Read how Allina Health is transforming healthcare by embracing a vision of the future where 100 percent of healthcare services add value, and everyone has access to quality, compassionate care. Utilizing data and analytics to drive its improvement efforts, the health system has continued to improve and sustain outcomes.
Leadership, Culture & Governance
Read how UnityPoint Health leveraged information from a readiness assessment, an opportunity analysis, and expert resources, enabling the organization to establish a prioritization and implementation strategy to drive outcomes improvement and reduce clinical variation.
Healthcare is undergoing a significant transformation, requiring an objective way for organizations to understand its strengths and weaknesses relative to outcomes improvement and readiness for change to improve patient outcomes. Read how UnityPoint Health utilized an outcomes readiness assessment tool to successfully identify its competency levels, providing a clear direction for its improvement efforts.
Unwarranted variation in clinical care is costly, representing as much as $30 million of actionable savings opportunity for a typical organization. Allina Health launched its Clinical Value Program—a systemwide effort to measure and improve clinical value. The program quantifies the value of clinical change work to improve outcomes while reducing costs and increasing revenue for reinvestment in care.
Growth in the government payer mix and an increased cost burden to the commercial population, decreases in the private payer population, and programs like the Medicare Shared Services Program, have caused joint ventures, partnerships, and co-branding efforts, better known as at-risk contracts, between payers and providers to increase.
Allina Health has three Integrated Health Partnership (IHP) contracts, an accountable care model that incentivizes healthcare providers to take on more financial accountability for the cost of care for Medicaid patients, which cover approximately 90,000 members. To achieve success in its IHP contracts, and avoid losses, Allina Health needed to reduce healthcare costs while improving patient outcomes and experience.
Allina Health has integrated several data sources, including claims and developed the infrastructure required to perform opportunity analysis. Using data and analytics for opportunity analysis has given Allina Health insight into its IHP patient population, supporting the development of interventions to decrease the total cost of care and improve outcomes.
CMS denies nearly 26 percent of all claims, of which up to 40 percent are never resubmitted. The bane of many healthcare systems is the inability to identify and correct the root causes of these denials, which can end up costing a single system tens of millions of dollars. Yet almost two-thirds of denials are recoverable and 90 percent are preventable.1 Despite previous initiatives, The University of Kansas Health System’s denial rate (25 percent) was higher than best practice (five percent), and leadership realized that, to provide its patients with world-class financial and clinical outcomes, it would need to engage differently with its clinical partners.
To effectively reduce revenue cycle and implement effective change, The University of Kansas Health System needed to proactively identify issues that occurred early in the revenue cycle process. To rethink its denials process, it simultaneously increased organizational commitment, refined its improvement task force structure, developed new data capabilities to inform the work, and built collaborative partnerships between clinicians and the finance team.
As a result of its renewed efforts, process re-design, stakeholder engagement, and improved analytics, The University of Kansas Health System achieved impressive savings in just eight months.
$3 million in recurring benefit, the direct result of denials reduction.
$4 million annualized recurring benefit.
Successfully partnered with clinical leadership to transition ongoing denial reduction efforts to operational leaders.
Publicly reported measures of healthcare quality includes the Hospital Safety Score Grades which award a letter grade representing performance for 30 evidence-based measures of patient safety. An “A” represents the best Hospital Safety Score, followed in order by “B,” “C,” “D,” and “F.” In the fall of 2014, Piedmont’s Hospital Safety Score Grade for its five hospitals included four “C’s” and a “D.” This demonstrated a need to change its approach to quality improvement and ensure proper resources were allocated and aligned with the value chain, enabling it to efficiently conduct surveillance activities, perform analysis, and facilitate sustained outcomes improvement.
To increase capacity for performing more value-added work, Piedmont leveraged its analytics platform to automate surveillance activities and monitor the effectiveness of quality improvement efforts. These tools helped Piedmont redesign its quality improvement efforts, resulting in a:
35 percent relative reduction in healthcare facility acquired infections per patient day.
