Quality and Performance
Piedmont Clinic’s culture of clinical excellence, superior service, reliable safety and cost effectiveness creates an environment that is meaningful and beneficial for patients and clinicians alike.
In order to be a high-performing Clinically Integrated Network (CIN), the Piedmont Clinic must measure its quality and performance. One of the ways Piedmont Clinic tracks performance is through the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) (Figure 1), a government-sponsored reporting program. PQRS is intended to improve patient care by encouraging physicians and hospitals to regularly measure how their approach to care lines up with established clinical guidelines. Since the Piedmont Clinic began tracking with these measures, the Clinic’s physicians have continuously improved their PQRS performance targets. In fact, from 2012 to 2013, the Clinic saw a 44 percent improvement overall for meeting targets.
In response to what Piedmont Clinic learned from PQRS data, it conducted outreach to patients that were identified as appropriate candidates for mammogram screenings. This additional outreach improved mammogram rates by 116.6 percent.
During the past four years, Piedmont Clinic’s patient satisfaction scores increased 15.85 percent with Piedmont Clinic providers (Figure 2). Patients indicated that their satisfaction with Piedmont Clinic’s access to care increased 20.59 percent from 2013 to 2014 alone (Figure 3). And access plays a role in overall health and cost. If it’s easy for people to get an appointment, they are more likely to seek care at the first sign of symptoms, when a condition is easier to manage and less costly to treat.
Piedmont Clinic believes in transparency and being proactive about sharing its Press Ganey patient satisfaction ratings with the public.
In fact, Piedmont Healthcare, including Piedmont Clinic, is the second health system in the United States to present uncensored reviews by patients of their physicians. This level of transparency will help Piedmont Clinic succeed in an era in which patients increasingly exercise choice and look to doctor-review sites as a source of health-consumer information.
Figure 1. PQRS Performance Targets
Figure 2. Patient Satisfaction:
Piedmont Clinic Care Provider National Percentile Rank
Figure 3. Patient Satisfaction:
Piedmont Clinic Access to Care National Percentile Rank
Technology Helps Achieve Piedmont Clinic’s Goals
Technology has always played a major role in advancing healthcare quality. With today’s technology, as healthcare rushes to catch up with other industries, the potential leap the Clinic can take is huge. Yet the Clinic must always keep in mind that technology is a tool – not the solution – and healthcare has distinct characteristics and challenges.
Piedmont Clinic is working with physicians to integrate new technology that’s making it easier for physicians to share information, consult the latest clinical evidence and complete the administrative aspects of running a healthcare practice.
Clinical Integration Trust: The Clinical Integration Trust (CIT) is a platform that incorporates several types of quality measures and data. The key innovation within the CIT was the creation of a HIPAA-compliant tool that securely collects billing and claims data from physician practices in various locations and automatically sends encrypted copies to the CIT. This additional component has two major benefits: automating time-consuming work and significantly enhancing the CIT’s ability to support truly integrated care and communication across entire communities of physicians and patients.
Electronic Medical Records: Many Piedmont Clinic members use electronic medical records (EMR) in their daily practice. The use of EMRs allows physicians to electronically prescribe patient medications, electronically view test results, identify patients who are overdue for preventive visits and screenings, and monitor patient health indicators. Many EMRs also have the capability to support an online patient portal that gives patients easier access to their medical information.
By January 2016 all Piedmont Clinic providers will use EMRs and most will have patient portals available. EMRs are important for improving clinician access to patient information because EMRs show a patient’s medical history and information in a single place, and enable accurate and timely information sharing. Instead of sifting through paper during a patient visit, clinicians quickly access the information on a computer or tablet.