Analytics for population health: Governance comes first

Nonprofit MultiCare uses analytics to drive outcomes and quality improvements, reducing COPD readmissions by 14 percent.
By Beth Jones Sanborn
03:25 PM
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Analytics for pop health

Kate Mundell and Amber Theel of MultiCare Health will host a session at HIMSS on March 7.

Most hospital, IT and clinician leaders at this point can agree that quality improvement is a must for population health management to succeed. Yet every provider’s journey to reaching that goal is unique. One common thread, however, is the need for robust analytics. 

That’s the experience of MultiCare Health Director of Connected Care Kate Mundell and her colleague Amber Theel, Director of Quality Outcomes and Metrics. Washington-based MultiCare is a not-for-profit with 11,600 employees, including 750 employed providers serving five hospitals with 1,130 beds and 130 clinics.

MultiCare is using data analytics to drive pop health and quality improvement. Theel highlighted a use case on how quality improvement work groups started and continued on their journeys with specific quality improvement goals for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease readmission rates.

“The problem with COPD is that there just isn’t really a common bundle out there,” Theel said. “It hits the ambulatory side and inpatient side. It’s the perfect metric to take on when you are trying to blend that continuum of care.”

The goal was to achieve a 14 percent reduction in COPD readmissions, and it meant not just having a multidisciplinary team but also then aligning the evidence-based practices with each one of those teams or groups and giving each one of them a metric to evaluate their performance. Then they tried to understand which one of those pieces were actually making the difference in our readmission bundle.

“What hit it close to home was when they broke up both the data and the objectives into discreet and tangible smart goals and aims to say ‘ok providers you’re responsible for this component only and nurses you’re accountable for this component only,’” Mundell said. “Still being able to show the team as a whole the aggregate performance but really from an accountability perspective being able to say ‘no, you’re not responsible for the whole thing. Here’s the one component we need you to focus on.’”

Their metrics measured included order set utilization, education and teach back, discharge teaching, and risk assessment to name a few.

“From a clinical standpoint the way you get everyone together, especially clinicians, providers, nursing ancillary staff, they need to understand data and how to use it to create action,” Theel added. “The more we can help people understand that, and as healthcare shifts to limited resource, you have to be able to focus and prioritize. And clinicians don’t always understand the data and how to use it.” 

Mundell added that while population health is a buzzword right now and there are a lot of floating definitions of what that can mean, Multicare took a “very discreet” definition of population health and built on that.  

“We identified a group of patients, we brought together a group of clinicians in a very organized fashion and worked through a methodical process to get to a great outcome,” Mundell said. 

Mundell and Theel will be speaking in the session, “Shared Governance and Analytics Framework Improves Quality,” scheduled at 1 p.m. March 7 in the Venetian, Marcello 4405.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
Email the writer: beth.sanborn@himssmedia.com