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A Model of Care Coordination in Scottsdale

A Model of Care Coordination in Scottsdale

Scottsdale Health Partners (SHP) is more than just a joint venture between the HonorHealth (formerly Scottsdale Healthcare) hospital system and approximately 700 physicians — most in private practice — across the Scottsdale and Phoenix, Ariz., region.

The clinical integrated network and accountable care organization (ACO) is a primary example of how hospitals and physicians can successfully work hand-in-hand in a value-based environment. SHP has enjoyed success in achieving its goals of improving quality of care and lowering costs. In particular, it has reduced its hospital readmissions rate to 9 percent, well below the state average of 15 percent, and saved up to 10 percent in medical costs for its population of 40,000 patients.

For physician practices looking to get a jump start on value-based care, before CMS' Merit-Based Incentive Payment System's (MIPS) likely first performance year in 2017, SHP can be a source of inspiration. Since starting up in 2012, it's found a way to use technology and personnel to coordinate care almost seamlessly from the hospital to the practice-level.

Faron Thompson, chief operations officer of SHP, and Tiffany Nelson, a family medicine physician and the organization's chief strategy officer, will be at the 2016 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Las Vegas to share with attendees how they've succeeded in this area. Their session, titled "A Vision for Connected Care," is scheduled for March 3 at 08:30 am.

Thompson and Nelson recently spoke with Physicians Practice regarding the session.

Physicians Practice: What are the necessary technologies when you are trying to coordinate care across multiple settings, in an effort to lower costs and improve quality?

Tiffany Nelson: There are multiple things that are important. Number one, having a good communication platform, so that physicians can communicate with each other, the care coordinators can communicate with each other, and the care coordinator and physicians can communicate. We've found that in our secure texting solution. It's also important to have a health information exchange (HIE), which has pertinent data about the patient. We've been able to get hospital information, including discharge and transfer information, clinical data, and consult reports, as well as having lab and images. Those two things are the major technologies that we will be discussing at [the] HIMSS [conference]. It's the bringing together of those two technologies that has made us successful.

We're able to use admission discharge and transfer information from the hospital. As soon as one of our patients hits the hospital, one of our transitional care managers will get a notification that [the patient] is in the hospital. The transitional care managers are able to take a look what happened with that patient…they're able pull detailed information on that patient. Then, they can use the secure texting solution to communicate with the physician on what's occurring in the hospital. By doing that, we have a much more coordinated plan when the patient is in the hospital and when they leave the hospital.

Faron Thompson: …Healthcare IT is full of wonderful technologies, many of which are propriety and don’t integrate. Our HIE and secure messaging technology are not that. They are very standards based and open. That was key for us. Also, we have creative and talented IT staff that are able build the integrations and added functionality. So, we are not beholden [to a] vendor's [plans].


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