Healthcare CEOs develop checklist to save money, improve quality

by | Jul 27, 2012

In a collaborative effort between CEOs and senior executives from 11 leading hospitals and health systems across the country, a comprehensive checklist to promote high-value healthcare at reduced costs has recently been developed.

The CEO Checklist for High-Value Health Care, which was released Tuesday, includes 10 strategies proven effective and essential to improve healthcare quality, reducing waste and lowering costs. The checklist emerges from a discussion paper from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on excess costs in the U.S. healthcare system.

The authors of the checklist represent CEOs and senior executives from the following institutions: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, Denver Health, Geisinger Health System, Hospital Corporation of America, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Partners HealthCare, ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, Veterans Health Administration and Virginia Mason Health System.

“I think we have a crisis in healthcare right now and we have an opportunity to make a difference. The checklist was an effort to identify the best practices, have better outcomes and make it available to the executives at the highest level,” said Uma Kotagal, senior vice president of quality, safety and transformation at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Kotagal has also worked extensively with the CEO Checklist. “The checklist can be part of the conversation with an executive team, and it would be a simple way to get started since it can sometimes be overwhelming to say ‘let’s make healthcare better.’ The checklist also gives examples of how this can be done.”

The strategies outlined in the checklist can help save lives and money, said Kotagal. The list describes a comprehensive approach to promoting high-value healthcare, and can serve as a blueprint for other hospital executives when considering their own efforts to improve the value of care delivered. Checklist items include:

• Senior leadership that is committed, visible and determined;
• Institutional culture of continuous improvement and real-time learning;
• Comprehensive IT systems for integrated, streamlined and safe care;
• Evidence-based care to ensure the best care is delivered every time;
• Optimized resource utilization to reduce waste;
• Integrated care delivered in the setting most appropriate for the patient’s needs;
• Patient-clinician collaboration on care plans;
• Targeted resources for the sickest patients;
• Safeguards to reduce injury and infection; and
• Internal transparency on performance, outcomes and cost.

“Everyone is aware that medical costs are rising and with the baby boomer age getting older, people are wondering how we are going to afford care,” said Robert Wyllie, chief medical operating officer at Cleveland Clinic. “We could do things more efficiently and that led us to think about how we can be more efficient and improve care. Everyone doing it the same way allows us to spotlight if there are problems and how we can fix them.”

To demonstrate the potential of each of the 10 checklist items, the list includes supporting case material describing the experiences of authoring institutions already working to implement these strategies. For example, at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center smoothing patient flow through the ICU has avoided $100 million in capital costs and reduced delays due to bed availability. Another example is at Cleveland Clinic, where internal transparency on quality spurred a 40 percent reduction in central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs) in the ICU, with $30,000 saved per avoided infection.

“I think there is a sense of urgency and accountability with all of these issues. The checklist makes it easier for healthcare executives to get started,” said Kotagal. “I think most organizations are already thinking about it. Executives can crosscheck with this list and it helps them identify where they are working well and where they could work better.”

From: Healthcare Finance News

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