atom Alliance—the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee—is collaborating with Kentucky’s Health Information Exchange (KHIE) and other statewide stakeholders to make data-driven health information available to providers.
Through their partnership, atom Alliance and KHIE have made a bold commitment to help 90 percent of eligible clinicians in Kentucky successfully participate in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Quality Payment Program during performance year 2017.
Members of atom Alliance’s and KHIE’s “Kentucky Quality Improvement Team” have shared the following four tips for using health information technology (HIT) to arm providers with the data they need to make better care options possible for all patients.
1. Connect with your HIE.
An easy first step is to invite your state’s HIE to attend meetings you hold with a variety of providers, so they can learn about the role HIEs play beyond the hospital setting and about tangible (and often free) services available to them. As an example, KHIE regularly attends the QIN-QIO’s local care coordination community meetings. The meetings allow the HIE to interact with providers from small clinics, laboratories, home health agencies, nursing homes and other post-acute care settings, Polly Mullins-Bentley, KHIE Deputy Executive Director, says.
To find the HIE for your state, contact the national consortium for HIEs, the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) trade association. You can also locate your state’s HIE representative to contact within the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program Key Contacts.
2. Promote alignment with other quality improvement initiatives.
Many opportunities exist to collaborate and promote innovative data use from QIN-QIOs and other quality improvement initiatives.
In Kentucky, atom Alliance and KHIE are co-hosting Healthcare Transformation Regional Roadshows, providing education to nearly 500 health care providers on topics related to the Quality Payment Program, Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, Merit-based Incentive Payment System, IT security and HIT.
“Providers see representatives from CMS, Regional Extension Centers (RECs), HIEs, medical associations and other stakeholders working together collaboratively and in a coordinated fashion,” says Tammy Geltmaker, atom Alliance Kentucky Quality Program Director. Offering “one clear voice for the state” is vital, she adds, as the partners explore important topics like improving adult immunization rates and care transitions for behavioral health conditions, and reducing health care-acquired conditions in nursing homes.
3. Leverage expertise.
The Kentucky Quality Improvement Team has access to a vast network of organizational knowledge around certain topical areas, including RECs related to electronic health record adoption and QIN-QIOs related to QIO Program work. Team members utilize this network to refer providers to individuals and/or organizations with expertise and data-driven insights.
“Our organizations work together well because there is confidence that even if a provider is not necessarily speaking with the subject matter expert, he or she will be promptly referred to the most appropriate contact or organization,” explains Mullins-Bentley.
4. Put patients first.
While sharing data-driven information with providers is important, quality improvement professionals need to remember the patient’s central role in the health care ecosystem, according to the Kentucky Quality Improvement Team.
“Remember we are all working together to accomplish the same goals for patients—to improve their experience of care and overall population health, and to reduce the costs of care,” concludes Geltmaker.