Saturday, March 29, 2014

Leaders Don't Wait: Get Started with Bundled Payments

According to the Healthcare Incentives Improvement Institute, at present in the US, only 11% of CMS reimbursement dollars are tied to value based purchasing. The same number, 11%, applies to commercial payor contracts.  Translated, almost 90% of our healthcare insurance dollars are associated with an economic model that we know, without a doubt, encourages wasteful and harmful healthcare delivery.

The CEO of the healthcare delivery organization in the Cayman Islands, Ms. Lizzette Yearwood, might be the best all around, natural leader I've ever seen or worked with, in any industry and setting.  That topic alone is worth a another blog.  Indicative of her leadership, she proactively approached the national and commercial health insurance companies in the Cayman Islands with the idea of converting from a fee-for-service economic model, to a fixed-fee economic model (i.e., per diagnosis and per procedure contracts) with quality incentives for treating patients.  The insurance companies were, of course, stunned and then thrilled by the idea, especially when Ms. Yearwood also voluntarily committed to an immediate 3% reduction in costs, across the selected diagnoses and procedures, as an incentive for all parties to participate in the project with commitment and the right motivations.  (We analyzed nine years of Cerner data to determine the costs and establish the 3% goal). The most important initial question for all parties was:  With which patients and procedures do we start, first?

Borrowing from excellent work already achieved in the Bridges to Excellence consortium, and comparing that work to the local environment in the Cayman Islands, these were the conditions and procedures that were finally identified, to get started:

Inpatient procedures
-          Knee replacement
-          Hip replacement
-          Hip and knee replacement revisions
-          Hip and knee arthroscopy

Outpatient procedures
-          Cataract removal
-          Perinatal care
-          Hysterectomy
-          Maternity

Chronic conditions
-          Asthma
-          Diabetes
-          End stage renal

Acute conditions
-          Upper respiratory infection

Let's stop waiting for federal mandates and the experiment of Accountable Care Organizations.  There's nothing stopping US healthcare CEOs from following Ms. Yearwood's leadership style and proactively converting to value based purchasing contracts.  Let's set a national goal in the US of converting 80% of our federal and commercial healthcare dollars to fixed fee contracts by the year 2019.

Friday, March 21, 2014

What the @#$%& is Actionable Data?

"Actionable data" is a term that has been tossed around for YEARS, right?  How many times have you heard this?

"The key to analytics success is providing actionable data."

OK... but what does that mean, really?  Here I am, a data warehouse and analytics design guy... how can I measure whether the systems I design are producing actionable data?

Dr. John Kenagy and I were talking this morning in preparation for an upcoming webinar and he mentioned actionable data a few times in the discussion, so we paused to ask ourselves, what does that really mean?

Here's our algorithm for Actionable Data:

Actionable Data = Pr x Tf x Et

  1. Pr: Personal. The data must be personal, appropriate to the role, and workflow specific
  2. Tf:  Timely and fresh. The data must be timely, fresh, and high quality... no stale or bruised data fruit.
  3. Et: The person to whom the data is presented for action must be educated and trained about how to act in response to that data.
One of the key moments of awareness for me in this discussion was the Et variable.  If I'm a data warehouse and analytics design expert, it's not enough for me to provide personalized and timely data.  I can do that easily enough, technically.  I have to ensure that the organization that I'm supporting with the data warehouse and analytics solution is taking it upon themselves to educate and train their employees-- the consumers of the data-- on how to interpret the data and what action to take in response to the data.  

If I don't ensure that the organization is taking this holistic approach to Actionable Data, it's in the interests of my livelihood and success to push that agenda, otherwise, the technology that I leave behind will not realize the value that it should.

Analytics and Data Warehouse Engineers: Take action to ensure you provide actionable data.

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