Skip to main content
Off canvas

HealthInsight Blog

 

Building Our Skill Set for the Future

Meeting

HealthInsight operates in a demanding environment promoting improvements to a complex health care system and in the overall health of our communities. The providers we have served for decades are facing difficult challenges, including adapting to changing demands of consumers, an increased burden of disease and health care reforms that are altering both the payment for and design of their work. In this blog I've captured ideas from staff across HealthInsight as we consider how to evolve our skill set to continue to serve communities in our mission to improve health and health care.

In the past we concentrated our learning in key areas of leverage, such as applying lessons from the aviation and nuclear industries to health care processes and patient safety; using technology (initially Palm Pilots) to bring clinical decision support to the front line and focus on effective use of electronic health records (EHR) and other health information technology (HIT); promoting transparency of information on quality of care; and analyzing processes and using data to understand the dynamics of gaps in care. While those areas remain important, we want to know: Are there others?

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
3147 Hits
0 Comments

National Immunization Awareness Week for Adults: August 16-22, 2015

Immunization

This week is National Immunization Awareness Week for Adults. Influenza and pneumonia are vaccine-preventable diseases, yet these two diseases combined were the eighth leading cause of death in the United States in 2012, and 90 percent of the influenza deaths occurred in adults 65 and older. Nearly one in three people in the United States will develop shingles (herpes zoster) in their lifetime and there are an estimated 1 million cases each year. The risk of shingles increases as a person ages.

The HealthInsight team is working with office-based practitioners, home health agencies and hospitals in our region to improve influenza, pneumonia and shingles vaccinations among Medicare patients and those with both Medicare and Medicaid insurance. We are currently recruiting providers to join this effort. Our website contains information and the benefits to participating. We need you to help us improve immunization rates and prevent these diseases.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
3044 Hits
0 Comments

A Window Into the Future? Utah Practices Share Their Medicare Accountable Care Organization Experiences

Doctor with Patients

Recently, I was fortunate to host a Utah Partnership for Value (UPV) panel featuring local clinics participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Plan Accountable Care Organization (MSSP ACO) program, a federal program that pays providers for delivering better outcomes and lowering cost as appropriate, rather than just paying for each item of service. UPV was also privileged to have a national perspective assist in the discussion, with Tom Merrill, a senior research partner with Leavitt Partners and expert on ACOs, joining the panel. These MSSP value payment arrangements started in 2012, and Utah clinics—Granger, Exodus and Revere—were able to share some of the earliest lessons and suggestions for Utah's success in this new arena of paying medical providers not just for volume of services, but for the best possible outcomes and quality at the right cost.

So what did they say? Not surprising was the value of capturing and sharing data from electronic health records, knowing about the kinds of patients and conditions represented in a practice, communicating to others about the care delivered, and locating a patient's medical information wherever they seek care. Data helps providers understand patient needs so they can assist them more efficiently. It was also no surprise that the data that Medicare provides these clinics, as they participate in the MSSP ACO, shows them places where they need to develop new processes. For instance, one clinic is now addressing their post-acute care relationships and communication.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
2868 Hits
0 Comments

Identifying the Tipping Point and Meeting Stakeholders Where They are is Critical to Success

Handshake

People have been asking me what the catalyst or tipping point was that motivated the employers in our community to lead and establish the New Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Value, the new employer led multi-stakeholder organization. I have given the question much thought and I believe it has to do with collaborative leadership, creating community ownership and meeting stakeholders where they are. Let me be clear this takes time and does not happen overnight. The other major ingredient I believe, is to provide something that stakeholders find of value, something that helps them, as we call it "the value add" and can also be seen as meeting them where we are.

Now don't get me wrong, there is no doubt we wouldn't have had the success of being able to transition to the new organization without having had another critical ingredient , a strong backbone organization; in our case that organization was HealthInsight, who was working on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Aligning Force for Quality Initiative (AF4Q) at the time. Having the backbone organization allowed us to move quickly in the early days of the AF4Q initiative, which allowed us to focus on the task at hand instead of focusing on building or sustaining the organization in the very beginning. We were able to focus on the initiatives, show some early positive results, and that success then provided the synergy and energy for moving ahead at full speed. This also created a sense of pride and success from which we were able to build. HealthInsight was necessary to incubate, grow and nourish the community collaborative, much as we do our children, but ultimately there comes a time when they are ready to leave the nest and go out on their own. I think the role of a backbone organization is critical but we must also keep in mind that if we are successful, those collaboratives or initiatives will take on a new life and eventually move out of the umbrella of the backbone organization. This is an especially critical concept to understand both for funders, as well as for the backbone organizations. To be successful there is also a need for a long-term strategic vision and committing for the long-term in initial funding, in order to allow the foundational work to be done and supported.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
3421 Hits
0 Comments

