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Connecticut Collaborative Moves to Mine Clinical Data (Part 2)

October 30, 2015
by Heather Landi
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Many hospitals and health systems are looking at ways to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery. Rather than go it alone, seven Connecticut healthcare organizations have banded together to build a data warehouse combining claims data with electronic health record (EHR) data in order to harness the capabilities of real-time analytics to address gaps in care for effective population health management.

The Value Care Alliance formed in December 2013 and is comprised of St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Lawrence and Memorial Health System, Griffin Hospital, Middlesex Hospital and Western Connecticut Health Network, which is comprised of Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital.

In August, VCA partnered with Burlington, Mass.-based Arcadia Healthcare Solutions and is currently deploying the Arcadia Analytics platform to all member hospitals, unifying claims data from local and national health plans and hospital and ambulatory EHRs, to support real-time analytics.

The analytics work began earlier this month and the VCA anticipates the first results, which will show gaps in care at both individual hospitals and across the VCA, in about 60 days. Within nine months, these gaps in care will include both claims data and the EHR data from individual hospitals. The Arcadia Analytics platform will serve as a central utility and dashboard capabilities will be used to compare cost, quality and efficiency metrics at the aggregate and individual hospital level, allowing VCA members to identify and share best practices between members.

Patrick Charmel, chairman of the VCA and CEO of Griffin Hospital, recently spoke with HCI Assistant Editor Heather Landi about this analytics work. In the first part of his two-part interview, Charmel shared his insights about the challenges of building a data repository with claims and EHR data across seven independent hospitals. In this second part, Charmel discusses the specific quality measures being tracked, what VCA plans to do with the results and how they got physicians on board.

What will the VCA and its members be able to do with the results from this work?

The real-time analytics will be used by VCA and hospital executives for strategic quality and cost improvement planning, and will also be utilized by specific care management teams for patient monitoring, such as coordinating the care of diabetic patients. What we’re hoping to do with the results is to bring about more efficient care and better outcomes, but you can’t do that without having the information in an almost real-time, understandable fashion. You need to have a good user interface, so that people want to access the information, because if they have to hunt for it and if they have to put a lot of effort into getting the answers they are looking for, they are not going to access it. We want our care managers, who are working with physicians and hospital staff to coordinate the care of our patients, to have this information at their fingertips. And, this is particularly important regarding coordinating care for the more vulnerable patients with significant underlying chronic disease and especially those who have been historically high utilizers of service.

Patrick Charmel

What are the specific measures that you are tracking?

There are 35 measures that we are tracking based on the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) as well as Aetna ACO quality measures. [Editor’s note: VCA joined a co-branded ACO with Aetna and Hartford HealthCare last month.] As an example, with regard to diabetes, we would monitor diabetes hemoglobin A1c test results and we will be able to monitor that through the system and using that medical records interface to look at lab results. So, by looking at lab results for diabetes patients we can monitor if the A1c test was done was in the right frequency and, more importantly, we’re trying to identify whose A1c level indicates that their blood sugar or their diabetes is out of control. If so, then our care managers would contact that patient’s primary care physician or an endocrinologist and say, “We’ve noticed through the latest laboratory test results that there is a problem here and we need to get that patient back in.” And, we can also monitor the preventive exams that patients should have on a regular basis, such as breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings.

How will you use the real-time analytics to share and adopt best practices?