The Forum

The blog for global health care leaders

Banner Health's approach to system-wide clinical standardisation

by Megan Zweig January 17, 2018

In September 2015, Banner Health in Arizona, US, announced six new system-wide clinical standards. They all went live on the same day at all 25 of Banner's facilities. Now, those standards are part of the 'Banner way' of practice. This process is repeated every month at Banner, with its system-level care management structure overseeing the constant creation and implementation of care standards.

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How Harvard's mobile clinic drives patient engagement and a 23-1 ROI

Rebecca Tyrrell January 9, 2018

In a previous post, we highlighted the benefits of implementing mobile health clinics in the pursuit of population health management. Here, we go in depth on the success of Harvard’s own mobile health clinic—The Family Van.

When your at-risk patients can't come to you, consider bringing health care to them using mobile health clinics. Not only do these programmes reduce logistical barriers to care, such as lack of transportation, but they also help fill key service gaps and promote engagement among those who may not otherwise seek care. Many are also able to generate significant ROI.

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Nearly every computer is now vulnerable to hackers. Here's how to protect your patient data—and yourself.

by Bethany Jones, Associate Director and Greg Kuhnen, Senior Director January 5, 2018

Two major computer hardware bugs affecting billions of devices—Meltdown and Spectre—recently became public, and security experts are warning that they could be the nastiest bugs ever. While this is still a developing situation, we know that the security weaknesses can allow attackers to access security keys, passwords, and files stored in the memory of all types of computing devices, even mobile devices. These bugs have the potential to make your secrets accessible to organised cybercriminals, who could steal them without a trace.

The health care industry should pay particularly close attention to these two issues, and not only because health care organisations are lucrative targets for cyber attackers—organisations can also expect to experience reduced system performance and may need to invest considerable time and money in hardware upgrades to address these vulnerabilities.

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How Carolinas HealthCare System engages doctors in cost reduction

by Elena Brandano January 2, 2018

Many hospitals and health systems struggle to incorporate specific cost reduction goals into their care variation strategy. And for good reason: doctor engagement is critical to building care standards and reducing variability. But setting specific cost targets may alienate doctors who view cost reduction as, at best, a way to increase margins, and at worst, a threat to patient care. However, we found one system that successfully addressed this challenge by empowering doctors to lead the cost reduction charge.

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Combat this costly problem by targeting social determinants of health

by Tomi Ogundimu December 20, 2017

Ubers, barbershops, and vegetable farms: Progressive provider organisations are using these avenues and more to address patients' nonclinical risk factors. Population health leaders tasked with reducing total cost of care for their most vulnerable patient populations are building and strengthening community partnerships to meet all patient needs, not just the clinical ones.

Nonclinical risk factors, also known as the social determinants of health, have a larger impact on a patients' health outcomes than the clinical care they receive—double the impact, in fact. Yet few providers feel comfortable addressing these social needs, which include socioeconomic status, housing, transportation, literacy, hunger, safety, and social support.

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The one question you should start asking your patients today

by Taylor Hurst and Gabbie DeCuir December 13, 2017

In September, renowned surgeon and author Dr Atul Gawande hosted a conversation in Washington, D.C., following the re-release of his bestselling book on end-of-life care, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. We attended the event along with a few Advisory Board colleagues and listened to Dr Gawande share his thoughts on topics ranging from health care reform to the opioid crisis happening in the US and Canada to—of course—end-of-life care planning.

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Risky reforms? How one Australian hospital executive pushed back against rule makers

Vidal Seegobin December 6, 2017

We hear time and again from our members that managing the impact of health reform is one of their key priorities. But this is often a tall task—health reform can be unexpected, and it is directed from policymakers and other payers who don't necessarily understand the complexity of the challenges that providers face on a daily basis.

We've recently discussed how one of the first things that providers should do is to engage with policymakers. This helps to have their concerns heard and provides them a means with which they can influence the process. But providers shouldn't stop there, because engagement is only one part of an effective reform management strategy.

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3 surprising ways health systems are scaling care variation reduction

Veena Lanka, MD November 28, 2017

As Advisory Board's Senior Director for Care Variation Reduction (CVR) in the US, I interact with a cross-section of member CMOs on a weekly basis. Many are now being held squarely accountable for generating cost savings of up to $300M by minimising unwarranted variation in clinical practice. As a result, my time is increasingly dedicated to helping member organisations across all stages of this journey, from those just beginning to put CVR governance in place, to others in full flight rapidly implementing new clinical standards every quarter. Despite varying backgrounds and approaches, there is one challenge they all have in common—figuring out how to scale and sustain this process year over year.

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