50 percent reduction in the time required for peer review.
50 percent reduction in the time to implement improvement projects.
Healthcare organizations need to be cognizant of their readiness for change, enabling them to create a plan that will enhance the organization’s ability to successfully drive change. While many studies have been completed on the importance of organizational readiness in non-healthcare organizations, there is little research and relatively few, measurement tools focused specifically on healthcare organizations.
To cement the Pulse Heart Institute (Pulse Heart) as a destination for adult heart health, and ensure its long-term success, Pulse Heart required a better understanding of its readiness to drive and sustain outcomes improvements—which it found through an onsite assessment that leveraged the Health Catalyst® Outcomes Improvement Readiness Assessment (OIRA) framework. Using the assessment findings and subsequent recommendations, Pulse Heart successfully developed, and continues to develop, the findings to guide workplans to improve competencies and enable the organization for long-term outcomes improvements success.
Based on the results of the onsite readiness assessment they have identified and implemented interventions to improve readiness for change in each of the five major OIRA Tool categories:
Leadership, culture, and governance
With the current state of uncertainty facing healthcare organizations, survival requires unprecedented agility when it comes to acquiring and responding to meaningful, strategic information. After adopting the Health Catalyst Analytics Platform, including the Late-Binding™ Data Warehouse and broad suite of analytics applications, Partners HealthCare promoted a philosophy of expanded access to the enterprise data warehouse (EDW) to increase adoption and self-service analytics to improve patient care and outcomes.
Partners needed widespread adoption of the EDW so that information could be meaningfully incorporated into strategic, clinical and operational decision making to support patient care. This meant that users who had a legitimate need to access data to support their job function were encouraged to seek access to the EDW. The organization continues to focus on further increasing the effectiveness of this strategy by ensuring that users have the means to acquire the skills, knowledge, and support they need to effectively use data stored in the EDW.
243 percent increase in user base—achieved over a two-year period (700+ unique users).
More data available to a broader audience than ever before.
Physician time to access data reduced from weeks to clicks.
87 percent of user community satisfied with the effectiveness of communication provided to support their use of the EDW.
Mixed reviews of the effectiveness of pay-for-performance programs leave hospitals wondering how to affect meaningful change in patient care and outcomes. However, MultiCare’s experience with focused improvement efforts supported by analytics for pneumonia, sepsis, and women’s care showed that better data consistently leads to better patient outcomes.
Committed to improving population health, and informed by their experience as well as national trends and outcomes, MultiCare formed a new partnership with Health Catalyst, a next-generation data, analytics, and decision support company. The shared risk partnership generated an improvement framework and governance structure formed around a Shared Governance Committee which is responsible for prioritizing, resourcing, and aligning improvement initiatives across MultiCare. The committee and the projects it ultimately approves are informed by data-driven opportunity analysis and ongoing analytics support. This partnership and structure have achieved the following:
Strategic alignment of outcomes goals across the organization.
Established an Analytics Center of Excellence.
Integrated financial data into outcomes improvement initiatives.
Healthcare organizations are among the most complex forms of human organization ever attempted to be managed, making transformation a daunting task. Despite the challenges associated with change, Texas Children’s Hospital identified that it needed to evolve into a data-driven outcomes improvement organization.
Texas Children’s embarked on a journey to transform care, building a three-systems approach—analytics, best practice, and adoption—designed to develop a data-driven quality improvement organization that could achieve outcomes improvement expediently and at scale across the entire organization. Texas Children’s leadership knew that the foundation for clinical systems integration would be meaningful, actionable data. That realization prompted the organization to implement the Health Catalyst Analytics Platform including a Late-Binding™ Data Warehouse (EDW) and a broad suite of analytics applications.
After deploying the analytics platform supported by multidisciplinary quality improvement teams, Texas Children’s was able to improve patient outcomes related to the following:
35 percent relative decrease in hospital-acquired conditions (HACs).
