When presenting data to physicians to elicit their support for an initiative, healthcare administers should include the following actions.
Explain where the data comes from. Physicians will not trust data if they don’t know the source or how the data was generated. Finance leaders can help by describing the sources (e.g., claims, electronic health records [EHRs], lab data, pharmacy information systems), how the data is collected (e.g., in an enterprise data warehouse) and how the different data components relate to each other.
Make sure data is risk-adjusted. Physicians need to be confident their patient outcomes are being compared fairly based on patient risk. Without some adjustment for risk, most physicians will not even come to the table to discuss their patients. One option is the All-Patient Refined DRG (APR DRGs) methodology, which sorts patients into four levels of illness severity and four levels of mortality risk. Deployment of risk-adjusted analytics reduces physician resistance and increases their commitment to identifying and reducing variation.
Tie practice patterns to measures. The main way physicians can affect performance under BPCI-A is to change their clinical practice patterns. Therefore, they need analytics that show how practice pattern changes influence targeted measures. Organizations should focus on three common categories of variation that can be improved through changes in clinical practice and physician behavior: clinical resource utilization, patient length of stay and clinical documentation. Improvements in each of these areas can result in significant expense reduction and quality improvement.
Involve physicians in the selection of data tools. Analysis and visualization tools help turn data into actionable information. However, if the outputs are not intuitive or not focused on the problems at hand, physicians will not engage with these tools. That is why it is critical to involve physicians in the choice of analysis and visualization options. This is especially important when the goal is to make information available in the physician’s workflow. While this goal is not always achievable, physician involvement in tool selection can help minimize distractions and optimize usability.