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2016 Project Archive

Access & Efficiency Cluster Projects

Access 1

Health IT: Enhancing Quality & Safety through Improved Access

Research completed by Georgia Technical Institute of Technology

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Description
The 2015 Institute of Medicine report on “Transforming Health Care Scheduling and Access — Getting to Now” highlights the challenges in scheduling healthcare services. The data on access and wait times in health care are limited. There is a prominent deficiency in research, evidence-based standards, and metrics for assessing the prevalence and impact of these issues. Extended wait times and delays for care have been shown to negatively affect morbidity, mortality, and the quality of life via a variety of health issues, including cancer, heart disease, hip, knee, and spinal fractures, and cataracts of the eye. The timely delivery of appropriate care has also been shown to reduce the mortality and morbidity associated with a variety of medical conditions, including kidney disease and mental health and addiction issues. This study focuses on scheduling challenges in the primary, operating room, and specialty service settings at multiple clinical sites, including the adult and the pediatric populations.

How this is different than related research?
Most scheduling is done based on availability of physician’s preference time. Patients are then offered the best possible time that may fit his/her doctor’s schedule. This study will identify the needs of patients and develop a predictive model to estimate the individual needs (and thus length of stay for the appointment). This information is then incorporated within a scheduling optimization framework for dynamic optimization. This allows for optimizing the scheduled service as well as unexpected emergency service.

Value Proposition

  • Develop a profile of patient care characteristics verses resource usage
  • Provide clinical-decision support for dynamic clinical scheduling and propose a training guideline for schedulers
  • Improve access, timeliness, and quality of care, while reducing waste

Access 2

Cost and Consequences of Poor Care Access

Research completed by Northeastern University

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Description
This project responds to the recent Institute of Medicine Access to Care report and aims to develop a methodology to better understand, define, and quantify poor access to care and its consequences on cost, flow, and patient health. Delays in access to healthcare and extended wait times have been shown to be associated with multiple consequences, including but not limited to poorer health outcomes, financial burden from seeking non-network care, higher rates of appointment no-shows, unnecessary emergency department visits, frustration, inconvenience, and dissatisfaction with the healthcare system. While preventing delays and reducing wait times are particularly critical for many health services, to improve or optimize access by any method requires understanding what defines bad access and how to quantify its consequences. The purpose of this project is to design and to conduct an analytic study of consequences of delayed care in multiple settings starting with three pilot specialties – dermatology (melanoma), mental health, and neurology.

How this is different than related research?
While it is well established that delays in access to care have multiple causes and consequences, including negative effects on health outcomes, patient satisfaction, healthcare utilization, costs, and organizational reputation, very little scientific evidence exists on what defines bad/poor access and how to quantify its impact on cost, flow, and health consequences. This project aims to take a systematic approach and develop approaches to better understand, define, and quantify access to healthcare and its consequences in various settings, initially focusing on three different specialties. This also includes research to apply and evaluate statistical modeling and quality engineering methods.

Value Proposition

  • Develop a methodology to better define timely access to care and quantify its consequences
  • Construct documentation and analysis of access issues and consequences for each specialty
  • Develop standardized measures and evaluation of alternate approaches

Access 3

Avoidable Admissions: The Role of Non-urgent Emergency Visits

Research completed by Texas A&M University

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Description
Many CHOT industry members are health systems, such as Main Line Health, who have been faced with increased emergency department (ED) utilization in recent years, partially due to the Medicaid expansion efforts in many states. Therefore, these systems are potentially dealing with avoidable admissions via the ED. The research question to be addressed is: What percentage of these admissions through the ED are avoidable admissions and how to redesign the system to assure the most appropriate level of care for patients? Some health systems have developed “ED rerouting” initiatives to urgent care centers as part of addressing this problem, but access to the most appropriate level of care still remains a problem in the U.S.

How this is different than related research?
This study will first inform industry about factors associated with admission decisions and analyze variations based on patient and provider characteristics. Once practice patterns and variations in admission decisions through the ED are explained in Year 1 of this study, CHOT researchers will focus on understanding and re-designing the ED patient flow process to assure the most appropriate level of care for patients in the system. This study is focused on not only a better understanding of what is going on in a costly care setting, but will also provide industry members with strategies for cost savings by the end of Year 2.  

