patient outcomes for women’s services systemwide.

By working with clinicians to implement standards of care, and using analytics to measure performance, the Women’s Collaborative achieved the following:

  • NTSV (low-risk, rst-time mother) C-section rate 9 percent less than the national average and already below the 2022 national goal of 23.9 percent
  • Six-point increase in market share for inpatient OB/GYN services
  • Improvements in care delivery:
    • 63 percent reduction in episiotomy rate
    • 
11 percent reduction in SSI rate for C-sections
    • 14 percent reduction in 3rd or 4th degree perineal laceration rate
    • Non medically indicated induction rate consistently less than a quarter of one percent
    • 6.7 percent reduction in the percentage of abdominal hysterectomies
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A Care Model to Support the Needs of Medically Complex Patients

People with disabilities face daunting challenges in accessing basic healthcare. As a result, they frequently use hospitals and emergency rooms, and are four times as likely to be hospitalized compared to the general population.

Allina Health has deployed an effective “primary care medical home” model that gives patients with disabilities the care and support they need outside of the hospital setting. Key strategies of the model include assigning dedicated care coordinators to each patient; strengthening care coordination across the continuum of services; and an analytics platform from Health Catalyst to target opportunities for improvements and savings.

Allina’s data-driven efforts to strengthen care of patients with disabilities have made a clear and meaningful impact; most importantly, on patient outcomes. They have achieved: 30% reduction in hospitalizations and 66% reduction in hospitalization days; 79% reduction in 30-day readmissions days; significantly improved access to care; and saved $4.5 million over a one-year period.

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Calculating the ROI of Diabetes Care Improvement

Texas Children’s Hospital has dedicated itself not only to successfully improving diabetes mellitus (DM) outcomes, but also to developing a framework for measuring the ROI of its performance improvement efforts. Texas Children’s tackled its DM initiative with a combination of technology investments and new organizational models, including an enterprise data warehouse (EDW) and analytics platform, a clinical care process team model for improving the quality and cost of care, and a diabetic care unit (DCU) staffed by a highly specialized, highly trained group of providers. Health system leaders also worked with the business school at Rice University to develop a model for measuring ROI that focused on easily quantifiable drivers. The results of this effort include substantially improved quality of care for DM patients, an increase in net revenue by a projected $232,000 annually, and an estimated ROI of 53 percent.

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Nationally Recognized Transitional Rehabilitation Program’s Strategies

Serving patients with special needs, such as traumatic injury or multiple high acuity co-morbidities, is a costly and complex endeavor. Allina Health’s Transitional Rehabilitation Program (TRP) tackled both of these realities head-on—resulting in cost savings while helping this vulnerable patient population achieve a higher quality of life.

Recognizing the need for high-quality data that could prove the TRP’s value to its patients and community, Allina implemented analytics that enabled it to track and report outcomes and costs, demonstrate value, and generate savings for the health system and the community.

The initiative has reaped wide-ranging results in patient improvements and cost savings including saving health systems and communities $3.2 million over a one-year period, 20 percent greater success than traditional skilled nursing facilities in discharging patients to home and community, 20 percent improvement in impairment in brain injury patients (MPAI-4), and 84 percent improvement in spinal cord independence measure (SCIM).

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Care Management Strategy Improves Lives of Stroke Patients

Stroke is a leading cause of hospitalizations among elderly often resulting in serious long-term disability, readmissions (up to 27% are readmitted to the hospital in year one), or secondary stroke. Allina Health’s Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute (CKRI) had deployed a successful care coordination model for other complicated, high-risk populations that it was confident would help stroke patients, as well.

CKRI created a holistic program for stroke patients that delivers comprehensive, seamless care across inpatient, outpatient and support services. A data warehouse and analytics platform merges data across the care continuum, and enables Allina to target high-risk stroke patients for coordinated care, track their progress and measure their outcomes.

Within a year, Allina was able to prove the value of this new care model for stroke by realizing $350,000 in cost savings and, most importantly, through actual lives saved and improved.

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One Healthcare System’s Effective Strategy to Improve Pneumonia Outcomes

MultiCare Health System, an IDS serving communities throughout Washington State, recently undertook an initiative to improve the care of, cost of, and experience for pneumonia patients. This initiative included the building of evidenced-based order sets (and driving their adoption), assigning a team of social workers called “personal health partners” to research and improve patient follow-up and communication, and deploying an analytics application to provide near real-time feedback on compliance and performance while offering a single view of patient-specific data across multiple visits and care settings, such as medication and readmission histories. Through these efforts, MultiCare has realized significant outcome improvements including reducing pneumonia readmissions by 23 percent, a 28 percent reduction in mortality rate, a 2 percent decrease in LOS, and a 6.4 percent reduction in average variable cost per patient.

