Entries in Clinical & Quality (49)

Friday
Mar022018

Five Questions for Patrick Horine, CEO DNV GL Healthcare: Post-Webinar Interview

By Claire Thayer, March 2, 2018

This week, Patrick Horine, CEO DNV GL Healthcare, participated in a Healthcare Web Summit webinar panel discussion on Leveraging Hospital Accreditation for Continuous Quality Improvement webinar. If you missed this informative webinar presentation, watch the On-Demand version here. After the webinar, we interviewed Patrick on five key takeaways from the webinar:

1. What is ISO 9001 and how is this closely related to strategic goals for hospitals?

Patrick Horine: Goals are just goals unless there are objectives in place to be measured and met to achieve them.   The ISO 9001 quality management system (QMS) is the means for managing the objective to determine the needs of and desires for customers.    The ISO 9001 QMS is customer focused and to ultimately enhance patient satisfaction.    Engaged employees means more patient satisfaction.   Enhance patient satisfaction increase HCAHPS scores.   Increased HCAHPS scores are what provide the financial and reputational incentives for hospitals.    Given the current challenges with reimbursement and the competitive climate it is imperative for hospitals to ensure the patient experience and satisfaction is best as it can be.  Quality objectives are at every level of the organization.  They may apply broadly across the organization or more narrowly.   The goal may be the result but there are a lot of contributors to ensure the goal is attained.    Quality objectives are specified and aligned with the goals to enable the measuring and monitor of progress to evaluate progress.

2. What are some of the benefits and challenges associated with implementing ISO 9001?

Patrick Horine: In short, I would note the following:

  • Improving consistency
  • Added accountability
  • Increasing efficiency
  • Engagement of Staff

What drove us to consider integrating this within the accreditation process was because the hospitals we were working with could make improvements or address compliance but they had a more difficult time sustaining what they put in place.    ISO 9001 requires such things as internal auditing and management review are two of the most impactful aspects for the ISO 9001 requirements.  

Through these internal audits and then reflecting the success of the actions taken with the management reviews will lead to more consistent practices through the organization.   It is not uncommon see multiple versions of similar policies all throughout the hospital.  Are they really different?   Likely not, so reducing these to one practice will improve consistency.    I often ask groups “How many of you think you follow your policies and procedures exactly as they are written?”   Rarely, if ever, would you see anyone state they did.   So, if we don’t then why do we have them?   If we need to have them, as we really do, then they should be written, communicate, implemented and measured to ensure they are being consistently followed.   Without fail, doing so will lead to better results in some manner.

Simplification and consistent processes lead to more efficient operations of the hospital.   Hospitals or any organization for that matter that considers the quality management to be an integral part of their business operations will commonly achieve more efficiency than those that do not.

Gaining this understanding of the processes and getting to the efficiency is not possible without the involvement of those closest to them.    As an organization, if we strive to improve every day, it is imperative that the staff are engaged so they can be directly involved to improve their work to be more satisfied with what they do and their contribution to the success of the organization.   

Happy wife = Happy life, the same holds true with Happy employees = Happier patients.    Those who are more involved with improving of the processes they work with are happier and more engaged employees. Engaged employees are more productive when they are identifying improvements to be made and how to go about making them.  

Challenges

  • Culture not conducive to change
  • Making it more complicated than it needs to be
  • Too many details

Can an organization implement ISO 9001 overnight?  No.   This is something that will leadership commitment, engagement of staff, willingness to be self-critical, ability to break with traditional thinking.    More easily described, the culture of the organization must be such that you are open to change, making improvements and have patience to know the quality management system will mature over time.   

What seems to be more universal thinking among us healthcare people, if it is not difficult then we will find a way to make it so somehow.    In my opinion, I think the ISO 9001 standard has evolved with each revision to be more and more befitting to healthcare than other industry sectors.    Process thinking, sequence and interactions, risk-based, competence of staff, customer expectations and satisfaction.   It fits.   We have much of what ISO requires already in place but still some work to be done.   This does not require wholesale changes so we don’t have to make it more difficult.   What is working and what is not working is a critical step because we must understand where improvements or change need to be made.  