Value Proposition

  • Identify patient conditions that are associated with likelihood of admission and understand variations in practice patterns in the emergency department and by admitting physicians
  • Develop decision process improvement tool to achieve appropriate levels of care
  • Improve triaging before the patient enters the emergency department through a new system design.

Access 4

Exploring Future Models of Care Delivery for Texas

Research completed by Texas A&M University

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Description
The healthcare delivery system is evolving from a reactive delivery model to a more coordinated and proactive model of care. Today, practice guidelines, chronic disease prevention, diagnostic and treatment technologies, and an increasingly engaged population present the healthcare delivery model with a unique opportunity to reinvent itself. Primary care (PC) is a key player in the future models of care and can be the anchor of an effective healthcare delivery model. PC providers are now pursuing strategies to engage patients earlier and more often by using innovative technologies. Further, PC networks stand to benefit from improved integration with specialty care. Finally, PC networks are becoming increasingly proactive with their high acuity patients through the use of remote monitoring technologies and mobile health. In designing these new care models it is important to make informed judgments on what is best suited for well-defined population segments within a state.  The purpose of this study is to identify best practices of Innovative PC Models (IPCM) and to describe a potential future PC model for Texas.

How this is different than related research?
The IPCM is a product of a new environment of care concerned with improved access, effectiveness, timeliness, patient/parent engagement, and efficiency of pediatric care. The IPCM calls for evolving care teams and professional leadership in the re-engineering of work processes. This research is heavily driven by both theory and practice to more clearly define IPCMs and their variants across the US Results of this research will provide a model for IPCM for the state of Texas first and guide CHOT members in IPCM planning and implementation in other states. In addition, there is a  focus on mechanisms to place and retain care-givers in rural communities.

Value Proposition

  • Identify best practices and insights on innovative primary care models (IPCMs)
  • Describe the ideal teams to implement the IPCM for the Texas population
  • Facilitate research-informed strategic planning towards an IPCM for Texas and potentially redesign PC services across health systems and other states

Access 5

Optimizing Care Delivery with Minimal Disruption

Research completed by Georgia Institute of Technology and Northeastern University

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Description
Increased length of stay (LOS) due to inefficient healthcare delivery systems and hospital acquired conditions (HACs) results in negative effects on health outcomes, patient satisfaction, health care utilization (waste), and institutional reputation. The study aims to reduce average LOS, for partnered hospital’s surgery patients, through optimizing the care delivery process by utilizing systems analysis and medical and computer simulation, and process optimization. Researchers  will explore the development and use of minimally disruptive optimization models to limit the amount of change from current practices or processes. The project brings together multidisciplinary researchers with complementary expertise in medical simulation, systems engineering simulation, surgical quality improvement, and organizational performance excellence, creating the opportunity to address safety, quality, patient-centered care, and efficiency from a whole system perspective. 

How this is different than related research?
Studies have looked at different aspects of a care delivery process. However, this is a comprehensive study looking at all aspects that can be optimized in a system view, from improved scheduling to reduce HAC rates. As there are multiple causes at the root of the problem resulting in increased LOS, a comprehensive study must be used to achieve an optimized care delivery process. This work is also the first that links computer simulation with medical simulators. The study design aims not only at optimizing the system alone, but also in training the workforce to adapt effectively and successfully to these changes using medical simulators.

Value Proposition

  • Construct models for an improved care delivery process by using optimization and simulation tools
  • Utilize medical simulators to validate recommendations and establish training and clinical guidelines for their adoption
  • Improve health care utilization, improve quality care and treatment outcome for patients, and improve training and compliance of personnel

Macro/Policy Cluster Projects

Macro 6

Machine Learning: Knowledge Discovery and Best Practices

Research completed by Georgia Institute of Technology

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Description
Advances in machine learning techniques offer reliable means to extract useful information from large-scale, high-dimensional datasets. Electronic medical records (EMRs) have been widely adopted across providers within the healthcare industry, opening opportunities for exploratory analysis based on patient diagnosis and treatment history. The project focuses on practice patterns across hundreds of care sites. Using machine learning techniques, we build classification models to predict patient treatment outcome based on features extracted from the EMR. We then identify critical variables that affect treatment outcome and best practice characteristics. Using this information,  evidence-based treatment plans will be designed and optimize site performance and disseminate results for knowledge and best practice transfer. This increases quality and timeliness of care, maximizes financial performance, and decreases practice variability across the organizations.

