Combining Forces for Cardiac Improvement

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Participants pose for a group photo after the GPT2 launch meeting.
Participants pose for a group photo after the GPT2 launch meeting.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Georgia, accounting for one-third of all deaths throughout the state. As a result, reducing disparities from heart disease and stroke has become a state priority. Alliant Quality, the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Georgia and North Carolina, is helping lead the way in addressing these disparities.

In October 2014, the QIN-QIO noticed that there were multiple state-funded projects targeting cardiac improvement. Alliant Quality decided to invite its stakeholders to an exploratory meeting to see how they could combine forces. The group kicked off with a white board activity where participants identified their audiences and providers, goals and resources using different colored markers. This allowed them to look for synergies and ways that they could complement each other’s work. After two hours, the Georgia Practice Transformation Team (GPT2) was established.

Since its initial launch, GPT2 has gained additional partners and continues to look for new members. Alliant Quality aims to recruit providers in parts of the state with higher rates of health disparities. Using practitioner performance data reports, the QIN-QIO will help physicians track key performance indicators and measure their efforts.

GPT2 plans to promote heart health in 2015 by co-hosting webinars, as well as on-site events that provide practitioners with valuable information and resources. The group coined the term Quickinar” for its 30-minute webinars that are divided into three 10-minute parts: a background and overview of the topic area; a success story or example; and a Q&A session. We piloted this format last year, and audiences were receptive and really enjoyed it,” said Dr. Adrienne Mims, chief medical officer with Alliant Quality.

Beneficiaries’ and families’ views are important to the transformation team, and their input is necessary for lasting improvement. At the November 2014 Georgia Learning and Action Network (LAN) event called Saving Hearts in Georgia Through Reduction of Health Care Disparities, the QIN-QIO included beneficiaries and family representatives in a discussion about concerns for improving heart health in the community. These issues will help determine what Quickinars will be held in 2015.

Our topic is cardiac health, but we hope it can be looked at as a vehicle beyond cardiac and as a tool for practice transformation,” said Mims. GPT2 will use information provided at the Georgia LAN event, as well as Million Hearts® resources, to develop materials moving forward.

As it continues to align cardiac improvement efforts throughout the state of Georgia, GPT2 will make strides toward reducing disparities. Our stakeholders recognize the same issues – practitioner burnout and a need for resources – so they’re eager and willing to collaborate,” said Mims. Our whole is really far greater than the sum of our parts, and in an era of collaboration and cooperation, we can be one voice with providers and patients.”