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Achieve Reduced Heart Failure Readmission Rates: One Healthcare Organization’s Care Coordination Strategy

Heart failure (HF) sends more US adults over 65 to the hospital than any other cause—costing Medicare alone more than $17 billion annually—with readmissions significantly contributing to the issue. For large integrated networks like Allina Health, efforts to reduce readmissions for HF patients are challenged by the need for coordinated care and consolidated data across the care continuum. Allina implemented a multidisciplinary HF management program with a nurse care coordinator and nurse practitioners who assure patient engagement and provide a “bridge” between different points in the care continuum. These important people and processes are aided by access to data from an enterprise data warehouse that merges data across the health system and gives providers insight into HF care and performance metrics. The program has helped Allina achieve a 30-day HF readmission rate well below the national average —17 percent in 10 of 11 hospitals doing cardiac care.

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How Partners HealthCare is Leveraging Episode-Based Data to Improve Care Delivery

U.S. healthcare is shifting from procedure and visit approaches to a longitudinal view of patient care. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is supporting this change with their “Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative.” Under the initiative, healthcare organizations enter into payments arrangements with financial and performance accountability for 48 episodes of care. This requires health organizations to integrate data from a combination of sources in order to identify the bundles with the highest costs and the sources of variation. Learn how Partners HealthCare, an Integrated Healthcare Delivery System and ACO, successfully integrated hospital, provider, and claims information for the first time—and how they can now easily evaluate and compare clinical and financial performance for the 48 CMS episodes of care.

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Managing Half a Million Risk-Contracted Lives: Partners HealthCare Population Health Strategy

Population health management in a value-based model requires reengineering care delivery to provide higher quality of care at a lower cost. To address this challenge, organizations need to take a system-wide, strategic approach to defining their structures and processes. Learn how Partners Healthcare, an Integrated Healthcare Delivery System and ACO, developed and successfully implemented a strategic framework —guided by strong leadership and meticulous change management—for managing its half a million risk-contracted lives. The framework enables collaboration and aligns providers across the care continuum, using a unified set of performance targets for all contracts. The framework includes a robust analytics system that provides metrics to deliver the best patient care, while meeting the disparate requirements of multiple external contracts. Partners Healthcare has developed an internal performance framework that can serve as a population health management model for health systems throughout the United States.

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Patient Identification and Matching—An Essential Element of Using an Enterprise Data Warehouse to Manage Population Health

In a healthcare industry transitioning to value-based reimbursement and population health management (PHM), matching patients accurately to their care events across multiple sites of care and sources of information is becoming ever more important. Being able to accurately track utilization of services for a particular patient, patient population, or provider is fundamental to the strategies underlying effective population health management. Partners HealthCare developed an effective patient matching solution for more than 10.5 million patients achieving a 20 percent improvement in patient matching accuracy and a 96-99 percent high-risk patient matching rate. This has allowed the organization to accurately “flag” high risk patient populations and better manage risk under risk-based contracts.

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Sepsis Mortality and Length of Stay: One Hospital System’s Story

Sepsis, a serious complication that strikes quickly and is often fatal, is the single most expensive condition to treat in the hospital, in part because of the longer than average stay. To reduce sepsis mortality rates, which are between 20 and 50 percent, many hospitals have established evidence based bundles comprised of antibiotic administration, lactate level monitoring and other elements of care. However, without analytics, hospitals rely on manual processes to track sepsis rates and bundle compliance. Learn how Mission Health has streamlined surveillance by 75% while experiencing a 2.6% reduction in sepsis mortality rates and an 18% reduction in length of hospital stay.

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Using Advanced Analytics to Manage Population Health in Primary Care Clinics

The need to effectively manage the health of populations is largely driven by the fact that 5 percent of the population accounts for 50 percent of healthcare costs. Being able to identify these patients, provide high-quality care and reduce their utilization is a pressing goal for many of today’s primary care providers (PCPs). Learn how this healthcare organization used a healthcare enterprise data warehouse and analytics to better manage their individual patients and patient population, integrate regulatory and performance reporting, and allow PCPs to spend more time with patients and less time collecting data.

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How to Improve the Population Health of Women and Newborns: Exclusive Breast Milk Feeding

Several regulatory and licensing agencies are focused on Women and Newborn Population Health measures (Healthy People, 2020; the World Health Organization; and The Joint Commission (TJC)).  Beginning in January 1, 2014, TJC began requiring hospitals that delivered at least 1,100 infants annually to report their rates of exclusive breast milk feeding. The measure has also been incorporated into Meaningful Use requirements. This healthcare system, like many organizations, couldn’t accurately report their rates.  Learn how they used healthcare analytics to optimize their EMR data capture, reduce manual chart abstraction and increased their breast milk feeding rates by 21 percent.

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Community Care Physicians Deliver Effective Population Health Management with Clinical Analytics

Learn how Community Care Physicians used clinical analytics to drive a 75 percent reduction in patient navigator reporting and chart abstraction time. Now RNs can spend more time focused on quality improvements.  Patients also receive timely outreach for overdue treatment and upcoming reminders. View sample regulatory and patient level visualizations and learn how these graphical visuals — including clinic and provider comparison metrics — helped drive provider engagement.

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