10 Takeaways on Successful QIN-QIO/HEN Collaboration

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In support of the 2015 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Conference's partnership theme, executives from several Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs) and Hospital Engagement Networks (HENs) shared how they developed successful collaborations with each other over the past few years to improve patient safety. The purpose of their breakout session was to provide other QIN-QIOs and HENs with the motivation and opportunity to build relationships with each other as the HENs begin their second round of work under CMS’ Partnership for Patients initiative. Both QIN-QIOs and HENs work closely with health care providers and community stakeholders, and are credited with having contributed to significant reductions in hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions.

Participants in the conference breakout session included:

Jackie Buttaccio, Quality Improvement Director, HealthInsight (Nevada)

Kim Streit, Vice President, Health Care Research and Information, Florida Hospital Association

Amy Osborn, Executive Director, Health Services Advisory Group (Florida)

Brittany Bogan, Vice President, Patient Safety and Quality, Michigan Hospital Association

May Leonard, Director, Quality Initiatives, MPRO (part of Lake Superior QIN)

Following are 10 takeaways from their session on QIN-QIO collaboration with HENs:

  1. The only real competition should be to move the bar in patient safety” within a particular state or region.
  2. Leadership plays an important role in establishing a culture of openness and cooperation between organizations. Common messaging should be developed for staff, so they understand how leadership views the partnership and what expectations have been set for them.
  3. Building on any past history of organizational cooperation in quality improvement projects can lay the groundwork for the new collaboration. For example, the Michigan Hospital Association’s early readmissions-related work with MPRO helped set a foundation for their new partnership.
  4. Aligning priorities and establishing common goals help pave the way to success.
  5. Learning about each other’s strengths and leveraging them in pursuit of common goals is beneficial both to the partners and to the providers.
  6. Commiserating with each other on challenges and celebrating each other’s successes helps bond partners. Amy is always there for me,” says Kim Streit of the Florida Hospital Association.
  7. As with any other partnership, regular and consistent communications – including joint site visits, mutual brainstorming, sharing of resources and lessons learned, standing calls – ensure that both organizations stay on the same page in reaching their common goals.
  8. Avoiding duplication of effort (e.g., holding multiple collaboratives on similar topics) and maximizing resources for hospitals will pay off in the long run. Providers like it when quality improvement programs and initiatives work together and make life easier for them.
  9. Asking leadership of QIN-QIOs and HENs to pen a joint letter to hospital executives about their commitment to work together sets a positive tone for the collaboration.
  10. Despite experiencing some initial challenges in organizing the collaboration, QIN-QIOs and HENs can benefit from more easily reaching or exceeding recruitment goals; streamlining their reporting; organizing successful peer groups, collaboration teams and summits; and, above all, improving patient safety.