How this is different than related research?
Although adoption of EMR is spreading, many providers continue to document clinical findings, procedures and outcomes with “free text” natural language on their EMRs. Clinical terminology have standardized terms and are essential to facilitating interoperability between medical systems by the seamless sharing and exchange of healthcare information. This study establishes interoperability among EMRs from 737 providers (with 2.7 million patients) by developing a system that can accurately map free text to concise structured medical concepts. These standardized terms can be used to improve classification models for outcome prediction, discovery and dissemination of optimized treatment plans.

Value Proposition

  • Develop an optimized classification model for prediction of treatment outcomes and identification of best practice characteristics
  • Design optimized evidence-based treatment plans and dissemination of this knowledge and best practice transfer across multiple sites
  • Improve quality and efficiency of care across patient populations with reduced waste, maximized financial performance, decreased practice variability

Macro 7

System Analysis of Graduate Medical Education Processes

Research completed by Northeastern University

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Description
As medicine becomes more advanced and graduate medical education (GME) more densely packed, there is increasing recognition of the need to re-examine resident training processes, methods, and content. By example, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) recently released its new Clinical Learning Environment Review (CLER) guidelines and a call for proposals for innovative redesign of GME. In support of this, this project will conduct normative work to apply systems engineering to define and analyze current GME systems from a formal systems design perspective. The work will be conducted with one or more CHOT health system partners involved in GME, with a focus on applying formal systems tools to analyze current GME processes, explore alternatives, and identify areas of greatest need and opportunity for further systems work. Pilot results from this work will inform a larger anticipated subsequent body of research and redesign activities.

How this is different than related research?
Few published studies on graduate medical education have used a systems-based perspective, and even fewer have utilized systems engineering analytic methods. This project will involve several systems analysis and design methodologies including but not limited to engineering design, Functional Resonance Analysis Method (FRAM), axiomatic design, and Systems Modeling Language. This work is motivated by the growing industry need to re-examine and innovate new models for achieving GME design specifications, in particular interdisciplinary training in systems methods.

Value Proposition

  • Improve the ability of graduate medical education (GME) to meet its objectives
  • Create an understanding of current GME processes from a systems analysis perspective and provide documentation of systems-based approaches applied to current GME practices
  • Identify potential opportunities to redesign  GME and develop recommendations for its redesign

Macro 8

The Cost of Postoperative Delirium

Research completed by Pennsylvania State University and Texas A&M University

Description
Patients with postoperative delirium recover more slowly, increasing length of stay and associated costs.  Developing treatment protocols for delirium may reduce the risk of incidence (Rudolph & Marcantonio, 2011). Evaluating the costs associated with postoperative delirium is necessary as it is a common surgical complication since five to 50 percent of older adults experience this condition (TAGSE Panel, 2015).  There is only one known study examining  longitudinal costs associated with postoperative delirium using 1995-1998 data (Leslie et al., 2008). There are numerous diagnostic tools used to assess postoperative delirium in intensive care units, including the confusion assessment method modified for the intensive care unit (CAM-ICU), the intensive care delirium screening checklist (ICDSU), the cognitive test for delirium (CTD), nursing delirium screening scale (Nu-DESC), and the delirium rating scale (DRS). This will be a two-year project.

How this is different than related research?
The current literature has well-documented the incidence of postoperative delirium. It is established that clinical evaluations without objective criteria underestimate incidence and subjective estimates may lead to over estimation of incidence, highlighting the importance of a systemic approach to diagnosis of postoperative delirium (Bilotta et al., 2013). This study would assess patients for postoperative delirium, collecting data on an identified cohort of individuals for a year following discharge. This study will provide more current information, which will help to update estimates of cost associated with postoperative delirium and other issues that are experienced post discharge.

