De­liv­er­ing fast re­sults

Modern Healthcare - - INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY -

Deal­ing with two new own­ers and meet­ing seven new qual­ity met­rics in just five months has made for a fre­netic year for Dr. Robert White at his Al­bu­querque med­i­cal prac­tice. One big change came when ABQ Health Part­ners, a 230-physi­cian mul­ti­spe­cialty group where White serves as med­i­cal in­for­mat­ics di­rec­tor, merged with Health­Care Part­ners, a Tor­rance, Calif.-based in­de­pen­dent prac­tice as­so­ci­a­tion, which has since been ac­quired by DaVita.

It meant the New Mex­ico physi­cians had to match the seven pay-for-per­for­mance mea­sures their Cal­i­for­nia coun­ter­parts were al­ready obliged to meet be­fore the end of 2012, then just five months away.

It was a qual­ity im­prove­ment cam­paign that White, a 2013 win­ner of the AMDIS Award from the As­so­ci­a­tion of Med­i­cal Di­rec­tors of In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems, led. He and his col­leagues achieved six of the seven mea­sures by us­ing health IT to iden­tify those pa­tients in need of spe­cial at­ten­tion and by not wait­ing for the pa­tients to sched­ule ap­point­ments, but reach­ing out to them ag­gres­sively to ei­ther sched­ule tests or in­ter­ven­ing to im­prove their lab test scores.

The mea­sures tar­geted timely mam­mo­grams for about 9,800 women ages 50 through 69 cov­ered by Medi­care and com­mer­cial in­sur­ance, as well as blood glu­cose and LDL choles­terol lev­els for about 5,900 pa­tients cov­ered by both payer types and with ei­ther di­a­betes or is­chemic vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

Dur­ing the cam­paign, White gath­ered and shared per­for­mance scores for the prac­tice as a whole and for provider teams so mem­bers could as­sess progress be­ing made to­ward pa­tient per­for­mance goals. The only goal missed was for tar­geted Medi­care IVD pa­tients on their choles­terol counts of less than 100, with 54% of pa­tients at­tain­ing that mea­sure com­pared with a goal of 62%. The rest were ex­ceed- ed by var­i­ous mar­gins, in­clud­ing di­a­bet­ics with com­mer­cial plans, whose tar­get for Hb1Acs was topped by a whop­ping 16 per­cent­age points. Mam­mo­gram screen­ing rates were above 70% for pa­tients with both payer types. What’s next for White, 64, and his col­leagues?

“We’re do­ing a lot more preven­tive care vis­its and us­ing some of the same tools to iden­tify gaps in care and how can we do a bet­ter job. How can we get the data from the hos­pi­tal be­ing dis­charged? What does the pa­tient need? How can we get the pa­tient in quickly?

“EHRs are not where they need to be as a tool to take care of pa­tients day to day,” White says. “Ev­ery day I hear some­body say, ‘I didn’t go to med­i­cal school for this.’ Yeah, they’re still clunky, but there are some real solid ben­e­fits for providers with EHRs, things we can do with IT that we never con­ceived of be­fore.”


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