• Leadership E-Bulletin: May 2012 Issue

    May 15, 2012

    Two Physician Practices Tackle EHR Meaningful Use  

    "The move toward meaningful use forced us to get better at thinking outside the box. It's had the same affect in a lot of physician practices," says Keetah Clouse, project manager for meaningful use attestation, Premier Healthcare, LLC, Bloomington, Ind.

    To date, the multispecialty group has received $810,000 through the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs. Having met Stage 1 meaningful use, Premier is now gearing up for Stage 2. So far, the journey is resulting in better patient care, says Clouse. "We're now able to track every interaction with the patient through our EHR. It enables our providers to use timely medical information to limit additional or wasted tests and procedures."

    The proposed Stage 2 rule expands on Stage 1 requirements and includes rigorous expectations for the exchange of health information-among providers and between providers and patients. "The simple part is that most of what is required in Stage 2 was also required in Stage 1-just at lower levels during Stage 1," says Whitney Almquist, business manager, White Rose Family Practice, York, Pa. "The harder part will be to continue to focus on getting patients to actively and increasingly access the office electronically and to communicate electronically."

    Cultivating Physician Leaders at Iowa Health System   

    In 2010, Iowa Health System (IHS) turned to the American College of Physician Executives to help develop what would become the IHS Physician Leadership Academy. "We had a growing need for physician leaders, and we knew there was good raw talent in house, but it had to be harnessed and developed," says Alan Kaplan, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer, IHS, and president and CEO, Iowa Health Physicians.

    The academy offers a 12-month curriculum that combines self-paced, online courses with quarterly, onsite education sessions. Courses range from financial decision making to effective communication. While enrolled in the academy, physicians participate in projects that give them hands-on leadership opportunities in support of IHS strategic goals. For example, some physicians are working on projects that will help the system become an accountable care organization.

    In addition to improving physicians' team-building skills, the leadership academy has helped foster trust between health system and the medical staff. "They see the investment that we are making in them, today and in their future," says Emily Porter, vice president of people excellence.

    Baylor Analyzes ROI for Community Clinics  

    For the past 10 years, Baylor Health Care System has collaborated with community-based organizations to operate nine medical clinics for low-income patients. The Baylor Community Care clinics, as they are called, currently serve about 12,000 patients who previously had no regular source of medical care.

    To determine the health system's future strategy for serving this patient population, Baylor leaders are working to more fully understand the ROI. "We have a commitment in this space, but we also have a commitment to ensure we are being good stewards of our resources," says Robert Green, senior vice president of strategic finance.

    Baylor's initial ROI analysis found that a greater use of community clinics is correlated with a reduced demand for hospital services. Patients who started using the medical clinics had 17 percent fewer inpatient stays than before they became patients of the clinic. In addition, when they were admitted to the hospital, clinic patients were less sick than non-clinic patients, based on total direct cost and average length of stay.

    Getting Value from Data  

    "The winners in the coming age will be the organizations that use larger, faster, and more disparate data sets to generate a competitive advantage," write authors Jared Rhoads and Lynette Ferrara. "To be prepared, healthcare leaders need to assess their approaches to managing and using data."

    For example, UW Health wanted to find a way to harvest more meaningful information out of its reporting database. Users spent more time extracting, transforming, and loading data than analyzing it and taking action based on their findings. The answer: a new Health Information Management Center that is staffed with data warehousing, business intelligence, and subject matter experts from across UW Health. Read the article.