May 05, 2008 11:31 ET

VHA Inc. Develops New Methodology for Improving Clinical Outcomes

Alliance Incorporates Social Science and Design Principles to Transfer Leading Practices

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - May 5, 2008) - VHA Inc., the national health care alliance, is bucking traditional approaches to performance improvement by incorporating disciplines that have not traditionally been included in health care.

"Hospital and physician efforts to improve performance have previously been hampered by their limited toolkit, not their lack of effort," states Trent Haywood, M.D., J.D, chief medical officer at VHA. "The traditional performance improvement approach first identifies problems and then uses clinical and engineering principles to attack the problems. The VHA approach first identifies successfully implemented leading practices and then uses social science and design principles to help others implement these leading practices."

In addition, VHA's approach rejects the notion that there is a single, specific culture and practice that leads to top performance. Instead, VHA's experience suggests leading practices may be found in different cultures and through different practices. "Many clinical improvement efforts are stymied by attempts to set up the idealized patient care model," says Haywood. "We've found there are multiple models of care that will deliver superior clinical results. By studying leading practice organizations within VHA, we've identified care models that work best in different cultures and different types of organizations."

VHA's Clinical Improvement Services has introduced its new methodology at a crucial time. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) has announced that it will stop paying for medical errors or less than optimal care beginning Oct. 1, 2008. The new approach by VHA's Clinical Improvement Services is geared toward helping hospitals rapidly improve their performance, typically in less than one year.

VHA's new clinical improvement services platform includes:

--  Leading Practice Blueprints™ -- are sophisticated, yet simple to
    follow, process maps based on ethnographic research at top performing VHA
    members. VHA currently has 24 blueprints live on its member Web site. To
    develop these blueprints, VHA carefully studied the clinical, engineering
    and design factors that are important to each leading practice hospital and
    then integrated these elements into a powerful visual format
--  Leading Practices Portal -- helps hospital see the gaps between
    their current performance and leading performers, and provides specific
    tools that help hospitals close the gap in performance
--  Rapid Adoption Networks -- assist hospitals by linking them with
    peers on a local level to adapt and adopt Leading Practice Blueprints™ to
    achieve improvement in less than one year
--  Educational series -- provides a multimedia format for year-round
    access to leading performers and leading practices

"Our new clinical improvement services platform will help member hospitals achieve clinical excellence faster, and enable them to sustain high levels of quality care," said Haywood. "By providing a clear understanding of the clinical, engineering, and social science factors that sustain leading performers and implementation tools that support performance improvement, VHA will help hospitals and physicians rapidly improve performance."

For more information on VHA's clinical improvement services efforts, go to

About VHA Inc. -- VHA Inc. is a national alliance of leading not-for-profit health care organizations that work together to improve the health of the communities they serve. VHA delivers industry-leading supply chain management services and enables regional and national member networks to improve clinical and operational performance, and drive sustainable results. Based in Irving, Texas, VHA has 16 local offices serving more than 1,400 hospitals and 21,000 non-acute health care organizations across the United States.

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