44 percent relative decrease in LOS for patients with Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
30.9 percent relative reduction in recurrent DKA admissions per fiscal year.
Tracing its roots back nearly 120 years, Mission Health has a vision to provide world-class care to western North Carolina and beyond—even as the entire healthcare profession experiences a disruptive upheaval. Mission determined to meet these external changes by making a big change of its own: embracing a culture of continuous improvement.
Mission subsequently engaged physicians and other clinicians to increase process improvement skills, while expanding access to meaningful data via an analytics platform from Health Catalyst.
20 percent improvement in compliance with severe sepsis; 32 percent reduction in mortality rates; 58 percent increase in sepsis detection.
7 percent reduction in LOS for bowel surgery patients.
34 percent improvement in heart failure LVEF assessment rates.
20 percent increase in “on time” starts as result of OR dashboard.
With the advent of analytics, hospitals have new access to high quality, reliable data. In turn, this can fuel any number of outcomes improvement projects, but hospitals have finite resources to expend on these initiatives. A process is needed to identify which ones will deliver the highest value and best align with the hospital’s overarching priorities.
To balance the demand for analytics support of improvement projects Mission Health designed a prioritization tool that has helped them identify the right projects to approve–while keeping stakeholders more engaged than ever in improving outcomes for patients.
To date, 80 percent of 55 approved projects have met or exceeded their initial targets. Actual realized targets include:
32 percent reduction in sepsis mortality
20 percent improved compliance with the sepsis care process
7 percent reduction in LOS for bowel surgery patients
Up to 50 percent of all hospital deaths in the United States are linked to sepsis. That sepsis mortality statistic was not lost on Piedmont Healthcare, a system of six hospitals and more than 100 physician and specialist offices across greater Atlanta and North Georgia. Sepsis accounted for half of Piedmont’s mortality rate, despite years of progress in sepsis care.
Piedmont leaders recognized that they needed an innovative quality improvement methodology to spread best practices and sustain improvement, supported by an accessible source of timely, reliable, and actionable information. They therefore implemented a “core and spread” team structure to promote enterprise-wide adoption of best practices. The health system also deployed a sepsis prevention analytics application to deliver performance insight to all levels of the organization, and discovered a high correlation between better patient and financial outcomes and the number of bundle elements the patient received. Being able to tie outcomes to interventions, along with the incorporation of nurse driven protocols, resulted in sustained practice change and greater engagement from physicians, nursing and frontline staff, all the way to the Board level.
As a result, Piedmont achieved the following impressive outcomes:
5.8 percent reduction in mortality for all patients with severe sepsis and septic shock, translating to 26 lives saved in one year.
2.5 percent reduction in total inpatient length of stay (LOS).
8.2 percent reduction in variable cost per case, equating to $4.3 million saved in one year.
By the age of 60, more than one-third of women in the United States have had a hysterectomy. Healthcare systems across the country are recognizing that a women’s health service line offers a pathway to improving care and decreasing cost for these patients. Having accurate activity-based costing information is necessary to uncover opportunities for clinical practice improvement and cost reduction.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) made the decision to organize Women’s Health as a service line across the entire health system. UPMC fortified this approach with strong and collaborative leadership, an enterprise data warehouse, and an activity-based cost management system. The results:
20 percent reduction in inpatient length of stay for hysterectomies (over a three-year time period)
34 percent reduction in open hysterectomies
28.3 percent reduction in 30-day readmissions for hysterectomies
These results were obtained during a time when this clinical service saw a 25 percent improvement in its contribution margin.
The U.S. healthcare system is the most expensive in the world, but data consistently shows the U.S. underperforming relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’s) accountable care organization (ACO) model is aimed at addressing that issue by offering financial incentives for providers to improve the health of populations and reduce costs through greater efficiencies and a focus on preventive care.
