Innovation is everywhere in U.S. healthcare these days, and many leaders in patient care organizations nationwide are pursuing initiatives that are leveraging health information technology to improve patient care quality, patient safety, clinician and staff effectiveness, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and more.
Indeed, we at Healthcare Informatics were delighted by the exceptional quality of the submissions we received from innovating teams from across the country, this year. Below, please find descriptions of the initiatives of the six teams whom we have awarded semifinalist status in this year’s program.
To learn more, leaders of these teams, along with leaders of the four finalist teams, will be recognized at the Healthcare Informatics Innovator Awards Reception, to be held in Chicago on April 13 at the annual HIMSS conference.
Independence Blue Cross: Supporting the PCMH Model
For more than six years, the Philadelphia-based Independence Blue Cross has actively supported and promoted the medical home model; to date, more than 300 primary care practices in Independence’s network are recognized by NCQA as medical homes, and those practices serve nearly 45 percent of Independence members. Independence’s senior leaders recognize that true PCMH capability is only possible through intense IT and analytics facilitation.
Within the context of its ongoing support for the PCMH model, Independence’s chief informatics officer, Somesh Nigam, and its director of advanced analytics, Ravi Chawla, led the organization’s informatics team in conducting a series of studies from 2009 to 2011 in order to evaluate the success of the medical home model and further prove its value in helping to deliver high-quality, coordinated patient care while helping to lower costs. The results of those studies were published in peer-reviewed policy journals.
Among the key findings: that the patients cared for in practices recognized as PCMHs had 10.8 percent fewer hospital admissions than control patients in 2009; 8.6 percent fewer in 2010; and 16.6 percent fewer in 2011. In addition, in 2009 and 2010, there was a savings in total medical costs of 11.2 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively, for patients treated in PMCH-organized practices.
Independence is moving ahead with further initiatives to support research into PCMH-based care models, and is collaborating with Penn Medicine on research initiatives looking into some of today’s most pressing issues, including how to improve medication adherence for heart attack survivors.
Children’s Hospital of San Antonio: Optimizing Pediatric Dosing in Texas
The leaders at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio (Tex.), a member of the CHRISTUS Health System, have been involved in a broad initiative to optimize provider ordering, particularly around pediatric medications, and especially with regard to pediatric dosing, long a historical problem in pediatric care. Project leaders worked intensively over a multi-year period with pediatric clinicians to create the following standardized content: over 170 pediatric-specific order sets with evidence-based recommendations where available; over 1,800 dosing sets associated with 372 medication profiles, providing clinicians with over 1,800 weight-based medication dosing strings; development of a pediatric medication dosing policy that provides ordering clinicians and pharmacists with defined guidelines for medication dos standardization/rounding, to ensure the dispensing and administration of practice and accurately measured medication doses based on weight; and development of an approved list of pediatric and neonatal ICU standard concentrations including associated dosing guidelines, maximum dosing, and rounding information to support the building of clinical content within the electronic health record.
All of these supports have been transforming pediatric ordering not only within the inpatient space, but in the outpatient space as well. Children’s leaders note that 50 percent of pediatric care delivery within their health system occurs outside the walls of the hospital itself. Now, the clinicians, who may or may not have pediatric expertise, to quickly determine dosage for the medications for their youngest parents.
Blanchard Valley Health System: Population Health Management Powers Medical Home
For the past four years, Blanchard Valley Health System in Findlay, Ohio, and a large home appliance manufacturer have teamed up to tackle the healthcare value challenge. Together, these organizations established a technology-enabled patient-centered medical home (PCMH) initiative to get more value from providers and to encourage employees to better manage their health. Serving more than 4,000 combined employees, the medical home is driving better management of high-risk and high-cost patients, an increase in preventive care compliance, a drop in unnecessary ER utilization, and a return of $2.44 for every dollar invested in the program.