The High-Performing Physician Network

3-minute case study: Which metrics matter?

  | March 29, 2017

Researchers have identified top performers on key financial and clinical metrics across the athenahealth network — and are uncovering the innovations that drive their success. Here's a snapshot of one tactic on the road to lower cost, higher value care.

The problem

Beebe Medical Group, a Delaware-based employed physician network under Beebe Healthcare, is part of an accountable care organization — and was underperforming on its ACO contracts.

Karly Gamaitoni and Emily Oakes, Beebe's electronic health record optimization specialists, discovered that physicians were documenting quality measures in a variety of locations — creating holes in reports for the group's 101 providers throughout the southern part of the state.

The solution

To begin, Gamaitoni and Oakes created a "physician optimization committee," made up of the primary care medical director and the physicians who were already documenting consistently in the charts. This new committee reviewed each metric in the quality management portion of the electronic health record with two questions:

  1. Is this still pertinent to the way you provide patient care?
  2. Do you need to continue capturing this information?

"Our motto is to make sure everything is in the chart to optimize that patient experience," says Oakes, "so when the provider walks in the room, they have everything they need at their fingertips to facilitate clinical decision-making."

Once the committee addressed the effectiveness and usability of the chart, Gamaitoni and Oakes created a comprehensive workflow document for the whole staff. Then they scheduled monthly meetings with the top clinical performers and office coordinators from Beebe's 25 locations to continue developing optimization solutions.

As those coordinators and physicians return to their practices to roll out improvements, the optimization team rounds on physicians to discuss whether the new system captures everything they need in the health record. Their direct feedback establishes the agenda for the next optimization meeting.

"Ultimately we're here to support our providers. Physicians are at the forefront, and are the driving force behind everything we do," says Oakes.

The outcome

Reviewing metrics regularly with direct physician input has helped put Beebe in the top 10 percent of all practices on the athenahealth network on a range of key quality metrics.

And by ensuring that physicians and staff are only inputting metrics that matter, the optimization team has reduced the documentation burden. Now, only 3.8 percent of documentation at Beebe occurs after hours.

As they face upcoming value-based mandates such as MIPS, Gamaitoni and Oakes expect their standardized feedback loop to serve them well in the nationwide pressure test for quality.

Data analysis and research by Stewart Richardson, David Clain, and Erica Granor. Chelsea Rice is a staff writer for athenaInsight. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaRice.

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3-minute case study: Which metrics matter?