Value Proposition

  • Provide a better understanding of issues and a longitudinal perspective on costs associated with postoperative delirium
  • Estimate the current cost of postoperative delirium and produce recommendations based on findings
  • Construct a report on issues patients encounter after experiencing postoperative delirium

Macro 9

Value Based Care: Challenges of a Changing Care Paradigm

Research completed by CHOT (collaborative effort across university sites)

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Description
Pay-for-value (P4V) or value-based care models are the latest attempts from commercial and government healthcare insurers to shift the care paradigm from episodic towards comprehensive care. Unlike fee-for-service models, P4V models reward quality care, penalize readmissions, and encourage comprehensive healthcare coverage that aligns quality measures with reimbursement. Under P4V, patients would spend less time in the hospital and receive more routine care from primary care practices.  Although P4V programs,  such as Pay-for-Performance (P4P), Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs), and Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), have shown success, full implementation will require a fundamental shift in how healthcare is delivered and how healthcare workers are organized, trained, and compensated.  Applying stakeholder analysis, CHOT will evaluate the challenges of implementing P4V from the perspective of hospitals, physicians, insurers, medical colleges, and patients.  Findings will reflect the concerns of stakeholders, facilitators and barriers to implementation, and help inform future health policy decisions.

How this is different than related research?
P4V is not widely implemented nor tested. There is little research on the pros and cons of implementing it, and there are numerous new variants of P4V models each year. The comprehensive care for joint replacement (CJR) P4V bundle is the latest from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); however, its success hinges on a hospitals ability to reduce costs and prevent readmission. This multi-university research team will document the concerns of stakeholders from across the healthcare industry including most CHOT industry members. The researchers will also learn from the Mass BCBS “alternate quality contract” experience. All four current CHOT university sites are contributing to this project.

Value Proposition

  • Develop a consolidated list of stakeholder concerns
  • Predict and understand future healthcare direction and share challenges and successes of pay-for-value model implementation
  • Compose a white paper with health policy recommendations

Patient-Centered Care Coordination Cluster Projects

Care Coordination
10

Multi-Criteria Evidence-Based Healthcare Delivery

Research completed by Georgia Institute of Technology

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Description
Evidence-based optimization of healthcare delivery is a concept centered around treatment design for patients. For many diseases, the optimal treatment varies significantly based on the patient’s specific clinical situation. In addition, it is especially important to consider not just what treatment is optimal, but how and when it is delivered. In certain cases, it may be preferable not to treat the condition at all and adopt an active surveillance regimen. The decision process is further complicated by the fact that there are multiple stakeholders, each with their own objectives (e.g. patients vs. providers). Using machine learning techniques, electronic medical record (EMR) data, and systems process observations, a patient disease/clinical workflow and outcome prediction model will be developed. This will help clinicians evaluate the potential efficacy of various treatment options and decide on the best treatment course for each individual patient.

How this is different than related research?
To date, the majority of machine learning research has focused on diagnosis and prognosis rather than treatment. Evidence in our study will be drawn from the wide range of EMR data. This data contains not just common clinical factors associated with the diseases but also factors such as procedures performed, timing of treatment, and comorbid conditions. Observing patient-provider interactions offers an additional perspective on the decision process and the patient experience. By combining these two approaches, treatment modalities can be assessed through a comprehensive comparison of both the patients’ medical conditions and their experiences with their healthcare providers.   

Value Proposition

  • Develop a decision support tool comparing treatment options and predicting outcome
  • Construct a process map describing process/clinic/decision flow for prostate cancer and CKD patients
  • Identify previously unobserved factors affecting optimal treatment

Care Coordination
11

Precision Medicine: Personalized Drug-Effect Treatment

Research completed by Georgia Institute of Technology

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Description
The term “personalized medicine” is often described as providing “the right patient with the right drug at the right dose at the right time.” More broadly, personalized medicine (also known as precision medicine) may be thought of as the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics, needs, and preferences of a patient during all stages of care, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. This project focuses on evidence-based approach where treatment design and management is personalized. Particularly for the treatment of chronic diseases where multiple conditions exist and multiple drugs are used, drug-drug interactions and side effects will be modeled to reduce unnecessary drugs and minimize negative effect. The objective of this study covers both the clinical visits and a patient-home-centric approach to optimize the outcome and sustained health of individual patients.

How this is different than related research?
This project focuses on personalized treatment design and will accommodate potential co-existing multiple conditions, rather than a single disease. Evidence will be uncovered from real-patient data to establish the relationship between drug prescription and patient response. A treatment design model based on math programming will reduce the negative effect of individual provider’s subjectivity on decision making process in prescribing treatments and drug therapy. The project will bring together multi-team of providers to identify guidelines of multiple disease treatment. It provides an analytic tool that assists doctors to perform patient-centered complex treatment management.