Like I mentioned, policies and procedures are rarely followed exactly as they are written, but some are written as works of literature with elaborate detail.   Simplify, a 30-page policy is more effective when adapted to a 2-page work instruction.   More likely that one would read it, better opportunity for it to be consistently applied.    That is not to say that some we rid ourselves of all policies and procedures but rather don’t add complexity to what we already have and ask what we need to really keep.   

3. How does ISO 9001 hold hospitals accountable for meeting CMS requirements?

Patrick Horine: ISO 9001 itself does not address the CMS Conditions of Participation (CoPs).    All hospitals are accountable for compliance if they want to bill and be reimbursed under Medicare & Medicaid.   All CMS approved accreditation organizations must develop standards that meet or exceed the CMS CoPs.  Some choose to have more extraneous requirements, others apply the minimum.   DNV GL Healthcare wanted to have a standard that would meet the CoPs but we have integrated the ISO 9001 to the accreditation process and made this a requirement for hospitals under our program.  Compliance to the CMS requirements should be the by-product of a good quality management system and this is where ISO 9001 can be most effective. 

The ISO 9001 helps organizations have a more robust quality management system in place where compliance should be more of a by-product then the end goal.   Our thinking was that hospitals are often not complying with the minimum requirements to be met and these are what are fundamental to the organization to have provide safe and effective care.    To be more consistent meeting the fundamental requirements is the first challenge.   Going beyond, rather than more prescriptive requirements, the CoPs can be the parameters and the organization can me innovative to put practices in place.  We can still hold the hospital accountable meeting the CoP and then see how they demonstrate the effectiveness and outcomes of what they have in place.  

4. While the accreditation process for hospitals is part of Medicare / CMS program requirements, are there any plans to accredit hospital labs, physician clinics, or long term care organizations?

Patrick Horine: We currently have CMS deeming authority for acute care and critical access hospitals.   Next, we will complete the process for securing deeming authority for Psychiatric Hospitals and then Ambulatory Surgery Centers.   Most likely will not purse approval under CLIA for laboratories, but always possible.   There is desire to be more certification programs with physician/medical clinics and other providers.   Presently these would be self-governed as there is no deeming authority for such medical offices nor long term care.   I believe additional quality measures and oversight would make an impact in these environments.

5. How is DNV GL different from the Joint Commission and are there other accrediting organizations?

Patrick Horine: The more evident differences would be:

  • Annual surveys vs. once every 3 years
  • Less prescriptive standard more closely aligned to the CoPs – but inclusive of some additional requirements as well as maintaining compliance with ISO 9001
  • Demeanor of our surveyors
  • No types of accreditation; preliminary denial, conditional accreditation, double secret probation

It is better to describe those differences as told to us by those we have accredited, so I will use some of their quotes;

 “With DNV GL the surveys have been more meaningful and more consistent”

  • “It is nice get away from an inspection oriented approach but still be thorough”
  • “DNV GL is not easy but is easier to get along with”
  • “We have appreciated more of a collaborative process rather disciplinary one”
  • “We want to learn from the surveyors and how we can do better”
  • “The annual surveys help keep us focused on compliance and we do less getting ready for surveys”

“Doing things for the right reason not because of … have to”

Friday
Jun092017

Centura Health Shares Strategies for Reducing Readmissions in Bundled Payment Arrangements

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By Clive Riddle, June 9, 2017

 

Two experts from Centura Health, the Colorado based healthcare system shared their organization’s strategies in reducing readmissions in bundled payment arrangements for total hip and knee replacements, as part of a panel presentation in a HealthcareWebSummit event held this week on “Advanced Strategies in Appropriately Reducing Bundled Payment Arrangement Readmissions.”

