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5 Keys to Successful CQO

by Ashok Muttin, CEO, SupplyCopia

Like most healthcare organization leaders, you’re trying to define ways to reduce costs and increase revenue while maintaining patient care quality and improving outcomes.

It’s not easy. Because making meaningful impacts to cost, quality and outcomes (CQO) requires collaboration, visibility and transparency.

It also requires multiple stakeholders – clinical, supply chain, finance and quality – to align around the factors driving costs higher and determine the best path for your organization to address them.

McLeod Health has achieved stakeholder alignment and gained visibility into cost, quality and outcomes by surgeon and by procedure for its total joint service line. These insights are presented through a perioperative dashboard where users can drill down on specific items included in a procedure, identify the costs associated with them and correlate the items to clinical outcomes.

Here are the five factors they have identified as keys to their success:

1.Leadership support: Securing support from the health system’s senior leadership team at the project’s outset ensured the total joint CQO initiative team had what they needed in terms of resources (e.g., people, technology). It also reinforced to the orthopedic surgical team the importance of this initiative to the overall organization.

“The CEO of our health system came to us and said, ‘I’m 100% on board and want this to work. You have full access to anything. If you don’t get it, you call me.’” Dr. Patrick Denton, orthopedic surgeon, director of sports medicine, and orthopedic service line leader for McLeod Health

  • Dr. Patrick Denton, orthopedic surgeon, director of sports medicine, and orthopedic service line leader for McLeod Health

2. Stakeholder engagement: The project required close collaboration among the clinical, supply chain, finance, value analysis and quality teams; therefore, engaging these parties and their active participation in the initiative was critical to its success.

“They weighed in on what the dashboard would look like, what visuals actually made sense, and was meaningful for them and would actually turn into actionable data. I think our process really was to understand what was relevant and then utilize our subject matter experts in each one of the respective fields to validate that information.”

  • BJ McCluskey, director of resource optimization at McLeod Health

3. Physician-driven approach: Because the total joint surgeons themselves led the work, including which data points were relevant when measuring CQO and how they should be presented, they believed in the credibility of the initiative and its findings.

“The physicians led the work, set the standards for what they wanted to accomplish. They did it, I believe initially with some doubt that it would be successful, only to find that even after the most rigorous challenges they put forward, that it met their expectations.”

  • Dale Locklair, Senior Vice President Planning & Facilities Management, McLeod Health

4. Near real-time visibility: In order to truly make an impact on physician supply choices, the team needed the ability to present supply usage and cost data as near to real-time as possible. When a physician receives a list of items used in a case, along with the cost, soon after a procedure, rather than months after the fact, he or she is more likely to believe the data because that specific patient case is still fresh in his/her mind.

“Based on the experience of this experiment, one of the most important things that the supply chain engineers can do, and the sooner the better, is to create visibility to product choices as close to real time as possible. Our supply chain engineers were able to model and forecast what our opportunities to save could have been had we selected goods as defined by the terms of the RFP in the vendor selection.”

  • Dr. Michael Rose, anesthesiologist and chief strategy and innovation officer for McLeod Health

5. Transparency to information: Key to success was the total joint surgeons’ willingness for complete transparency of the findings derived from the CQO initiative. Not only can an individual surgeon see his/her performance with regards to CQO, but all surgeons in the total joint line can also see each other’s performance metrics. In this way they have been able to compare and contrast what factors lead to better clinical and financial outcomes, and standardize on those practices and products that deliver the greatest value.

“I think the biggest enlightenment to us was being able to have full transparency, which is critical to increasing the value of a service line or a procedure. In this way we have been able to overcome falsehoods around what it costs to perform a procedure and what the hospital gets paid.”

  • Dr. Patrick Denton, orthopedic surgeon, director of sports medicine, and orthopedic service line leader for McLeod Health

For more information on McLeod Health’s CQO total joint initiative, or watch this video featuring interviews with the cross-functional McLeod team.

The team at SupplyCopia is ready to help tame your CQO challenges. Reach out anytime — we’ll get right back to learn more about your organization’s current state of cost, quality and outcomes.

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