New research from Mayo Clinic, published in the May issue of Health Affairs, shows that implementing a uniform method to care for lower-risk cardiac surgical patients improves outcomes, reduces patients’ time in the hospital, and lowers overall per patient costs by 15 percent.
In 2009, practice leaders at Mayo Clinic initiated a practice redesign effort targeted at lower-risk cardiovascular surgical patients that would set clear expectations for their hospital care, improve patients’ experiences and outcomes, and reduce overall costs. The group used stakeholder analysis, practice analysis and management tools such as Lean and Six Sigma to design the new model of care. Key elements of the model included:
- Stratification of the patient population into lower and higher complexity to identify which patients could be cared for using the standardized model
- New workflow paths that empowered non-physician care providers to make decisions at the bedside
- Co-location of patients with similar levels of acuity
- Health IT tools to support work models and care delegation
“Our effort to disrupt the typical model of a full-service hospital surgery practice provides evidence of the power of a standardized care model to improve care value,” David Cook, M.D., a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and primary author of the study, said in a news release. “Instead of treating all patients as highly complex and requiring unique problem-solving, we found that 67 percent of our patients would be amenable to a new care model that achieved a high degree of predictability.”