A recent post on Vizient’s blog summarized the numerous proposed changes from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for inpatient reimbursement rates in 2017. Virtually all were related to efficiency and quality of care. Given the accelerated rate of change that physicians, clinicians and hospital administrators are facing, the ability to learn and improve must also accelerate. A proven way to accomplish this is through a collaborative learning environment.

Vizient – through its legacy companies – has a long and rich history of offering focused and intensive collaborative learning opportunities that deliver results, such as:

  • In 2015, 120 members participated in collaborative projects and 67 percent of the enrolled organizations participated in two or more projects. As a result of that work, those organizations had roughly 9,500 fewer incidents of patient harm, which equates to $143 million in cost avoidance.
  • From Q1 2014 to Q4 2014, collaborative participants reduced their primary postpartum hemorrhage rate per thousand maternal discharges by 12 percent 
  • From Q1 2012 to Q3 2013, collaborative participants improved their sepsis mortality index by 22.1 percent; non-participants improved by only 12.9 percent

“Our collaborative projects allow members to focus their improvement efforts on a single topic, engaging executive, service and unit-level staff and utilizing Vizient’s project framework to bring diligence to performance improvement efforts,” said Laural Whitmore, associate vice president, Vizient Performance Improvement (PI) Collaboratives. “The result is a high return on the time invested and a roadmap to top performance.”

Collaborative learning structure

In 2016, Vizient is conducting 12 collaboratives and benchmarking studies and numerous additional projects will kick off in the coming months, covering a range of topics based on current health care imperatives, government initiatives, analysis of clinical data and member input.  

Vizient’s collaborative projects typically span a nine-month period with 90-minute conference calls held each month. The first three months are focused on assessing current state and conducting gap analyses at participant facilities. The next six months are spent making changes guided by the implementation plan, assessing impact and developing next steps.

“The collaboratives use an evidence-based performance improvement model that accommodates member-specific PI models. It uses components of Lean, PDSA and Six Sigma-DMAIC. The tools provided to participants also support all PI models,” said Whitmore.

Each team’s work around the gap analysis is critical to the success of the collaborative. This work gives participants:

• A detailed understanding of the processes of care currently in place in their organization
• Recognition of the gaps between current processes and suggested best practices/systems of care
• An evaluation of the feasibility of implementing the suggested best practices
• Selection of appropriate suggested best practices for implementation

During the Web conference call teams provide monthly updates. “Much of the time spent on collaborative calls is focused on sharing strategies and approaches and receiving coaching from subject matter experts. Teams also share policies and procedures; templates and tools; assessment and measurement systems; problem-solving strategies, tips and advice; and new publications and literature they have found on the topic,” said Whitmore.

Knowledge transfer

Collaborative projects culminate with a knowledge transfer session approximately two months after the collaborative closes, summarizing successful strategies, key strategies and lessons learned. The knowledge transfer is open to all participants in Vizient’s collaborative program.

Additionally, a field brief and executive summary are published on the collaboratives portal and shared with all collaborative participants.

 “The knowledge transfer sessions allow all collaborative participants to gain valuable improvement insights even if they were unable to participate in the collaborative project,” said Whitmore. “Subject matter experts review recommended interventions and collaborative participants have an opportunity to share their success and lessons learned.”

Participation in Vizient’s PI Collaboratives program allows members to accelerate improvement efforts. Collaborative projects provide a jump-start with pre-developed templates, identified leading practices and access to subject matter experts.

“Year over year, members participating in collaborative projects outperform those that don’t,” said Whitmore. “They improve at a faster rate and experience greater impact. We are committed to Vizient’s mission to connect members with the knowledge, solutions and expertise that accelerate performance.”

For more information about participating in Vizient collaboratives, contact Laural Whitmore.

Published: June 14, 2016