Data-Driven Practice Intelligence Increases Provider Engagement and Strengthens Improvement Efforts

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“The analytics platform has made it easier to engage with providers and clinics. We have more data—better data—that is specific to their practice, and it has increased provider engagement and the desire to improve. Recognizing that population health is a reality for everyone, the tools at our disposal serve as the catalyst for facilitating the practice transformation process.”

– Brian Litz, MBAH
Project Manager
Practice Intelligence

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Physicians are under increasing cost pressure from commercial health insurers and government payers. Physician groups that wish to remain independent must embrace the changes associated with the shift to value-based care, adopt new technologies to reduce and streamline costs, and demonstrate ongoing quality improvement.

Acuitas Health is a population health services organization that empowers physicians to make a successful transition to a value-based care delivery system. While the organization has the requisite expertise to provide these services to providers of care, Acuitas Health lacked the timely, actionable data required to effectively engage providers in improvement efforts.

Acuitas Health implemented the Health Catalyst® Data Operating System (DOS™) to support the development of practice intelligence profiles—comprehensive views of partner practices used by the practice intelligence team to increase provider engagement and strengthen improvement efforts.

As a result of the DOS implementation, Acuitas Health improved overall data quality to achieve significant results:

  • Substantial increase in provider engagement.
  • 90 percent improvement in using data to identify improvement opportunities.
  • Provider- and practice-specific data, which would have previously taken months to compile, is now available daily.

TRANSITIONING TO VALUE-BASED CARE REQUIRES PRACTICE INTELLIGENCE

Physicians transitioning to value-based care feel increasing cost pressure from commercial health insurers and government payers.1 At the same time, the number of quality measures continues to increase, creating a reporting burden for physicians and other healthcare providers.2 A recent survey identified that more than half of U.S. physicians report a loss of enthusiasm for work.3 Top factors physicians identify as contributing to burnout include too many bureaucratic tasks, spending too many hours at work, increased practice computerization, feeling marginalized, and lack of professional fulfillment.4

Physician groups that wish to remain independent must embrace the changes associated with the shift to value-based care, adopt new technologies to reduce and streamline costs, and demonstrate ongoing quality improvement.5

Acuitas Health is a population health services organization that empowers physicians to make a successful transition to a value-based care delivery system. Acuitas Health supports its partner practices by providing the necessary expertise and resources in care management and analytics to deliver high-value healthcare while preserving the independent practice of medicine.

THE NEED FOR TIMELY AND ACTIONABLE DATA

Acuitas Health provides the necessary expertise and resources to harness the power of population health, and reduce variation and waste. Its process analysis and resource distribution tools improve the clinical and financial performance of its practices. Acuitas Health refers to this body of information, knowledge, and services as “practice intelligence.”

Some of the services Acuitas Health provides as part of practice intelligence include program expertise, analytics/workflow integration, education, clinical and financial metric and requirements monitoring, best-practices sharing, quality and process improvement, practice consultation, outcomes-centric optimization, and transformation. Acuitas Health’s approach requires proximity and close relationships with providers of care and requires an intimate understanding of the associated patient population.

While Acuitas Health has the requisite expertise to provide these services to care providers, the organization lacked the timely, actionable data required to effectively engage providers in improvement efforts. Available data was lagging, in some cases, up to eight months. This made it difficult to use the data, as it was too far from the event to improve.

Aggregate data for select performance indicators was available, but clinic- and provider-specific data was lacking. As a result, Acuitas Health often relied on local or national benchmarks to identify opportunities for improvement and to establish improvement goals—a sound approach, but the lack of provider- or patient-specific data hindered provider engagement.

For practice intelligence, and the providers and clinics it supports, to be successful, Acuitas Health needed to better engage providers in implementing interventions to improve performance. To accomplish this, Acuitas Health needed the ability to share clinic-, provider-, and patient-specific data to improve the timeliness and specificity of data used for improvement efforts, and to engage its physician practices in improvement efforts.

NEW ANALYTICS PLATFORM SUPPORTS PRACTICE INTELLIGENCE

Acuitas Health recognized that it needed to integrate data in a way that equips providers and practice managers with access to real-time or near real-time insights about performance, in addition to providing access to tools and insights that can be used to improve practice and financial outcomes.