 

Centura’s Kristen Daley, Group Director – Value Based Programs, and Brenda Lewis, RN, MBA-HCM, CCM, ACM Group Manager – Care Coordination started by providing context from the literature for total hip arthroplasty (THA)  and total knee arthroplasty (TKA):

·         5.6% of THA and 3.3% of TKA require Readmission within 30 days of discharge

·         Unplanned Readmissions Costs for Medicare Patients = $17.5 Billion/Year

·         THA costs: $17,103/Readmission

·         TKA costs : $13,008/Readmission

 

Daley and Lewis reminded us that elevated patient risk factors for these readmissions come from increased age; male gender; african american race; and medical co-morbidities including obesity,

chronic pulmonary disease, bleeding disorders, cancer history, and psychiatric illness.

 

They cited the leading complication for readmissions is infection: (12.1% of unplanned 30 day readmission) and the many other causes including: systemic: pulmonary, cardiac and circulatory; joint specific:  dislocation, fracture, malposition; hematoma, falls; failure to mobilize; increased pain and

social determinants. They noted 50% of these readmissions are unrelated to the patient’s index arthroplasty.

 

Here is Daley and Lewis’ summary of their readmissions reduction strategies:

·         Team Approach: All Providers and Caregivers Engaged, Communicating, and on the same page

·         Every Patient receives preoperative medical evaluation/optimization by Perioperative Hospitalists

·         Perioperative Hospitalists round post-op and collaborate on discharge with the Surgeon

·         Robust Care Coordination Program

·         Prepare Patients for Efficient Discharge

·         Front-Load Discharge Planning

·         Partner with Acute Case Management Team

·         Promote use of Preferred Partners

·         Extend Patient Management Post-Discharge

 

They have undertaken the following to prepare patients for the transition from hospital to home:

·         Begin Education Preoperatively and Re-emphasize throughout Hospitalization

·         Embed Care Coordinator into Joint Education Class

·         Utilize LACE Tool to Assist to Identify Risk of Readmission (The LACE index identifies patients that are at risk for readmission or death within thirty days of discharge)

·         Provide Detailed Discharge Instructions

·         Educate patients on Wound Care, DVT Signs

·         Help patients with understanding Pain Management

·         Emphasize importance of Post-op Rapid Mobilization and Physical Therapy

 
Friday
Apr142017

Reducing Emergency Visits and Admissions for Epilepsy Patients: Nationwide Children’s Dr. Anup Patel Answers Our Questions

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By Clive Riddle, April 14, 2017

 

What can a single quality improvement project accomplish at a single hospital? Just ask Nationwide Children’s, who  performed a quality improvement project and found new, simple ways to significantly decrease the number of emergency department visits and hospitalizations in pediatric patients with epilepsy.” They achieved a 28% decline in emergency visits, a 43% decline in admissions and saved $2 million in costs for these patients.

 

By sharing their research findings in the current issue of Pediatrics, and highlighted in Nationwide Children’s research publication Research Now, hospitals, physicians and purchasers performing care management can adopt Nationwide’s approach to their own settings.

 

We are told that “Nationwide Children’s Hospital serves almost 3,500 children diagnosed with epilepsy. In 2012 and much of 2013, the Emergency Department was experiencing approximately 17 visits per 1,000 epilepsy patients per month. In the minds of both Emergency Medicine physicians and epilepsy subspecialists, that was too many.”

 

The hospital shares that “the QI team identified ‘key drivers’ (or contributing factors) of ED visits, and found they centered on provider-to-provider communication issues and patient/family resources, education, beliefs and comorbidities. Then the team began interventions to target those key drivers. Most important was the establishment of an Urgent Epilepsy Clinic,” which they tell us involved family visits lasting 90 minutes or longer, with as little as three days’ notice.

 

Nationwide Children’s also identified that “abortive seizure medication was under dosed (or not given at all). Nationwide Children’s built an alert system into its electronic health records – when a provider entered what appeared to be an incorrect dosage based on size and age, the provider would be notified of the proper dose.”  Their additional interventions developed from the project included a color-coded seizure action plan, which helped caregivers understand what a baseline seizure looks like and when to call Neurology; and a personalized magnet giving caregivers information about how to give abortive seizure medications.”

 

The results? Emergency visits reduced from 17.0 to 12.2 per month per 1,000 children epilepsy patients during the past year. The average number of inpatient epilepsy children hospitalizations per month was reduced from 7 admissions per month per 1000 patients to 4 admissions per month per 1000 patients. 

