Realizing the Many Benefits of Member Collaboratives


“It takes a village” is a quote commonly used to reference things that require partnership and collaboration in order to have the best outcome. Applied to health care, it is an apt description of the work happening inside the Vizient Performance Improvement (PI) Collaboratives Program.

The PI Collaboratives Program is based on a multifaceted framework that’s been proven for more than 20 years through the delivery of dozens of successful individual member improvement initiatives.

The program currently has 485 member health systems participating, which translates into approximately 1,400 facilities. This year, Vizient will lead 22 projects that include a mix of collaboratives focused on performance improvement initiatives and benchmarking studies that provide participants with exclusive benchmarking data necessary to inform individual performance improvement initiatives. There is an average of 40 member participants per project. Most projects last six to nine months.

“We align our projects with six domain areas (mortality, safety, efficiency, effectiveness, patient centeredness and equity) measured by CMS and in the annual Vizient Quality and Accountability report that is provided to members participating in the Vizient Clinical Data Base (CDB),” said Laural Whitmore, associate vice president, collaboratives at Vizient. “In each of the six domain areas we offer multiple projects that can help members improve their performance in these key measures.”

The performance improvement and savings results are impressive. In the collaborative project on early recognition and intervention of sepsis, the 69 participating facilities avoided 2,600 patient days for a total collaborative potential cost avoidance of almost $6 million or more than $86,000 per site (assumes approximately a $2,200 cost per patient day in a non-profit hospital). In the ICU delirium collaborative, 25 participants avoided more than 4,000 ICU days for a total collaborative potential cost avoidance of between $8 million and $12.4 million, or approximately $300,000- $500,000 per site (assumes $2,000-$3,000 as a daily ICU cost).

Unleashing the collaborative spirit

“The Vizient PI Collaboratives Program is specifically designed to blend with any organization’s performance improvement methodology. It brings members together with fellow quality and performance leaders to accelerate improvement and improve care delivery,” said Whitmore.

Collaborative participants are encouraged to engage with peers and have access to subject matter experts to help them solve clinical and operational problems. Participants are able to pinpoint opportunities with a research-driven model designed to empower action, explore innovation, sustain performance and quantify value through:

  1. Subject matter expert-led research, insights and coaching. “A major benefit for participants is the caliber of the subject matter experts who are involved in the program,” Whitmore said. “These are experts from across the industry who share unique insights and have the ability to coach the members through the improvement process.” Experts include national and global health care leaders, clinicians, data analysts and nurses.
  2. Networking with leading performers and peer organizations to learn what works and what doesn’t. “Organizations like to hear from their peers, regardless of whether they share a story of success or one with stumbling blocks and advice on what they would do differently,” Whitmore said. “Clearly, the best advice about launching a project comes from someone who’s already launched it.”
  3. Outcomes measurement, benchmarking and comparative analytics. It may seem obvious, but data and information is critical in proving to an organization’s leadership that the project made a positive impact. For example, if a project to reduce the amount of ICU days is implemented, the outcome is clear but other elements must be tracked as well, such as cost savings.
  4. Creating an environment of accountability. The program facilitates an environment of accountability to the rest of the group to complete tasks and report progress or setbacks. This helps a project leader motivate their organization to stay on task and provide regular status updates, meetings and progress reports to the group for shared learning.

Multifaceted program addresses member needs

In addition to participating in a performance improvement project, members in the collaboratives program have other resources to help them. They can participate in benchmarking studies, which are exploratory data gathering projects where the goal is to figure out how a program or process works. This is typically information that’s not readily available, published or even realized.

At the end of each performance improvement project or benchmarking study, collaborative participating members may join in a knowledge transfer session where project and study results are compiled and presented in webinar sessions. Final reports and executive summaries are also created and available to share identified leading best practices, member examples and drivers for change.

Another program feature the members can leverage is real-time access to hundreds of colleagues working on similar issues via email listservs. In addition, they also have access to a repository of past projects where members can access best practices, case studies and lessons learned from a substantial array of topics and issues.

A proactive approach to performance improvement

“Members determine where they want to see improvement and then match that against our project list to determine what projects make sense to join,” Whitmore said. “They also need to consider if they have the time, personnel and other resources at their disposal as it relates to the project’s timetable.”

Below is a table of remaining collaborative projects still available for enrollment.

To find out more about participating in a collaborative in 2018, click here. For more details, visit the PI Collaboratives web page.

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