Acuitas Health elected a phased approach to implementing the Health Catalyst Data Operating System (DOS). DOS combines the features of data warehousing, clinical data repositories, and health information exchanges in a single, common-sense technology platform (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Health Catalyst Data Operating System (DOS™)

The phased implementation of DOS has allowed Acuitas Health to focus the strategic implementation of analytics applications, including Patient Intake and Care Coordination, to meet specific business needs. The phased implementation has also enabled the continued development of integrated care management team services and scaling across partner practices, and the implementation of Subject Area Marts to support organizational priorities and business needs.

Acuitas Health uses DOS to support the development of practice intelligence profiles—comprehensive views of partner practices used by the practice intelligence team. Practice intelligence profiles contain information about the practice, including practice size, location, scope of services, team composition, methods and philosophy, technology used, level of engagement, financial successes, quality successes, incentives earned or missed, barriers and challenges, payer mix, patient population, care managed patient population, and turnover data.

The practice intelligence team at Acuitas Health uses the profiles to accomplish several things:

  • Identify the most effective way to engage, with whom to engage, when to engage, and how best to engage.
  • Allocate resources efficiently.
  • Identify and socialize best practices.
  • Promote collaboration.

The team can take the profiles, as well as information from DOS, to work with providers on using their performance data to identify improvement opportunities and evaluate the effect of improvement activities on patient and practice outcomes.

RESULTS

Acuitas Health integrated multiple data sources by implementing DOS to create value and support the practice intelligence team in its collaborative partnerships with clinics and providers. This has surfaced improvement opportunities and expanded best practices, increasing provider engagement and satisfaction, while simultaneously decreasing the burden associated with quality measurement.

For the first time, teams and providers have timely, actionable data about their performance, practice, and patients, to uncover opportunities that could not previously be readily identified. Results include:

  • Substantial increase in provider engagement.
  • 90 percent improvement in the use of data for identifying improvement opportunities
  • Provider- and practice-specific data, which would have previously taken months to compile, is now available daily.

Examples of how the practice intelligence team has been able to leverage practice intelligence data and DOS to improve provider engagement within partner practices include:

  • Radiology utilization: providers are now able to compare their specific performance to other medical sites within various practices. This provider-specific data has sparked interest and conversations resulting in work efforts to improve workflow,best practices adoption, and improved turnaround time.
  • Pediatric immunizations: as a result of improved data timeliness, specificity, and accuracy, the practice intelligence team and care managers engaged with providers, clinic staff,and practice managers, improving immunization reporting accuracy.
  • NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition: through collaboration among the practice intelligence team, clinic leaders, clinic staff, and providers, development of a curriculum and an ability to identify various funding streams needed to sustain transformation efforts, a practice submitted an initial NCQA PCMH 2014 Standards application in just a few months.

WHAT’S NEXT

Acuitas Health plans to further leverage DOS, offering providers solutions focused on monitoring medical practice vital signs and giving providers the clinical, business, financial, operational, and technical tools essential to succeed in value-based healthcare.

REFERENCES

  1. Santilli, J., & Vogenberg, F. R. (2015). Key strategic trends that impact healthcare decision-making and stakeholder roles in the new marketplace. American Health & Drug Benefits, 8(1), 15–20. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4415172/
  2. National Quality Forum. (2017). NQF’s measure applications partnership identifies opportunities to reduce measure burden in federal healthcare programs. Retrieved from https://www.qualityforum.org/News_And_Resources/Press_Releases/2017/NQF_s_Measure_Applications_Partnership_Identifies_Opportunities_to_Reduce__
    Measure_Burden_in_Federal_Healthcare_Programs.aspx
  3. Medscape. (2017). Medscape’s 2017 physician lifestyle report. Retrieved from https://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/lifestyle/2017/overview#page=2
  4. Friedberg, M. W., Chen, P. G., Van Busum, K. R., Aunon, F. M., Pham, C., Caloyeras, J. P., . . . Tutty, M. (2013). Factors affecting physician professional satisfaction and their implications for patient care, health systems, and health policy (Rep.). Rand Corporation. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR439.html
  5. Oliver, E. (2017). Value-based care & the independent practice — what you need to know, what you’re not talking about. Becker’s ASC Review. Retrieved from https://www.beckersasc.com/asc-coding-billing-and-collections/value-based-care-the-independent-practice-what-you-need-to-know-what-you-re-not-talking-about.html

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