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Shared Analytics Fuel St. Luke's Continuous Improvement

By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
June 10, 2014

We are becoming an increasingly data-driven organization. Having meaningful, actionable data has allowed us to better assess the success or failures of pilots of new care models we have undertaken, contributed to our recognition as a national quality leader by HealthGrades and Truven Health Analytics, and enabled us to put data at the fingertips of our physicians to drive rapid improvements in achieving our Triple Aim of better health, better care, and lower costs. It’s such an important foundation that to “establish information-driven decision-making” is one of our seven strategic initiatives.

Today’s guest blogger is Chereen Langrill, communications coordinator for SELECT Medical Network, with a report about how shared analytics are driving improvements in our patient care and helping us to design the best models for population health management as we move in that direction.

How do we know we’re successful at what we do? What can we do to become better? Shared analytics drive providers to improve their patient care by showing them how their work measures up with others.

Why is it important?

Health care is more transparent than ever before. People now can go online to learn more about their providers in the same way they might research a hotel for an upcoming vacation or seek opinions about a new restaurant. Healthgrades, Providers.com, and even Angie’s List share patient reviews.

Our Clinical Integration Scorecard is used by providers within St. Luke’s to learn how their performance measures up against that of their peers. The scorecard was developed in collaboration with WhiteCloud Analytics to offer a crystal-clear look at how providers are doing through the eyes of their patients. The scorecard, already used by providers within SLHS, will soon be introduced to providers within SELECT Medical Network.

Advances in technology come with concerns about privacy, and patients should know and have confidence that scorecard information can only be accessed by the provider care team and is not viewed by others outside of that circle. The purpose is to help providers learn how to improve upon the care they give to patients.

What is the challenge?

Imagine trying to fly an airplane without instruments. That, in effect, is what happens when we try to improve without the use of thorough and current data. It is difficult to know where improvement is needed without the data to back it up.

The scorecard allows providers within St. Luke’s and SELECT to view data across settings and from a variety of sources, including claims data and patient-centeredness surveys.

The scorecard works because it casts a wide net across that broad spectrum of settings. This gives providers the chance to identify opportunities for improvement.

What is the goal?

Shared analytics can lead to better patient care by helping providers learn – at a rapid rate – where the greatest needs exist.

This could lead to a reduction in readmissions. It could help identify a better way to manage care for patients with complex cases who need more care than others, or a population that is neglecting to refill prescriptions or failing to receive ongoing readings for blood pressure or A1c levels. We know that the opportunities presented by scorecard data will help us to achieve the goals of better health and better care at a lower cost.

How will it make a difference for patients? What changes will they see?

This initiative connects back to patient-centered care. When providers have the opportunity to review data about the people they care for, they have tangible measures to improve upon.

A survey may show providers that patients appreciate candid conversations, for instance. Providers can ensure they are delivering the kind of care their patients need because of the data revealed in the scorecard.

What are the next steps?

The patient-centeredness survey is available to providers within SLHS and in the coming months will be distributed to all providers within SELECT Medical Network. Expanding the survey to all providers in the network will increase the data available.

What’s the measure of success?

Tracking page hits is just one way the scorecard’s success can be evaluated. But the scorecard’s success ultimately is shown when we improve the health of the patient population, when providers are able to learn more about high-risk patients and identify people who need more help or intervention based on the data surrounding their medications and health management.

The idea of shared analytics is just beginning to gain traction. As more data becomes available, there will be additional opportunities for improvement and growth, benefiting both patients and providers.

Editor’s note: This is the 10th installment of a 10-part series introducing clinical integration initiatives that St. Luke’s is involved in.

Clinical integration is a term used to describe healthcare providers working together in an interdependent and mutually accountable fashion to pool infrastructure and resources. By working together, providers develop, implement, and monitor protocols, “best practices,” and various other organized processes that enable them to furnish higher quality care more efficiently than could be achieved working independently.

St. Luke’s Health System is a participating provider in the SELECT Medical Network of Idaho, Inc. SELECT is a network of healthcare providers in southwest Idaho that is focused on a coordinated model of care delivery focused on providing enhanced quality and better value to individuals, employers, and insurers.

In keeping with the clinical integration effort, 10 initiatives were developed for 2013 to help establish the standards of enhanced quality meant to help create a new vision for health care.

The initiatives are:

  • Diabetes
  • Tobacco treatment
  • Back program
  • Advance directives
  • Patient-centeredness
  • Care management
  • Medicine reconciliation
  • Hand hygiene
  • Pharmacy optimization
  • Shared analytics

About The Author

David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., is president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.