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From the Lens of a CIO: Moving Forward on Value-Based Care Efforts Without a Roadmap (Part 2)

July 22, 2016
by Heather Landi
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CIOs of leading health systems share the challenges, successes and lessons learned in building clinically integrated networks as part of their organizations’ value-based care efforts.
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In the second part of a two-part article about the challenges CIOs face in building clinically integrated networks, several health IT leaders share their perspectives on the critical role data analytics plays in the shift to value-based care and the need for collaborative leadership moving forward.

In part one of the story, published last week, George Conklin, CIO at the Irving, Texas-based Christus Health, a 60-hospital integrated healthcare delivery system and Mary Alice Annecharico, senior VP and CIO at Henry Ford Health System, a five-hospital health system based in Detroit as well as Tonya Edwards, M.D., physician executive at Impact Advisors, provided a look at building clinically integrated networks from the lens of a CIO and the challenges they face.

Healthcare Informatics Assistant Editor Heather Landi interviewed Conklin, Annecharico and Dr. Edwards following the Scottsdale Institute’s Spring CIO Summit in Arizona, in which 14 CIOs from leading healthcare organizations convened to discuss the most important health IT-related challenges facing CIOs. The Summit was hosted by the Scottsdale Institute, a Minn.-based not-for-profit membership organization of health systems advanced in IT, and sponsored by Impact Advisors, a Naperville, Ill.-based healthcare IT consultancy and moderated by Ralph Wakerly of Minneapolis-based consultancy C-Suite Resources. Insights from the discussions at the spring CIO Summit are outlined in the report, “Creating Clinically Integrated Networks: Challenges, Successes, Lessons Learned.”

Driven by the accelerating trend toward alternative payment models that reward quality of care rather than volume of services rendered, many of the organizations represented at the Scottsdale Institute CIO Summit have been preparing for value-based care with the development of clinically integrated networks for some time, while others are just getting started. Last year’s passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which rapidly accelerates the transition to value-based payments, has especially spurred health systems to optimize and expand their clinically integrated networks, which presents CIOs with a number of IT challenges.

Conklin, Annecharico and Edwards discuss many of those challenges and lessons learned, and excerpts of the second part of those discussions are below. The interviews have been edited for length.

One of the key findings of the report was data analytics is the key to the kingdom, what does that mean?

Annecharico: We have struggled for so many years in the industry trying to cobble together inputs from all these different systems that we use and without regard for how do we sanctify that data, how do we master the data, so there is one true source of data—and that may be your financial data, your quality data, your clinical data, or could very well be your provider data—and then pulling it together and normalizing it, so that when we talk about a length of stay, or we talk about an event of care, we’re all talking about the same definition of that data. So, once organizations get to that point, we begin realizing that operations have to be bound by quickly turning over constant data. It has to be readily available and not staid, not two months old, in order to make good clinical decisions, good business and good strategic decisions, and in order to help us understand where our populations are and where we need to grow the business, or where we need to shrink the business. That’s absolutely vital to our organizations. It also help us with the measures that [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] and other regulatory bodies are looking for in terms of our quality outcomes and our cost performance. It will help us to keep the doors open, but it will also help us to conform across our systems, to a single standard, and an availability of data that now is really driving the business.

Mary Alice Annecharico

And, the CIO, as well as other executive leaders within an organization, is no longer going to be successful based on their personalities or the experience that they bring to an organization, they will be judged solely, like an organization’s health will be judged, by the availability and the agility that they can utilize data to help drive decisions and help with the business strategy of the organization.

Conklin: The consensus is that having more and better data is going to help us to ensure that we’re better able to deliver on our mission to provide high quality healthcare to all comers to our organization. But also will allow us to better evaluate markets and be sure that we put our community-based entities in exactly the right location. So, analytics help us make better decisions from a business perspective, and helps us to make better decisions from a clinical perspective. And that’s an obvious one, so when you appear at one of our free-standing ERs and we collect all your data and find out you have an allergy, and then you show up a clinic or acute care hospital, it ensures that we know about that information up front and are able to build that into the treatment plan that we create for you.

What is the sense of the progress that organizations are making in the area of data analytics?