Anup Patel, MD, a pediatric epileptologist and member of the Division of Neurology at Nationwide Children’s, and leader of the QI project and resulting research paper was nice enough to respond to some follow-up questions I asked after reading about the project.

 

First, I asked  him what is the approximate epilepsy incidence/1,000 population (pediatric preferably). He shared this information from Epilepsy.com which he recommends as a great source information on epilepsy:

 

Epilepsy is the 4th most common neurological problem – only migraine, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease occurs more frequently. There are many different ways to explain how often a disease occurs. Here’s a few points to consider.

What is the incidence of epilepsy in the United States?

·         The average incidence of epilepsy each year in the U. S is estimated at 150,000 or 48 for every 100,000 people.

·         Another way of saying this- each year, 150,000 or 48 out of 100,000 people will develop epilepsy.

·         The incidence of epilepsy is higher in young children and older adults. This means that epilepsy starts more often in these age groups.

·         When the incidence of epilepsy is looked at over a lifetime, 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at sometime in their life.

·         Seizures are the number on most common Neurologic Emergency that we see in children.

What is the prevalence of epilepsy in the United States?

There are many different estimates of the prevalence of epilepsy. These numbers vary depending on when the studies were done, who was included, and a host of other factors.

·         The number of people with epilepsy, using prevalence numbers, ranges from 1.3 million to 2.8 million (or 5 to 8.4 for every 1,000 people).

·         The estimate currently thought to be most accurate is 2.2 million people or 7.1 for every 1,000 people.

·         However, higher numbers of people report that they have active epilepsy, 8.4 out of 1,000 people. These numbers are even higher when people are asked if they have ever had epilepsy (called lifetime prevalence). 16.5 per 1,000 people reported that they had epilepsy at some point in their life.

 

Next I asked him about the second intervention in the project regarding abortive seizure medication under dosed or not given. How much is medication adherence/compliance an issue for this population?  Dr. Patel responds that “We know that medication adherence to daily seizure medications is a risk factor for ED visits in patients with epilepsy.  In regards to abortive seizure medication (medication given for long or repeat seizures), we found under dosing was an issue (previous literature – Patel in Epilepsy and Behavior 2014) and that parents were either anxious, did not remember, or did not get proper instruction on how to give medications.”

 

Noting that the project identified comorbidities as a key driver, I asked him what are the typical comorbidities? He replied “Developmental delay, autism, cerebral palsy, depression, and anxiety.”

I asked Dr, Patel to elaborate on the calculation that their interventions yielded $2 million in annual savings. He responded that “our average ED visit was $640 and a subsequent hospitalization averaged $14,500 in claims paid. When you look at the reduction of both ED visits and the hospitalizations associated with the ED visit, you get the $2 million savings per year”.

 

Lastly, I asked if a similar approach work for an adult population as well. The short answer is yes. 

 
Friday
Apr072017

Health Plans and the Opiod Abuse Crisis

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By Clive Riddle, April 7, 2017

 

The Associated Press reports that Dr. Scott Gottlieb, “the doctor nominated to head the powerful Food and Drug Administration told senators Wednesday that his first priority would be tackling the opioid crisis.” 

 

What are health plans doing about Opiod Abuse? Last June, the California Health Care Foundation released  a report taking the issue on: Changing Course: The Role of Health Plans in Curbing the Opioid Epidemic, along with companion California health plan case studies and an infographic. Nationally, last fall AHIP weighed in, discussing how health plans are Fighting Opioid Abuse With Solutions That Work.

 

So what are some current developments on the health plan Opioid Abuse front?

 

Cigna has just announced that Use of Prescribed Opioids Down Nearly 12 Percent Over 12 Months Among Cigna Customers. Cigna reports that “58 medical groups participating in Cigna Collaborative Care, representing nearly 62,000 doctors, have signed Cigna's pledge to reduce opioid prescribing and to treat opioid use disorder as a chronic condition.”