Value Proposition

  • Formulate a predictive drug effect model characterizing personalized drug response
  • Maximize the success of treatment outcome while avoiding overdosing and minimizing drug-drug interactions through treatment plan personalized and designed for individual patient for his/her conditions
  • Establish outcome evaluation and cost effectiveness of resulting optimized individualized treatment plans (as compare to current clinical plans)

Care Coordination
12

Demand Management for Community Paramedicine

Research completed by Pennsylvania State University

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Description
Chronic diseases (such as chronic heart failure (CHF)) impose a tremendous burden on healthcare delivery costs. This is attenuated in medically underserved areas (MUAs) where healthcare resources are more limited because patients in MUAs are more likely to be older and in poorer overall health than their suburban and urban counterparts. Moreover, care gaps such as lack of post-acute transitional care and limited access to clinics make preventable readmissions a virtual inevitability that is both expensive and disappointing to patients, caregivers, and the healthcare system. Community Paramedicine (CP) is an emerging intervention that can provide patient-centered care in the out-of-hospital environment for discharged patients. It uses paramedics to provide post-discharge follow-up and collect feedback for care providers in order to enhance self-management and reduce readmission risk. We will investigate demand and patient transition when the intervention of CP is applied to CHF patients. Within this, we will assess the CP intervention for IAB healthcare organizations in MUAs.

How this is different than related research?
CP is an important healthcare delivery method as it has the potential to reduce readmissions and ED visits. However, there has been limited research on the impact of CP on demand management. The proposed research aims to provide evidence on the impact of CP on leveraging demand to match limited healthcare capacity.

Value Proposition

  • Measure, evaluate, and compare Community Paramedicine outcomes (e.g. quality of life, self-management, adherence, and readmission)
  • Build a decision support tool that estimates readmission risk for all discharges and a customized Community Paramedicine model to support care management for various patient groups
  • Reduce readmission risks and penalties from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Care Coordination
13

A Person-Centered Approach for Individuals with MCCs

Research completed by Pennsylvania State University

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Description
Currently 26% of U.S. adults have multiple chronic conditions (MCCs). In those who are 65 and older, the prevalence increases to 68%. MCCs are managed by a combination of self-care practices and community based services. The majority of health systems across the U.S. are facing financial strains due to ever-increasing costs related to MCCs. Since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are now penalizing hospitals for readmissions there is a need to better understand the impact of personal preferences and what contextual factors shape preferences. Preference congruence has the potential to move beyond a quality indicator. Lack of preference congruence may also serve as an easily assessed indicator of patients at risk for non-adherence resulting in readmissions. Assigning interventions to the right person at the right time in the right context is essential to improve resource allocation, decision-making, and care coordination.

How this is different than related research?
Person centered care models suggest that aligning care with personal preferences may result in improved decision making, care coordination, and greater motivation to adhere (a key part of self-care) to care goals.   However, we have not yet identified the relevant contextual factors that leverage personal preferences in community based individuals with MCCs. Our research will explore the interface of individuals and organizational context in shaping preferences to understand the impact of person, provider, and environmental level factors on shaping preferences and preference congruence.

Value Proposition

  • Improve resource allocation, decision-making, and care coordination and provide actionable cost-effective solutions
  • Construct a multilevel logic model of contextual factors and interface with preferences
  • Design a community informed testable model of the human-context-preference interface

Care Coordination
14

Diabetes Education: The Role of CHWs and Variations in Outcomes

Research completed by Texas A&M University

Description
In 2012, the estimated total cost for diabetes treatment (including both direct and indirect costs) was $245 billion in the U.S. Further, the cost of diabetes related treatment has increased rapidly from $98 billion in 1997 to $174 billion in 2007 (American Diabetes Association, 1998, 2013). Considering the number of people diagnosed with diabetes is projected to reach 29 million in 2050, the total healthcare related costs for diabetes are expected to increase even further. Without proper treatment, lifestyle changes, and monitoring, diabetes complications can be severely disabling and even life-threatening. Research in the area of diabetes management and education (DME) interventions shows that some DME programs can improve patients’ self-management. This study will analyze the role of community health workers (CHWs) and types of technologies used by the CHWs in explaining variations in outcomes across DME sites in Texas. DME program participants’ data collected at the Texas A&M Health Science Center’s Coastal Bend Health Education Center (CBHEC) will be used for this study.

