“As the nation’s leading health care improvement company, we’re using our unparalleled data and scale of membership to create meaningful insights for members that support performance improvement. We want to help members see the full picture of cost and quality. The IBM partnership deepens these integrated insights to help guide leaders on where to focus attention and resources.” — Marshall Leslie, Vizient managing principal

Health systems generate more data than ever, including patient care and billing, supply chain utilization, operational costs and more. For informed decision-making, access to transparent, comparative data is essential. Equally important is the ability to connect the dots across those data sources to see the complete picture and uncover the most significant performance improvement opportunities.

Vizient’s partnership with IBM Watson Health paved the way for the recent transition of clients from three of IBM Watson Health’s performance improvement solutions to Vizient’s analytics portfolio. The move provides subscribers with expanded benchmarking and networking opportunities and allows organizations of all sizes and types to benefit from meaningful comparisons and identify best-in-class practices.

The transitions, which have added more than 900 new hospitals and health systems to Vizient’s analytics platforms over the past year, include:

  • IBM ActionOI clients to the Vizient Operational Data Base (ODB) for comparative operational reporting for budgeting and cost reduction as well as peer networking
  • IBM CareDiscovery® Advance and IBM CareDiscovery® Transform to the Vizient Clinical Data Base (CDB) for transparent clinical benchmarks and resource utilization insights
  • IBM Market Expert® to Sg2 MarketEdge for projected growth by service line and insight into consumer movement and referral patterns

“As the nation’s leading health care improvement company, we’re using our unparalleled data and scale of membership to create meaningful insights for members that support performance improvement,” says Marshall Leslie, Vizient managing principal. “We want to help members see the full picture of cost and quality. The IBM partnership deepens these integrated insights to help guide leaders on where to focus attention and resources.”

For example, subscribers will soon be able to integrate cost, quality and market insights across a longitudinal spectrum of patient care. “Subscribers can see not just quality performance at the service line or MS-DRG level, but also their actual cost to perform those based on labor, supply and other resource consumption,” says Tony Romano, Vizient vice president, technology product delivery. Romano adds that this data is valuable to influence procedural pattern changes. “When we mesh quality and cost together, we can have holistic conversations about not just patient care but the variations in cost per case of that care.”

Transparent benchmarking and methodology

Full transparency is a hallmark of Vizient’s analytics platforms. Members can select comparison hospitals by name, allowing them to benchmark against hospitals with similar attributes. At the same time, transparency into the methodology driving the data provides members confidence as they see the exact variables that contribute to the model. Further, all data goes through a series of rigorous quality checks to ensure it meets stringent technical parameters. This transparency and quality assurance enable leaders, physicians and other decision-makers to focus on performance improvement rather than the data quality or methodology—leading to faster improvements.

For example, a community hospital in Illinois turned to the CDB to benchmark itself against other community hospitals for quality improvement. They could select which hospitals to compare against and use a risk-adjusted methodology that aligns closely with its patient population, resulting in usable data appropriate for the size, location and patient demographic factors it deems necessary for improvement efforts. Senior leaders have confidence in the data because they can see who they’re comparing themselves to.

Similarly, members rely on ODB information to support cost management initiatives, such as developing a budget, managing FTE levels, determining areas with the largest cost savings opportunities and evaluating off-cycle budget requests.

A leading health sciences university sought to improve capacity utilization and patient flow, improve staff productivity, reduce labor expense, and reduce supply expense. The ODB has been an integral tool to monitor progress toward those goals. With the data from the ODB, the hospital reduced its total expense (area wage index adjusted) within its pediatric emergency department by 25.4 percent, compared with the previous 12 months. It achieved the savings by opening a new after-hours fast track department for treating non-emergent pediatric patients, adjusting staffing levels to align with department needs and transferring supply inventory from the ED to receiving and warehousing staff who were better equipped to manage inventory.

Beyond analytics: an ecosystem of networking, collaboration and support

Knowing which hospitals and health systems a member are comparing itself against enables it to accelerate performance improvement. Members who subscribe to Vizient’s analytics platforms regularly reach out to each other to ask questions, share best practices and discuss improvement strategies.

The analytics solutions offer several opportunities for members to network and share ideas throughout the year, including:

  • Monthly webinars that offer training on platform functionality and new releases and best practice presentations from members
  • The opportunity to join member networks and performance improvement collaboratives on a wide range of subjects, such as sepsis, social determinants of health and telehealth to name a few
  • Case studies to identify how members are using data to support performance improvement initiatives along with contacts at each respective hospital to facilitate networking
  • Mentor programs where new ODB and CDB members are paired with an experienced coordinator to provide guidance and support
  • The annual CDB and ODB user meetings where users and leaders can learn from each other and gain insight into future product enhancements

Data analytics platform subscribers also have access to advisors who support subscribers with training, customized reporting and benchmarking analysis to derive greater value from the data. “Our advisors are there to help connect the dots across our tools and the member organization and advise members on next steps,” adds Romano. And for those subscribers that might need additional support executing performance improvement initiatives, Vizient’s consulting team provides services that take insights to implementation, whether you’re implementing a workforce improvement plan or working to decrease readmission rates.

In the coming months and years, members will see updates to the ODB’s look and feel, bringing the tool in line with the other analytics platforms in Vizient’s portfolio. With the rapid growth of the platforms over the past year, user feedback has guided near-term improvements as well as the future roadmap of the analytics portfolio. “The breadth of the membership across Vizient’s transparent comparative databases is exciting,” adds Romano. “The increase in membership in the analytics tools is going to bring deeper benchmarking and improvement opportunities for everyone.”

Published: July 20, 2021