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HIMSS Davies Awards: A State of the Industry Snapshot

Physician at desk

Entering its 25th year, the HIMSS Davies Award recognizes healthcare organizations that demonstrate sustainable improvements in patient quality outcomes, while sharing replicable model practices that other health systems can learn from and leverage.

Davies Award recipients have included hospitals, academic medical centers, community health organizations, behavioral health facilities, pediatric hospitals, primary care residency programs and even a state prison health system.

During our site visits to validate winning organizations, several patterns emerged as drivers for the healthcare industry, but one fact remained consistent: health systems are looking to health information and technology tools to maximize cost savings, improve care quality and identify opportunities for improvement.

Technology Support to Combat the Opioid Crisis

The developing data and policy changes at the state level – including the adoption of state-mandated prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) – have been the impetus behind a concerted effort to reduce opioid exposure, and drive more at-risk patients to the appropriate services and care for rehabilitation.

Seven HIMSS Davies award-winning organizations submitted use cases around attacking the opioid crisis. Solutions ranged from the creation of algorithms built into the EHR-enabled workflow to identify patients with high risk of addiction and finding alternative pain management treatments for those patients, to the use of identifiable prescribing data analytics to change the prescribing habits of providers.

Related: HIMSS Davies Awards 2018: Mercy Health Improves Opioid Prescribing Practices

A “Pull Culture” for Analytics

Davies Award evaluation criteria requires applicants to show a minimum of one year’s worth of data demonstrating an improved patient outcomes for each use case. During the 2018 site visits, a clear pattern emerged for winners. Organizations that have achieved the most impressive improvements in care quality have gone beyond the care standardization of clinical pathways and now drive sophisticated analytics directly to providers in real time. Creating a “pull culture” – where providers readily access their own performance data on key quality metrics and are accountable for performance – is what helps the organizations that are driving astounding improvements outcomes across their enterprise stand out above the rest.

Several model practices emerged from discussions with top performing organizations:

  • The measures organizations use to measure quality of care must be meaningful. Providers must believe selected quality measures are an accurate reflection of care being delivered which will drive improvement in patient outcomes.
  • Performance data must be identifiable. Top performing organizations allow providers to review personal and peer-level performance data.
  • In order to be actionable, providers must be able to parse their performance data out into smaller patient cohorts. This allows providers to identify care gaps and specific opportunities for improving care.
  • Health systems should reinforce the utilization of analytics tools by providers through policy. For example, several Davies Award recipients require providers to select annual Plan Do Study Act (PSDA) quality improvement projects for incentive goals based on the data available on their analytics platform.
  • Providers should be accountable for improving processes and outcomes, with reimbursement being determined based on the quality of care they deliver.

Leveraging Market Share to Change Care in Ancillary Facilities

Population health management continues to be a major focus area for Davies recipients across the healthcare ecosystem. One challenge continues to be patient attribution and accountability for poor patient outcomes in one health system that may receive treatment impacting care outside of their control.

For example, skilled nursing facilities represent a very challenging frontier for many health systems. Health systems are penalized by Medicare for hospital readmissions within 30 days. Many of those readmissions stem from patients returning from skilled nursing facilities. The lack of available clinical documentation from those organizations makes determining the root cause for those readmissions challenging.

TriHealth – a health system in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio – decided to require skilled nursing facilities to document using a version of their electronic health record before referring patients to those facilities. Using the resulting documentation, TriHealth evaluated each skilled nursing facility with the Cincinnati market using an automated methodology to report out quality performance of SNFs, in order to develop a preferred provider network. TriHealth significantly reduced their 30-day readmissions while driving improved care delivery and quality in skilled nursing facilities they did not own. As other organizations look to enhance care coordination, expect large health systems to replicate approaches like TriHealth’s to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations.

HIMSS Davies Awards: Learn From Award-Winning Health Systems

Learn more about the Davies Awards program and how to apply.
Read about 2018 Davies Award recipients on HIMSS Value Suite News.

Updated May 29, 2019