How this is different than related research?
This project has potential for substantial cost savings when it comes to preventable hospital admissions and other costs of care for the U.S. healthcare system. The impact of various types of education programs and technologies used by CHWs has not been very well studied in the DME literature. Results from this study will help with the design of appropriate DME programs that engage CHWs for education and outreach.

Value Proposition

  • Improve understanding of variations in outcomes of diabetes management and education programs and of the potential for cost of care savings related to diabetes population management
  • Create a clear direction on design of most effective diabetes management and education programs and the role of community health workers
  • Recommend how much and what type of technologies to equip community health workers with

Care Coordination
15

Sensing Systems for Personalized Telehealth Wellness Management

Research completed by Pennsylvania State University

Description
Personalized healthcare delivery systems are emerging with the goal of managing and improving wellness. In accordance, devices, technology, and applications for smart home-care have proliferated. The availability of telehealth systems means that solutions are scalable and can be disseminated across a wide range of patients in a timely and efficient manner. However, the use of this technology is not ubiquitous nor consistent. Additionally, cybersecurity and healthcare data protection pose challenges to balance usability and access with security. Research in telehealth will therefore explore the sensor based systems suitable for testing research hypotheses, the mathematical models needed for making sense of the data generated by these sensors, and the visualization techniques suitable for communicating knowledge both to healthcare decision makers and to patients. Researchers will explore ways in which personalized telehealth wellness management can reduce the need and time for hospitalization and rehabilitation.

How this is different than related research?
Current telehealth systems are designed with minimal input from patients or healthcare providers. As a result, when these systems are launched into the market, they often fail to address several important attributes expressed by the end user. Furthermore, existing approaches do not provide an end-to-end solution that directly connects patients to their physicians. Advancements in network infrastructure is opening the possibilities for real time acquisition and storage of patient’s data that can potentially be integrated into a physician’s workflow.

Value Proposition

  • Expand the use of telehealth in inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department patient care
  • Develop sensor based solutions that are feasible for telehealth operations
  • Create a model that predicts patients’ adoption of a given telehealth system and propose a telehealth system that is adopted by both patients and physicians
  • Potentially reduce unplanned readmissions, as part of value based purchasing

Care Coordination
16

Future Models of Cancer Care: Implications for Space and Design

Research completed by Texas A&M University

Description
CHOT researchers will work with HKS’s research arm, CADRE, to translate emerging models of cancer care to space and design. In the traditional model of cancer care, the patient and patient’s family navigate across disconnected clinical teams (clinical microsystems) to not only access information about diagnosis, treatment options, and next steps, but also ensure that critical information exchanges are taking place between the clinical microsystems. Cancer patients move through these often highly effective clinical microsystems horizontally. In the case of cancer care, research shows that effective patient-centered care requires clinical teams (clinical microsystems) and macro systems (health systems) that allow for information sharing, transparency, and empowered care team members. Further, the evolution toward personalized/precision medicine in cancer treatment methods has transformed the way we care for patients. Future models of cancer care will be enabled by new emerging clinical and social technologies. Personalized medicine and team-based care will have implications for the design of facilities for cancer care.

How this is different than related research?
Translation of new emerging cancer care models to space and design requirements has not been yet accomplished. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has made major investments in personalized medicine based on genetics. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has recently made an effort to improved knowledge about effective team-based care for cancer patients. Both of these fields have contributed greatly to transforming the clinical care path and organization of care teams for cancer patients. This study will examine recent developments in these areas of research and translate them into space requirements, characteristics, and research-informed design options for the future cancer center.

