Three Ways QIN-QIOs Are Using IT and Data to Improve Health

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Each of the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Program’s 14 Quality Innovation Network (QIN)-QIOs are working to improve quality health data reporting and to help providers and caregivers use data to improve health outcomes.

Here are three examples of how QIN-QIOs are leveraging data and technology:

HealthInsight QIN-QIO

HealthInsight, the QIN-QIO serving Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah, is working with the quality team from a multi-site clinic group in Utah to improve hypertension control rates. Recently, while reviewing the clinic group’s electronic health records (EHRs), HealthInsight noticed variability in blood pressure control rates among sites. 

This discovery led to a discussion between HealthInsight and the clinic’s leadership about the source of this variability, since the clinic reported having standardized practices and procedures around blood pressure measurement and documentation. The decision was made to examine the cause of this variation with an observational study combined with staff interviews. The study found inconsistencies in adherence and interpretation, and procedures around high blood pressure measurements. This included EHR documentation of follow-up blood pressure readings for patients with uncontrolled hypertension.

To help address these issues, training was provided to the clinic staff using resources from the Utah Million Hearts Coalition that focused on improving the accuracy of blood pressure measurement consistency of recording readings in a patient’s EHR. 

The clinic system is currently gathering data and working through a Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle to determine how to improve EHR blood pressure documentation. The immediate lesson learned was that it’s critical for providers to regularly review their EHR documentation practices to ensure that quality care standards are being implemented throughout a patient’s visit to a health care facility.

New England QIN-QIO

Hospital chief information officers (CIOs) are often at the front lines when it comes to health IT in their facilities. It was with this in mind that the New England QIN-QIO began convening quarterly meetings with Rhode Island’s 11 hospital CIOs to discuss health IT issues, educate them on quality improvement initiatives and foster greater collaboration. At one such meeting, CIOs learned to codify an electronic version of a continuity of care document to facilitate better transitions across provider settings.

Recently, the New England QIN-QIO, in partnership with the state health IT coordinator, was contacted by the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council to convene a special meeting to discuss a critical, though less-discussed, topic: cybersecurity.

Increasingly, hospitals and health care facilities have come under attack from ransomware and other cyber threats, illustrating the need for stronger security measures. The New England QIN-QIO and local and national law enforcement partners were able to educate hospital CIOs about these threats, explaining how they can better protect patient data and provide resources and training to increase security.

The New England QIN-QIO plans to continue its quarterly CIO meetings to help educate and empower care providers to fully leverage health IT, safely.

Telligen QIN-QIO

Medication reconciliation is an important step in the care continuum, but even with EHRs, it can easily be overlooked. Without the reconciliation process, adverse drug events (ADEs) are more likely and can result in serious consequences for patients.

To address this challenge, Telligen, the QIN-QIO serving Colorado, Illinois and Iowa, created an online medication reconciliation tool to evaluate community-level reconciliation processes and promote quality improvement. Using data gathered from the tool, Telligen staff assigned a reconciliation score and provided actionable recommendations back to the provider on how to improve care.

As of June 2016, 15 communities in Iowa and Colorado have used the assessment tool, and approximately 1,350 patient records have been analyzed. Thus far, the tool has helped prevent more than 440 potential ADEs.

Learn more in this month’s QIOs in Action.