 

Cigna states that their program works with participating doctors to: (1) Analyze integrated claims data across pharmacy and medical benefits to detect opioid use patterns that suggest possible misuse by individuals, and then notifying their health care providers; (2) Alert doctors when their opioid prescribing patterns are not consistent with CDC guidelines; and (3) Establish a database of opioid quality improvement initiatives for doctors.

 

Cigna also reports that “effective July 1, most new prescriptions for a long-acting opioid that are not being used as part of treatment for cancer or sickle cell disease, or for hospice care, will be subject to prior authorization, and most new prescriptions for a short-acting opioid will be subject to quantity limits.”

 

Last week the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans announced their member plans have jointly committed to combating opioid abuse and addiction in Wisconsin and effective April 1, Wisconsin's community-based health plans are collaborating on new initiatives.  The Association members agreed to: (1) support the Association’s Statement of Principles for addressing opioid abuse  that “form the basis for sharing information, best practices and evidence-based strategies”; (2) Track morphine equivalent dose and first-time user trends for their individual and employer group members,, generating comparative data to enrich provider education and management of prescription drug formularies and coverage policies; (3) Work with provider partners to support strategies to reduce and control the level of opioid prescribing; (4) Share methodologies, best practices and evidence-based strategies to improve the quality of pain management and opioid prescribing; and (5) Ensure that every member suffering from opioid abuse has access to medically-appropriate treatment options.

 

Two weeks ago BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York released episode four of their Point of Health Audiocast, “Addressing the Opioid Epidemic from a Health Plan Perspective,” aimed at increasing awareness of the issue and engaging stakeholders.

 

FamilyCare Health, a health plan serving Oregon Medicaid and Medicare members, “kicks off its 4-part Opioid Training series for providers on Thursday, April 27, 2017 with ‘Buprenorphine: What we know and what we don’t. Prescribing safely for pain management and opioid dependence.’ “

 

And last week, Prime Therapeutics, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association PBM, released two studies, highlighting strategies for addressing opioid epidemic.  The first study “analyzed concurrent use of opioids with benzodiazepines”, citing “previous research has shown concurrent use of these two types of drugs can increase the risk of overdose and death,” and “found more than one in six opioid users without cancer – or nine per 1,000 commercially insured members – used these two drugs concurrently for 30 days or more in 2015.” Their second study “found pharmacists based in a PBM or health plan, who do outreach to prescribers, can reduce emergency room visits and controlled substance drug costs among persistent users of controlled substances.” Following the outreach conducted with the study intervention group, “controlled substances drug costs per member for the intervention group dropped from $5,802 to $5,148, while controlled substance drug costs increased for the control group from $3,511 to $3,627 per member. Emergency department visits were 6.4 percent lower in the intervention group, compared with the control group.”

 
Thursday
Mar022017

How Health Plans Impact Revenue Performance and Improve Quality Outcomes

By Claire Thayer, March 2, 2017

The Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures developed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) are now used by over 90% of health plans to measure quality performance.  HEDIS consists of 81 measures across 5 domains of care and address a broad range of important health issues, including:     

  • Asthma Medication Use
  • Persistence of Beta-Blocker Treatment after a Heart Attack
  • Controlling High Blood Pressure
  • Comprehensive Diabetes Care
  • Breast Cancer Screening
  • Antidepressant Medication Management
  • Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Status
  • Childhood and Adult Weight/BMI Assessment

Many health plans report HEDIS data to employers or use their results to make improvements in their quality of care and service.  Each year, NCQA publishes The State of Health Care Quality Report to raise awareness on key quality issues and drive improvement in the delivery of evidence-based medicine. This report documents performance trends over time, tracks variation in care and recommends quality improvements.  Additionally, HEDIS data is also incorporated into many health plan ‘report cards’ and increasingly used by consumers and purchasers to track and compare health plan performance.

This week, a special edition of the MCOL Infographic, co-sponsored by DST Health Solutions, focused on strategic trends and key elements of performance improvement for health plans: 

 

 

 

MCOL’s weekly infoGraphoid is a benefit for MCOL Basic members and released each Wednesday as part of the MCOL Daily Factoid e-newsletter distribution service – find out more here.