When an organization has been successful with analytics, how does it decide how to expand upon that success? How does it best use its resources? Which projects and departments receive priority?
While many organizations build out their analytics usage in a haphazard way, EvergreenHealth, based 15 miles outside of Seattle, uses a much more structured approach. The health system has an analytics steering committee that helps prioritize analytics projects and think about how they relate to the organization’s strategic goals. I learned about this and much more when I visited EvergreenHealth. Here’s a look.
Analytics steering committee prioritizes projects
EvergreenHealth has now been using Diver Platform for several years, and the implementation has grown to support several different departments throughout the organization.
Jessica Foy, EvergreenHealth’s analytics manager, is a strong Diver advocate. She told me, “We’re continuing to grow incrementally as more and more requests come in and as more and more need for advanced analytics comes down the road. This will really help us focus our efforts in the right area and shine that light on where it is that we can see some opportunities for improvement.”
The analytics team quickly grew overwhelmed with the number of projects it was being asked to support and was constantly juggling requests. In order to help the health system prioritize projects that will have the most impact, EvergreenHealth has set up an analytics steering committee. This committee is made up of leaders throughout the organization and it is chaired by the chief medical officer for the hospital and the chief medical officer for the ambulatory group.
The team vets project requests by scoring them on criteria such as: How does this impact finances? How does this impact quality, safety, regulatory? The scores help the committee prioritize projects for the analytics team so their resources are going towards the projects that will make the most difference.
Feedback loop helps ensure analytics success
Another benefit of the steering committee is that it creates a feedback loop that ensures EvergreenHealth is always improving in its overall use of analytics. As manager of the analytics department, Jessica is continually bringing back to the steering committee results of projects that have been implemented throughout the hospital. This is helping committee members see not only the multitude of projects that the team is supporting, but is also helping them see which projects have been either successful or not successful and why. This feedback helps inform the decision-making process for future projects.
The ultimate goal –> improving outcomes
Of course, when it comes down to it, the ultimate goal of analytics at EvergreenHealth is to improve patient care and outcomes. While many analytics projects focus on finances, at EvergreenHealth, it was important to focus on the impact to patients.
One of the things that really excited me about my trip to EvergreenHealth is that the organization has so many demonstrable results to share from its Diver implementation. Here are two:
Antimicrobial stewardship: We’ve all heard about the dangers of over-prescribing antibiotics, especially as it relates to the development of “super” strains of bacteria. This can be especially harmful in hospitals, as patients already have compromised immune systems. EvergreenHealth is currently required to report its antimicrobial numbers to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA). Diver not only helps with the monthly reporting requirements, but it also provides key data to the health system’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee. That team reviews the data to see where the health system can stop certain kinds of treatment or convert from an IV antibiotic to an oral version. So far, the organization has seen some good success from this program. For example, since EvergreenHealth started this dashboard, it decreased the average number of treatment days for its antimicrobials from 92 days to 39 days, a 58% decrease.
Quality measures for physicians: EvergreenHealth provides its physicians with a dashboard so they can see how they are performing on various quality measures. With this dashboard, physicians get an overall picture of how they are doing on measures such as getting patients in for colorectal screenings and mammograms. They can then drill down to the patient level to see which patients haven’t been in for an extended period of time and take action from there, such as proactively calling them to make an appointment. With the colorectal cancer screenings in particular, the medical group has seen a 46% increase in performance over the past 2 years.
In 2019, EvergreenHealth is planning to upgrade to Diver Platform 7.0, which is built on columnar databases. That will provide the organization with even more speed and power to work on even bigger projects within the hospital. I’m looking forward to following up and seeing even better results in the future.
- According to Jessica, EvergreenHealth is well-known in the Seattle area for its family maternity center. In fact, the hospital delivers more than 4,500 babies each year, and it is one of five Level III NICUs in the state. (There are four Level IVs.) The health system is also building up its cardiac, thoracic, and neuroscience programs.
- The Pacific Northwest is an absolutely beautiful part of the country to visit, so I had to do something outdoors while I was there. I wanted to find a scenic hiking trail that was well-traveled (since I wanted someone to see me if I fell off a cliff), so I found myself at Rattlesnake Ledge, about 30 miles east of Seattle. It was a great 4-mile out-and-back hike with nice views and amazing smells. (The trees don’t smell like those on the East Coast!) And no, despite the name, I didn’t see any snakes on my excursion.
- The peak that dominates the Washington state skyline, though, is Mount Rainier, which is 70 miles southeast of Seattle, but visible from the city. Mount Rainier is an active volcano, having last erupted in the 1800s. At more than 14,000 feet, it is the highest peak in Washington, and the most topographically prominent peak in the U.S. It is also absolutely stunning from the air, as I found out when I passed it on my way out of Sea-Tac!
To learn more about how EvergreenHealth is using Diver Platform, read the full case study on our website. You can also read some of our other customer spotlights on the blog:
- Gwinnett Medical Center (Lawrenceville, Ga.)
- Doctors Center Hospital (Manatí, Puerto Rico)
- Allied Physicians Group (Melville, N.Y.)
- Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (Salinas, Calif.)