Mission Health formed a Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACO called Mission Health Partners (MHP), which is responsible for 40,000 patient lives. MHP knew that its manual approach to data collection and reporting would not be sufficient for the required ACO quality metrics. By leveraging a previously implemented enterprise data warehouse platform and implementing an ACO MSSP analytics application, MHP was able to automate the processes of data-gathering and analysis and align the data with ACO quality reporting measures. The visibility and transparency of near real-time, online performance data coupled with focused process improvement has resulted in subsequent improvement in all 33 of the ACO performance metrics. Specifically, improvements have included:
9.6 percent increase in compliance over all reported ACO metrics, with 23,000 more patients receiving recommended treatment or screenings.
98.9 percent of eligible patients received screenings for clinical depression and follow up.
40 percent increase in number of patients receiving any cancer screening; 46 percent improvement in the number of patients receiving colorectal cancer screening.
456 percent increase in the number of patients getting fall risk screening.
As consumers pay more for their healthcare they are demanding more transparency. In a telling example, it’s estimated that over 84 percent of patients use online provider reviews to help make care decisions. With increased transparency, hospitals need to develop strategies to address patient satisfaction while finding a way to participate for more fully in the patient satisfaction dialogue and social media communications, including the rating process.
One large hospital has done just that by increasing transparency in the patient review process. A key component is providing physician star ratings by patients on the hospital’s own website, with patient survey data sourced from Health Catalyst’s analytics platform. While this strategy took time and effort to win over physician acceptance, it has paid off considerably by taking patient satisfaction to new heights.
The overall patient satisfaction improvement initiative, of which the physician transparency effort was a key component, has proven to be resoundingly successful in supporting physicians and staff in the difficult work of providing outstanding and compassionate care – and has reaped impressive results including,
Improved patient satisfaction scores from 60 percent to over 90 percent
Successfully implemented a physician mitigation strategy with a 98 percent comment acceptance rate
Intensified focus on the patient experience through data and education
Hospital-acquired conditions (HACs)—such as central line-associated blood stream infections (CLASBIs) and pressure ulcers (PUs)—cause harm and adversely affect patients’ lives, while also increasing hospital length of stay (LOS) and total hospital costs. In fact, each case of CLABSI alone costs up to $55,000 to treat and makes health systems vulnerable to reimbursement penalties.1
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW), a nationally ranked pediatric center with two hospitals and a surgery center, recognized that reducing the rate of HACs in its facilities would require major systematic changes. CHW’s approach to transforming care to prevent HACs included cultural changes with an emphasis on staff education and engagement and a new governance structure to support the initiative. These changes were powered by high-tech tools and quicker access to new types of data that CHW didn’t have in the past.
The hospital’s implementation of its comprehensive and collaborative HAC reduction plan has resulted in measurable quality of care improvements and cost reductions, including:
$1.6 million savings realized to date as a result of a 30 percent reduction in the overall number of HACs
23 percent reduction in central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs)
74 percent reduction of pressure ulcers (PUs)
68 percent reduction in venous thromboembolisms (VTEs)
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
When healthcare information systems don’t talk to each other, countless inefficiencies and patient safety issues may arise.
Community Health Network (CHNw) believes in delivering outstanding care to every patient. In order to minimize patient safety risks and inefficiencies resulting from using different EHRs, CHNw embarked on a journey to integrate its healthcare information technologies. After implementing a Late-Binding™ Data Warehouse from Health Catalyst that integrates all key data sources, CHNw now has a consistent and comprehensive perspective for multiple patient encounters across the enterprise. It has achieved the following results:
Data from multiple EHR vendors, including four inpatient EHRs and two ambulatory EHRs, plus five transactional systems—HR, patient experience, patient safety, finance, and supply chain— were integrated within 12 months.
More than 55,000 data elements and over 18 billion rows of data were incorporated.
Patient-to-patient matching was implemented for over one million patients across the four inpatient EHRs. This is vital for managing patient populations.
