Tag: American College of Surgeons

American College of Surgeons and Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness Partner To Develop Value Measurement Tool for Hospitals

Leaders from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness have announced a new partnership aimed at improving healthcare value. The two organizations, recognized as global leaders in quality and cost measurement, announced a new program to help hospitals and surgical practices improve patient outcomes while lowering the cost of delivering care. Better measurement of quality and costs will enable hospitals to improve the value they deliver to patients while positioning them for success as reimbursement shifts to bundled payments, an approach that increases transparency and accountability.

“Clearly defining the value of patient care is critical to our nation’s healthcare system,” said David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, executive director of the American College of Surgeons. “As the patient care model continues to evolve, we must place a premium on providing the utmost quality and efficiency in our hospitals. This program will help hospitals identify clear opportunities to do that.”

At the event on Capitol Hill, leaders of the program, called ACS THRIVE (Transforming Health care Resources to Increase Value and Efficiency), discussed the challenges the nation’s health system faces as it moves from volume to value-based payment models, the changing team dynamics within hospitals, and the new care models that health systems must adopt.

“We want to reduce the high costs incurred in the U.S. healthcare sector, but do this in ways that don’t compromise the quality of care or a patient’s access to it,” said Prof. Robert Kaplan, MS, PhD, senior fellow and Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Emeritus, HBS. “Cutting costs by arbitrary reduction in headcount is not a sustainable solution. True cost improvement requires that we first measure what it costs today to treat a patient’s medical condition, and then redesign the care model to deliver the same or, preferably, better outcomes with a lower-cost mix of resources, especially personnel, equipment, devices and drugs.”

“Surgical care is more than just the operative procedure,” said Frank G. Opelka, MD, FACS, medical director, ACS quality and health policy. “Surgical care involves teams of clinicians who begin delivering care in the preoperative phase, include anesthesia, nursing care and medical specialties and continues through to postoperative rehabilitation. As a team, we need to optimize each phase of care to provide the best outcomes for patients and meet their goals.”

Initially, ACS THRIVE leaders will pilot the value-measurement process with 10-15 hospitals in the U.S., focusing on measuring the full cycle of care – including its key surgical, medical, behavioral and social elements – for three surgical conditions. Results from the pilot will be used to create a scalable approach that all hospitals can use to measure and improve value. The method will also include risk-adjusted benchmarks, so hospitals can compare their value with one another to generate system-wide improvement. High-value providers will be recognized, while those with opportunities for improvement can learn from the best practices of the high-value hospitals and health systems.

The new program will build on the two organizations’ expertise in cost and quality measurement. ACS has been a leader in hospital quality since it first proposed its Hospital Standardization Program in 1912, which evolved to become The Joint Commission. In 1922, the ACS created the Commission on Cancer, which today sets standards used by 80 percent of U.S. cancer centers. In the 1960s, the ACS Committee on Trauma was an instrumental leader in helping establish the nation’s trauma system. And in the early 2000s, the ACS launched the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP), recognized as the gold standard for collecting clinical, risk-adjusted, 30-day surgical outcomes data.

“We know quality improvement requires accurate and reliable data, with risk and case-mix adjustment,” said Clifford Ko, MD, MS, MSHS, FACS, FASCRS, director of the ACS division of research and optimal patient care. “Clinical data, not claims data, are routinely the best data to use. However, data alone are not sufficient. Appropriate and adequate resources, infrastructure and adherence to evidence-based standards are all likewise needed to provide high-value care. ACS has a long history of helping providers and hospitals achieve these aspects reliably.”

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Reducing Medical Errors with A Nationwide Unique Patient Identifier

Health information management leaders told members of Congress today that removal of a nearly two-decade ban on the use of federal funds to adopt a nationwide unique patient identifier would allow collaboration between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the private sector to identify solutions for reducing medical errors and protecting patient privacy.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) hosted the Congressional briefing to encourage Senate support for the U.S. House of Representatives’ recent repeal of the ban as part of the FY2020 Labor, HHS and Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bills.

During the briefing, members of the American Medical Informatics Association and the American College of Surgeons joined AHIMA and CHIME in recounting existing patient identification challenges and the patient safety implications when data is matched to the wrong patient and/or when essential data is lacking from a patient’s record due to identity issues.

“Critical to patient safety and care coordination is ensuring patients are accurately identified and matched to their data,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE. “The time has come to remove this archaic ban and empower HHS to explore a full range of patient matching solutions hand in hand with the private sector focused on increasing patient safety and moving us closer to achieving nationwide interoperability.”

“Now more than ever we need a nationwide unique patient identifier to ensure that patients are correctly identified in our increasingly digital healthcare ecosystem,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell. “This is a top priority for our members. We applaud the House for taking a leadership role on this issue by removing the ban and we strongly encourage the Senate to do the same.”

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) originally required the creation of a unique health identifier in 1998. However, Congress included language as part of the annual appropriations process that prohibited the US Department of Health and Human Services from using federal funds intended for the creation of a unique patient identifier out of privacy concerns.

Not having a unique patient identifier system means that healthcare providers typically rely on a patient’s name and date of birth to identify their medical records in electronic health record (EHR) systems—information that is often not unique to one individual. This means that providers often have a difficult time properly identifying patients and often incorporate medical information into the wrong health record.

“Those of us who work in provider organizations have seen the serious consequences of this ban on patients and their families,” said Marc Probst, CIO at Intermountain Healthcare and a member of the CHIME Policy Steering Committee. “Misidentifications threaten patient safety and drive unnecessary costs to health systems in an era when the industry and Congress are trying to lower healthcare costs. Congress has an opportunity to fix this, but only if the Senate also removes the ban on a unique patient identifier.”   

Speakers at the briefing included:

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