Prescription for Change

Not sure where to focus your care standardization efforts? Start here.

by Maria Restuccio and Sarah Evans

Before the Covid-19 epidemic, care variation reduction (CVR) was a mainstay on the C-suite agenda for its potential to drive cost savings and improve care quality at the same time. Now, both mandates are even more acute. Clinical executives are under tremendous pressure to find clinical cost savings, while working with a public and a clinical workforce that is increasingly sensitive to clinical safety and quality. In response, hospitals and health systems are recommitting to their CVR strategy.  

One of the most frequent CVR questions we are getting from clinical executives right now is: What internal variation should we standardize? It is easy to get stuck at this initial prioritization phase. Too often, we've seen organizations spend so much bandwidth deciding what to standardize, that they are left with scant time and energy for the more labor-intensive work of figuring out how to actually reduce that variation. Amid Covid-era resource constraints, that is a pitfall that organizations cannot afford to fall into this time around.

To help organizations select CVR opportunities—with dramatically less effort—we've used the methodology behind our new CVR Opportunity Assessment to identify the top service lines and MS-DRGs with the greatest cost savings opportunity nationally.

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Top 5 Service Lines with the Greatest Excess Cost Nationally, 2019

Top 10 MS-DRGs with the Greatest Excess Cost Nationally, 2019*

Skimming these lists, you'll notice that these top opportunities are not shocking—and most organizations end up tackling them all over the course of their long-term CVR strategy. Largely, prioritizing CVR opportunities is not a question of what conditions to prioritize, but when—and in what sequence—based on the level of organizational resources and executive commitment to fuel the effort.  

Eager to go beyond national benchmarks and see your hospital's custom analysis? Physician Executive Council and Nursing Executive Center members have access to our new CVR Opportunity Assessment tool. Using your organization's Medicare FFS data, the tool will identify your top cost opportunities at the service line, sub-service line, MS-DRG, physician, and cost-center levels—so you can efficiently prioritize which conditions to tackle first.

Webinar: What it takes to reduce care variation reduction at scale

Care variation reduction (CVR) is one of the few opportunities in health care to unlock significant cost savings while maintaining—and even improving—care quality. However, many health care leaders struggle to realize the full potential of their CVR cost savings opportunity across their organization.

Join us on July 21 at 1 pm ET to learn what it takes to break out of pilot mode and tackle care variation at scale.

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