Quality & Process Improvements

Success Stories

Health Catalyst

Quality as Strategy Transforms Care

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.

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Readiness Assessment Key to Sustainable Outcomes Improvement

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.

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Standard Approach to Early Induction of Labor Successfully Reduces Unnecessary Cesarean Deliveries

In the U.S., nearly one in three women give birth via cesarean delivery. Unnecessary cesarean deliveries can expose mothers and babies to possible harm without providing many benefits. Read how Gunnison Valley Hospital reduced the number of unnecessary cesarean deliveries by standardizing labor and delivery care practices and utilizing data from its analytics platform.

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

To address physicians’ concerns with value-based care requires timely and actionable data for generating insights and initiating improvement programs. Read how Acuitas Health utilized its analytics platform 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.

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Dedication to Quality Improvement Delivers on the Triple Aim: Saves Tens of Millions Annually

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.

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Enhanced Recovery Program Improves Elective Colorectal Surgical Outcomes

Contemporary colorectal surgery is often associated with long LOS, high costs, and surgical site infections (SSI) approaching 20 percent. Much of the LOS variation is not attributable to patient illness or complications, but most likely represents differences in practice style. Successfully reducing SSI requires a multimodal strategy under the supervision of numerous providers with high compliance across the spectrum.
Allina Health was using established, evidence-based clinical guidelines, yet clinical variation remained high across pre-arrival, preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative care areas, leading to substantial variation in LOS, cost of care, and the patient experience. To ensure greater consistency, Allina Health developed an enhanced recovery program (ERP) for patients undergoing elective colorectal surgery, which built standard protocols into the EHR to address elements of care from pre-arrival through post-discharge.
To facilitate the program and monitor performance, Allina Health developed an ERP analytics application with an administrative dashboard to easily visualize first-year results:

78 percent relative reduction in elective colorectal SSI rate.
19 percent relative reduction in LOS for patients with elective colorectal surgery.
82.4 percent utilization of preoperative and postoperative order sets, increasing the consistency of care and reducing unwarranted variation.

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Using Data to Spotlight Variation and Transform Total Joint Care

Total Hip (THA) and Total Knee (TKA) Arthroplasty are the most prevalent surgeries for Medicare patients, numbering over 400,000 cases in 2014, costing more than seven billion dollars annually for the hospitalization alone. Today, more than seven million Americans have hip or knee implants, and the number is rising. Furthermore, substantial variation in the cost per case has raised questions about the quality of care. At Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, total joint replacement for hips and knees emerged as one of the top two cost-driving clinical areas with variation in care processes.
To address this, Thibodaux Regional maintained its focus on the IHI Triple Aim while developing organizational and clinical strategies to transform the care of patients undergoing THA and TKA. It commissioned a Care Transformation Orthopedic Team that set multiple outcome goals. Among its many efforts, the team established standard care processes, created an educational program, redesigned order sets and workflows, and deployed a joint replacement analytics application.
Thibodaux Regional reduced variability and decreased costs significantly while maintaining high levels of patient satisfaction:

76.5 percent relative reduction in complication rate for total hip and total knee replacement.
38.5 percent relative reduction in LOS for patients with total hip replacements.
23.3 percent relative reduction in LOS for patients with total knee replacement.
$815,103 cost savings, achieved in less than two years.

 
 

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Clinical and Financial Partnership Reduces Denials and Write-Offs by More than $3 Million

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.

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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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Unleashing the Data to Sustain Spine Service Line Improvements

Research shows that despite an increase in the number of improvements in clinical, cost, and operational outcomes, there is a lack of sustained improvements. Some of the key challenges can be access to the data and analytics, and adherence to data-driven clinical standards, things the Allina Health Spine Clinical Service Line (CSL) clinical leadership team experienced.
By providing widespread access to the data and analytics, the Spine CSL at Allina Health has been able to continue its reduction in LOS and further improve its reduction in complications, all while increasing cost savings and achieving pay-for-performance incentives.
Results:

$1 million in pay-for-performance incentives received.
More than $2 million in supply chain savings, a result of data-driven clinical standardization.
31 percent of expected complications avoided.
22 percent relative reduction in surgical site infections.

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