Operational efficiency was improved by 70 percent, with data architects spending an estimated 15 percent of time supporting interfaces compared to an estimated 40-50 percent before the integration. In one example, CHNw linked its ERP/costing system to the EDW’s EHR source marts with just a single interface; previously, this would have required building separate interfaces for all six EHRs.
For patients with the severest form of sepsis, the chance of survival decreases by 7.6 percent for every hour that antimicrobial treatment is delayed. Coordinated team work and the speed with which recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of sepsis occur are critical. Health systems across the country have discovered that by successfully engaging clinicians in driving and maintaining best practice interventions they are able to save lives and improve patient outcomes. At Piedmont Healthcare, the work of educating clinicians on the importance of following sepsis care best practices had been done. The missing pieces were a well-resourced, systemwide improvement team to improve sepsis care, and a concise way to view and give timely feedback on performance based on accurate, trusted data. To fill in these missing pieces, Piedmont created a cross-representative sepsis improvement team and enabled tracking for compliance to best practices with an analytics application from Health Catalyst. Within just three months of deploying the Sepsis Improvement Application, Piedmont has accomplished significant improvements in efficiency—and completely won trust in the data. Piedmont has already identified early indications of patient outcome improvements. Initial achievements of its sepsis improvement team include deploying systemwide visibility into sepsis care performance and best practices compliance, improved acknowledgement of first alert by 19 percent across the system, and a reduction in manual data collection by 97 percent.
Improving clinical outcomes is good for patients and good for health systems. In fact, Allina Health’s focus on data-driven outcomes improvement realized a total financial improvement of $125 million in a single year.
Allina embraced the mandate of achieving the Triple Aim: improving the quality and cost of care, as well as the patient experience. To achieve this goal, Allina’s leaders recognized that they would need to realign their strategies, organizational structures, and management practices. Confident that data would help the health system improve the quality of patient care and reduce costs, they implemented a data-driven performance improvement strategy.
The results are astounding. This strategy has achieved financial improvements for the health system of $100+ million per year, four years running, while also advancing Allina Health’s Triple Aim goals of improved clinical outcomes and a better patient experience through dozens of improvement initiatives.
Thibodaux Regional Medical Center has always excelled in delivering quality care to its patients, but a fundamental tenet of its culture is continuous improvement.
Driving that continuous improvement is a methodology The Joint Commission called “best practice in how to use data and get physicians engaged.” This quality improvement methodology centers around a three-systems care transformation model that includes best-practice care protocols, analytics, and rapid time-to-value analytics application development and frontline clinician adoption.
We believe healthcare is undergoing a transformation and that CEOs need to promote a culture of dialogue and adaptive learning to drive continuous quality improvement. Thirty years ago Greg Stock, CEO of Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, was seated in a healthcare conference when he heard a presenter say, “Thirty percent of clinical care is waste.” These words triggered something in Stock that sent him down a relentless path to transforming healthcare in his community.
Learn how Stock is leading and sustaining outcomes by establishing a culture of quality with an adaptive leadership style, engaging physicians, and using analytics, best practices and adoption processes that work.
To tackle the variation and waste that can arise from different treatment decisions, Allina Health developed a solid framework to establish and deploy standard, evidence-based practices across the enterprise. The transition to a standard evidence-based decision-making process required collaboration and buy-in from multiple stakeholders and physicians. Allina’s established quality governance structure reviewed and approved system-wide clinical practice guidelines for Stage 1 lung cancer treatment and IV heparin treatment. To sustain and improve on this new model of care, a comprehensive checklist was developed to ensure that all future guidelines are based on patient subgroups and preferences, available evidence, stakeholder review, and other important criteria including IOM standards. Adherence to guidelines is monitored with metrics based on data extracted from Allina’s enterprise data warehouse and from the electronic health record. Results to date already indicate notable improvements in variation and cost, including the following: the establishment of a system-wide EBDM model and policy, 20 system-wide approved evidence-based guidelines developed months faster, a 5 percent decrease in Stage 1 lung cancer treatment variation, and a 20 percent decrease in the number of heparin protocols.