October 03, 2012 10:31 ET

VHA Inc. Helps West Coast Hospitals Identify Areas of Improvement

Hospital Performance Efforts Fueled by Collaborative Networks, Transparency and Business Intelligence

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - Oct 3, 2012) - In today's accountable care era, health care executives are embracing cooperative efforts driven by transparency and business intelligence. That was demonstrated by an initiative of VHA Inc., the national health care network, when executives from 22 member hospitals of the VHA West Coast region gathered recently to meet and compare performance data and discuss their mutual challenges.

The springboard for new collaborative conversations is customized improvement plans generated through VHA IMPERATIV™, a performance improvement solution. VHA IMPERATIV combines an integrated view of a hospital's clinical, operational and financial performance data with personalized advisory services, peer networks and leading practices to help hospitals fast-track their performance improvements. In a nationwide initiative, VHA is providing all VHA member hospitals with customized performance plans to help them with their continuous improvement efforts. In addition, these plans offer new opportunities for executives to share performance data and gain a clearer picture of their hospitals' performance compared to their peers.

At the West Coast meeting, hospital CEOs, COOs and physician leaders focused on common clinical improvement opportunities, most notably in the areas of surgical complications, hospital acquired infections and HCAHPS scores. All of these measures impact hospitals' reimbursements under health care reform. For example, analyses of VHA IMPERATIV's value-based purchasing data revealed that as a group, these West Coast hospitals are at risk of losing as much as $3 million in reimbursements due to lagging Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) measures.

"It was really eye-opening to see not only my own hospital's performance compiled that way but also the performance of the other hospitals represented at the meeting, as well as our competitors' performance. That was new information that we previously didn't have," said Michael Covert, FACHE, CEO of Palomar Health, California's largest by area public health care district. "With this information at our fingertips, we were able to discuss how we can work together to address common issues."

In addition to the customized improvement plans, each hospital executive left the meeting with 10 to 20 ideas for proven practices they could implement promptly.

VHA IMPERATIV provides all VHA members with a comprehensive view of quality and performance data from seven domains: clinical, patient experience, value-based purchasing, patient safety, supply chain, operational and workforce. This is powerful, since simultaneously looking at multiple domains helps identify correlations in performance data and expanded opportunities. For example, if a hospital addresses septicemia, it may also reduce total costs and improve patient outcomes and patient satisfaction.

"Hospital executives know they need to fundamentally operate differently and take a more balanced approach with an organization-wide view, rather than just looking at one element at a time," said Rick Barnett, VHA senior vice president and executive officer of the VHA West Coast region. "This 360-degree view of seven information domains helped open executives' eyes to the possibilities and sparked discussion around common opportunities."

Alongside the individual performance data, VHA IMPERATIV delivers actionable improvement resources that apply to the hospitals' specific opportunities from VHA's Leading Practice Blueprint® library. Weak performance metrics are linked to interactive blueprints and a list of hospitals that are top performers in that area, allowing hospital executives to connect for discussions. VHA has more than 170 blueprints on a wide range of topics including clinical outcomes, patient safety, patient experience and care coordination.

"Hospital leaders are under tremendous pressure to improve clinical and operational performance. So having this insight, tailored to their specific organization, along with guidance from expert advisors and leading practices, provides the roadmap for change," said Steve Miff, PhD, senior vice president, VHA IMPERATIV. "Combined with VHA's regional model and collaborative networks, it's an approach that fosters innovation and accelerates improvements."

About VHA - VHA Inc., based in Irving, Texas, is a national network of not-for-profit health care organizations that work together to drive maximum savings in the supply chain arena, set new levels of clinical performance, and identify and implement best practices to improve operational efficiency and clinical outcomes. Since 1977, VHA has leveraged its expertise in analytics, contracting, consulting and networks to help members achieve their operational, clinical and financial objectives. In 2011, VHA delivered record savings and value of $1.9 billion to members. VHA serves more than 1,350 hospitals and more than 72,000 non-acute care providers nationwide, coordinating delivery of its programs and services through its 14 regional offices. VHA has been ranked as one of the best places to work in health care by Modern Healthcare since the publication introduced this list in 2008.

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