Physician report cards make the honor roll

Crimson’s platform captures data from a variety of different reporting systems to assess physician performance.

Hospitals boost national rankings, see savings soar

WASHINGTON – Life is one constant assessment. Analyzing one’s performance in a given category, these assessments can offer quantifiable feedback as to what one can improve upon. A “C” in math? Hold the video games; take the tutor. Four divorces? Perhaps it really is “it’s not you; it’s me.”

These assessments are now percolating into the realm of healthcare. With pressure to trim costs and improve patient care, hospitals have long turned to information technology to help them address physician performance.

Crimson Continuum of Care, an Internet platform developed by The Advisory Board Company, offers healthcare facilities a comprehensive assessment for physicians by collecting data from a variety of different systems, then aggregating it into a single report.

Two hospitals in New Jersey and Nebraska share their stories on how the Crimson platform helped them improve dialogue with physicians, reduce patient readmissions, increase national rankings while altogether eyeing the mounting savings.

After implementing Continuum of Care, Alegent Health, a 10-hospital health system in Nebraska, has seen a whopping $2 million in annual savings and improved or maintained nearly 100 percent of its quality metrics.

Rick Miller, MD, chief quality officer, Alegent Health, said “Crimson allows you to dig down into what a doctor, for an individual patient, ordered on a day-by-day basis,” which in turn helps you address issues such as over-ordering or under-utilizations.

He cited physician-ordered chest X-rays for pneumonia patients as an example.

“People with pneumonia aren’t in the hospital for many days, but we had a range of chest X-rays from one to five.” The problem with this, Miller explained, is that one’s chest X-ray typically “changes over a week or two, so getting a second chest X-ray in the hospital doesn’t tell you anything more than the first one did. So unless the patient’s condition changes dramatically, you need one.”

After Miller shared this data with the physicians and explained the science behind it, he saw the number of chest X-rays drop dramatically.

Thomas Heleotis, MD, VP of clinical effectiveness at Monmouth Medical Center in New Jersey turned to Continuum of Care because he had been looking for a report card that would give a comprehensive assessment of physicians without just focusing on the financial aspects. “In order to have a meaningful discussion with a physician about his impact on the hospital, you can’t just talk about the finances.”

For Heleotis, the finance talk proved significantly more on point when the subject of annual savings arose. After going live with the platform technology in 2008, Monmouth Medical Center has seen savings of more than $10 million.