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Population Health: Organizational and Data Governance, and Analytics Strategies

January 5, 2017
by Kevin Lamb, Health Catalyst
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Executive Summary: The Scottsdale Institute (SI) convened 13 data, analytics, and information executives in Chicago for the 2016 SI Chief Data and Analytics Officers Summit on Oct. 6, 2016. They gathered to share issues, insights and lessons learned on the journey to population health, with specific focus on the governance and management of data and analytics. Attendees represented large academic medical centers, multi-regional health systems, rural hospitals and clinics, and physician networks from across the nation.

Summit Participants: Albert Duntugan, senior director of enterprise information architecture, UCLA Health; Tina Esposito, vice president, center for health information services; Advocate Health Care; Mark Hohulin, senior vice president, healthcare analytics, OSF innovation, OSF HealthCare System; Rick Howard, senior director, business development, Ascension Information Services; Miriam Morales, director for strategic analytics—Mischer Neuroscience Associates, Memorial Hermann Health System; Deborah O’Dell, vice president, business intelligence, Catholic Health Initiatives, John Pirolo, M.D., senior vice president and CMIO, Ascension; Julia Swanson, vice president, performance analytics and improvement, Henry Ford Health System; Dellara Terry, M.D., medical director for population health management, clinical analytics, Partners HealthCare System; Randy Thompson, M.D., CMIO/security, Billings Clinic; Christine Watts, chief enterprise architect, The University of Chicago Medicine; Eric Yablonka, vice president and CIO, The University of Chicago Medicine; Timothy Zeddies, Ph.D., vice president, system analytics and data governance, Spectrum Health.

Organizer: Scottsdale Institute; Sponsor: Health Catalyst; Moderator: Tom Burton (Health Catalyst)

What’s Keeping CEOs Up at Night

To kick the discussion off, participants were asked to share what’s keeping their CEOs as well as themselves up at night. What are the big issues and barriers facing the nation’s healthcare systems? One common theme was the move from fee-for-service to value-based payment models, a concern voiced by several in the room, but shared by all. Dellara (Lara) Terry, M.D. of Partners explained that there is “an unquenchable thirst for data analytics” and therefore the goal is to “focus on where there is the greatest opportunity for care and system improvement.” Timothy Zeddies, Ph.D. of Spectrum agreed, saying “there is a tidal wave of desire for this kind of information” and the challenge is putting in place the infrastructure to support that. Randy Thompson, M.D. at Billings Clinic pointed out that his CEO believes “the future of medicine is analytics.”

A second common issue was the pace of change, whether it’s with accountable care, marketplaces or trends. Deborah O’Dell of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) acknowledged that this shift to value-based care means “doing the right thing even if it is only a small percentage of current revenue.” Eric Yablonka with The University of Chicago Medicine commented that Chicago is a rapidly changing marketplace, quickly catching up to where other markets have been for some time in dealing with this shift to value-based care. For Julia Swanson of Henry Ford Health System, provider-side analytics teams are paired with performance improvement teams and one source of insomnia is “having the right information to make decisions and getting that information to the right people.” Miriam Morales at Memorial Hermann expressed a similar concern in “getting the data to the people who need it most in a useful and reliable way.” Albert Duntugan of UCLA Health said his CEO was concerned with “how to blend the university’s mission of research while maintaining profitability in a challenging environment of narrow networks.” John Pirolo, M.D. at Ascension explained that managing the rate of change is his highest priority. Rick Howard at Ascension Information Services said his challenge is “leveraging and utilizing data across the system and turning data into answers, whether it’s clinical, financial or operational.”

Transitioning to the Economics of Value-Based Care

Tom Burton of Health Catalyst provided this framework for understanding the overall journey to population health and the shift to value based care, acknowledging that managing the pace of change is a universal challenge.

The resulting discussion focused on the fact that these stages were not experienced in a stepwise fashion, rather all four were experienced simultaneously, depending on market conditions and organizational priorities. These “pockets of improvement” might be found in specific clinical areas, for example, whereas in other cases an improvement effort gets started and then priorities change and the organization is unable to sustain the change. Tina Esposito at Advocate Health Care pointed out that this challenge of planning for accountable care while still getting paid fee-for-service demands an “incredible need to innovate.” She added, “This translates into an overriding need for analytics and measurement as a centralized focus, for example our focus on Patient Safety, with the goal of ‘zero defects’ by 2020.”

While all participants acknowledged they were active in all stages simultaneously, most agreed they were somewhere between sustaining and succeeding overall.

Population Health: Motivation and Timeframe

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