Dartmouth Board garners $26M innovation grant
With a $26 million government Health Care Innovation Award in hand, the Dartmouth Board of Trustees will hire Patient Family Activators (PFAs), who will assume roles of patient advocate, assisting the patient with care choices and engaging them in a shared decision-making process.
The project will support and connect 15 High Value Healthcare Collaborative (HVHC) member healthcare systems throughout 16 states, and over the course of three years, will train 5,775 healthcare workers and create 48 new PFA positions.
A portion of the funding will also be used to improve patient data collection via health information technology, as William Weeks, MD, co-creator of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, explained.
“Some funds will be used to both facilitate learning and deployment across the HVHC members as well as collecting data (through grant funded tablets that will be integrated into local EHRs), feeding back reports on results, and expanding current IT infrastructure to supplement current HVHC reporting abilities and better integrate such reporting into HVHC member IT systems.”
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on June 15 the second round of recipients for the Health Care Innovation Awards, funded through the Affordable Care Act. The Dartmouth Board of Trustees was among 81 groups nationwide that walked away with a win.
[See also: HHS gives 81 innovation awards in second round.]
Three-year cost savings from the Dartmouth project are estimated to be more than $63.7 million, and Weeks explained the majority of savings would result from the overall reduction in Medicare costs of each patient.
Weeks said, “Savings are therefore derived from both improving the efficiency and reducing the costs of each episode of care and using patient shared decision making to help patients make informed decisions, decisions which – according to the literature – are more conservative and less costly than the care that their providers would recommend.”
He continued, “By engaging providers in improving the efficiency and safety of care processes, and by engaging patients in the decision-making process regarding their healthcare choices, we believe that we can reduce this variation and waste, reduce the unrestrained growth in healthcare costs, and concurrently improve patient satisfaction and health outcomes.”
The Dartmouth Board of Trustees-sponsored program was one of 107 total projects nationwide that garnered an Innovation Award out of more than 3,000 applicants nationwide.
[See also: HHS announces $162 million in state HIE grants.]