Clinical Collaboratives: An Overview

May 12, 2016
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Clinical Collaboratives Icons

The Clinical Collaboratives Program is a crucial driving force behind MultiCare Connected Care (MCC), and represents an evolution of work that began even prior to the formation of MCC and our Clinically Integrated Network, the MultiCare Connected Care Network (MCCN).

The core mission of these Collaboratives is to eliminate non-value-added clinical variation across MCCN. By doing so, Clinical Collaboratives will be essential in empowering MCC to meet our objective of delivering quality care at an affordable cost to all our patients.

Clinical Collaboratives defined

Clinical Collaboratives are physician-led, multidisciplinary teams whose sole purpose is to improve clinical care and patient outcomes by standardizing best practices in care delivery. These teams grew from work that began in 2011 with DRG clinical variation investigations that were a part of MultiCare Health System‘s Cost Structure Improvement initiatives.

Today‘s Clinical Collaboratives teams are comprised of providers within three different categories: independent and employed physicians and advanced practice nurses; ancillary services; and facilities such as acute care hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Other clinicians, operational leaders, staff and representatives from all critical support services round out the teams.

MultiCare Connected Care leads the Collaboratives with the intention that the standardized best practices developed by these teams, which are being put in place across MultiCare, will also be adopted by all MCCN providers across our community.

MCC currently has seven active Collaboratives that are focused on:

  •     Critical Care
  •     Emergency Services
  •     Medicine
  •     Pediatrics
  •     Primary Care
  •     Surgery
  •     Women's Services

Collaboratives are divided into work groups that drill down to the day-to-day delivery of health care. By targeting needs, collecting data, and, in many cases, changing routines and processes, these teams are demonstrating ways to make it easier for providers at the point of care to standardize, enhance and streamline the patient experience.

“You need a process to pull accurate information; that‘s what this has taught us,” says Dr. Steve Poore, an obstetrician/gynecologist at MultiCare Tacoma Women‘s Specialists and a leader of the OB/GYN Work Group. “We have systemized the process within several hospitals, enhancing the accuracy so that our reporting numbers will be more reflective of good care we‘re doing.”

Each Collaborative produces a variety of key deliverables including:

  1. A documented evidence-based protocol guideline
  2. A patient pathway or visual “roadmap” for navigating the guideline
  3. Patient education tools to help engage patients as partners in their care
  4. Staff education and decision-support materials and tools, such as order sets, to make it easier and more convenient for providers to apply these practices in the moment at the point of care
  5. A deployment plan for disseminating all of this information throughout MCCN.

The Care Guidelines and Care Pathways produced by the Collaborative teams are physician-driven documents, and are the key components to achieving our MCCN goals. The Care Guideline is created with the intent to standardize patient care and the Care Pathway is a graphic representation of the key elements of that Care Guideline.

“What we‘re really driving toward is to eliminate unnecessary clinical practice variation that leads to inconsistencies in patient care,” said Dr. Rob Tamurian, an orthopedic surgeon at Tacoma‘s Allenmore Hospital and a leader of the Total Joint Work Group. “The goal is to have all of our patient experiences, regardless of where they‘re having a hip or knee replaced, be consistent at all our facilities.”

A data-savvy IT strategy

The long-term success of the work that the Clinical Collaboratives are doing will rely on a robust IT infrastructure based on actionable and credible data analytics to coordinate care. Instead of asking analysts to perform manual chart audits and run reports, Clinical Collaboratives teams use the data applications we create using our Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) to readily view performance information via an automated, relatively real-time and user-friendly dashboard that helps us more efficiently identify where to focus our efforts to improve the speed, quality, safety and cost of patient care.

Better care benefits all of us

Appropriate care coordination, done by enlisting the help of our Personal Health Partners* (PHP Coordinators), helps providers to avoid re-admissions, prevent medication errors, and decrease duplicate testing, to name a few benefits to population health.

Improvements like these are a win for everyone. They benefit patients, help us meet purchaser and payer performance standards and are correlated with financial recognition of providers for achieving better quality and service at a more affordable cost.

* To learn more about Personal Health Partners, please visit the MultiCare Connected Care videos page.

Posted In: MCC