The Powerful Gift Health Care Providers Have In-hand: A Family’s Experience of Interaction with the Health Care System During End of Life

Nurse with Patient

I have previously blogged about my mom, who developed Alzheimer’s disease and was placed into a dementia care facility in 2011 at the age of 71. I still remember the day that I had to have the gut wrenching discussing with my dad and siblings to remove mom from her home and place her in the care of a dementia facility for the safety of both of my parents. This discussion occurred after several 911 calls, since my elderly father could no longer control some of mom’s agitated and sometimes aggressive behavior. We even had a false start where everything was set up for mom to be transferred and at the last minute my dad decided he could not do it. A week later, mom again had major behavioral problems and dad relented. The admission of mom started a three- plus year journey for our family where we would have a large number of touch points with the health care system.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
7406 Hits
0 Comments

Building a High-Rise One Conversation at a Time

Board Meeting

I recently had an interesting conversation with my husband about discipline and not in the way you might think. Thankfully, our two boys are now young adults and no longer need much guidance. Instead, we spoke about how good communication requires discipline.

My husband has been a plumbing contractor for 30 years and has served on many new high-rise construction teams where disciplined communication is not only critical, it's valued. One of his favorite projects was constructing a local high-rise, known as Mandarin Oriental, a CityCenter hotel with residential condominiums on the Las Vegas Strip, and it wouldn't be standing today if it weren't for the disciplined communication between him and the hundreds of other men and women who helped build it.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
3147 Hits
0 Comments

Health Care Changes: The Concerns of Physicians in Today’s Environment

As a quality improvement organization, HealthInsight and its contractors and partners are committed to improving health care and the delivery of that care. Sometimes it may be hard to understand why not all providers are excited about the changes taking place. I recently attended the American Medical Association's annual meeting in Chicago. Here are some of the concerns I heard from physicians:

Some providers are resistant to ICD-10, electronic health records (EHRs), e-prescribing and meaningful use. Many of the physicians did see value in the changes mentioned, although to be sure, they saw the least value in ICD-10. Physicians definitely see value in EHRs, but they do not like the manner in which they feel they are being forced to use them. Most physicians saw EHRs as improving communication and in making documentation clearer, and as a tool to improve communication between doctors and patients. However, they are very upset the government did not take early steps to be sure that EHRs could easily communicate with each other, government and insurance companies.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
9048 Hits
0 Comments

Sepsis: A Quiet Killer

patient in hospital bed

Several months ago, I attended a conference where a mother and father spoke about their son's tragic battle with sepsis. Their experience left an impression with me that I will never forget. In 2012, their 12-year-old son, Rory Staunton, received a scrape on his arm during a basketball game. The scrape became infected and Rory received a slow diagnosis of sepsis, which eventually led to his death. The Rory Staunton Foundation was created in his honor as a way to help the fight against sepsis.

In addition to hearing about Staunton's experience, I also have two close friends who have battled sepsis. I visited both in the intensive care unit during their battle with this devastating infection. At one point, they were hardly recognizable because of inflammation.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
3672 Hits
1 Comment

Trading Places: Lessons Learned by a Caregiver Who Became a Patient

Doctor with Patient and Family

Recently, I was admitted to a hospital for the first time in my adult life. While I'd experienced hospitalization (and subsequent follow-up visits with specialists) from the caregiver/advocate point of view, I had not actually been a patient before. This gave me a new perspective on both roles.

I learned that I'm much more anxious as a caregiver than as a patient. Surprisingly, as a patient, I found that I was able to wait and see what the tests revealed without focusing on "what if" scenarios. As a caregiver, I am much more nervous and always thinking about how to prepare for the various possibilities.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
3575 Hits
0 Comments

The Perfect Patient

Doctor with patients

A recent article in JAMA told the story of an Ivy League educated woman in her early 30s, well insured, a native English speaker, health savvy, with no medical history -- for all intents and purposes the "perfect" patient -- who went to a hospital emergency department for lower abdominal pain. A questionable mass in her colon was discovered on a CT scan. After three days in the hospital she didn't know whether the mass was cancerous or not, and she had not received information about the next steps for diagnosis and treatment at the time of discharge. She spoke up when the nurse handed her the discharge instructions and asked to speak to her physician again. No clear answers were provided. She left the hospital confused with no obvious follow-up plan. Her abdominal pain didn't get better, but it also didn't get worse. So she did what was easiest: nothing at all. Her negative experience discouraged her from further interaction with the health care system. Three months later, she still had not sought follow-up medical care.

What makes a seemingly ideal patient so disillusioned that she neglects her own care?

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
3776 Hits
1 Comment

Subscribe to the HealthInsight Blog