Value Proposition

  • Explain new knowledge about space and design requirements of emerging models of care
  • Inform hospitals and industry members about effective use of space
  • Contribute to the field of evidence-based design for cancer centers

Quality & Safety Cluster Projects

Quality 17

 

Customer Service at Central Texas VA Austin Outpatient Clinic

Research completed by Texas A&M University

Description
The Austin Outpatient Clinic provides a full spectrum of multi-specialty care to about 30,810 unique veterans annually. The clinic’s outpatient workload is 271,872 visits a year and requires a multi-disciplinary team of care providers. The clinic’s mission and vision focus on “honoring veterans with quality healthcare services.” Currently, the clinic has identified customer service as one of the key issues to be addressed by clinic management and staff. In order to develop and implement a customer service improvement plan for the clinic, the clinic leadership will turn to the clinic physicians, nurses, and staff for insights, ideas, and opportunities for improvement. This process of quality improvement, focused on customer service performance metrics, will be facilitated by a third party academic research partner in order to assure confidentiality, reduce bias, and enhance transparency and engagement from clinic staff and leadership.

How this is different than related research?
By applying Lave and Wenger’s Communities of Practice model to the physicians and healthcare professionals working within Austin Outpatient Clinic, CHOT researchers will be able to develop a thorough understanding of each group’s perspective of customer service expectations, gaps, and goals in order to create the unified vision and purpose for clinic’s customer service improvement program.     

Value Proposition

  • Develop a unified vision and purpose for the clinic
  • Propose customer service improvement strategies
  • Determine organizational and cultural barriers

Quality 18

New Methods for Reducing Adverse Events and Harmful Overuse

Research completed by Northeastern University and University of Alabama-Birmingham

Description
The objective of this project is to research and integrate existing and new methods for analyzing and reducing adverse events (AEs), patient exposure to harm, and associated costs. AEs and harmful overuse are a widespread problem across healthcare, with huge cost and health implications, with a significant opportunity for improvement through the use of recently emerging new approaches to patient safety. Our research team will use hybrid methods to assess practice variation analysis, develop prediction models based in regression and machine learning, and apply complexity systems failure analysis methods from the emerging “Safety-2” field, building on a past CHOT project (16-0515151.NEU: “Improvements to Root Cause Analysis of Patient Safety Events”). The application areas will be determined by our IAB members, two being patient falls and overtesting of emergency department and preoperative patients.

How this is different than related research?
Our project is unique in four respects: (1) seeking to compare and combine traditional methods commonly used in analysis and prevention of adverse events and harmful overuse with more modern methods, such as Bayesian Belief networks, etc., (2) considering combined prediction of adverse/overuse events at both individual-level and unit-level, (3) investigating the use of retrospective causality and prospective context assessment methods from the emerging “Safety-2” field, and (4) integrating these methods into a unified approach that can be used to better understand, predict, and prevent adverse events and harmful overuse.

Value Proposition

  • Integrate results of variation analysis, Safety-2 methods, and predictive modeling to reduce number of adverse and/or overuse events
  • Measure impact on costs, number of harmful or unnecessary events prevented, and exposure to harm

Enabling HIT & Care Cluster Projects

Tech 19

Integration of Genomic Data for Precision Health Decision Support

Research completed by Pennsylvania State University

Description
The combination of electronic health record (EHR) data, known information about genetic findings, and core genomic data is key to the evolution of precision medicine. The EHR presentation of combined data can be used to support provider decision making. Genomic data is one source of information that is being generated rapidly as the barriers to genome sequencing are reduced. Data obtained from mapping a patient’s genome can be used to diagnose a specific genetic disease, determine the patient’s risk of developing a disease in the future, or predict the effectiveness of a medication or treatment for the patient. This information, along with other clinical information, will allow healthcare providers to effectively administer treatment to patients on an individual basis in order to improve healthcare outcomes. The objective of this research is to determine methods of identifying relevant genomic data and integrating that data into the clinical workflow with the EMR. Patient attitudes, expectations, and outcomes regarding genetic testing and use of genomic data will also be evaluated.

How this is different than related research?
While there has been much research in genomics in recent years, there has been little investigation into methods that will translate the data that is generated into clinical action using electronic medical records. By considering a patient’s genomic data along with other information included in the EHR, healthcare providers will be able to effectively make decisions regarding patient treatment. There is also a significant opportunity to gauge patient attitudes and expectations regarding the use of their genetic data for provider decision making.

Value Proposition

  • Build a logic model for tests, data, and decision interactions and implications
  • Develop a workflow analysis and electronic health record modules that incorporate genomic results into practice
  • Recommend guidelines for clinicians to help patients make decisions regarding genomic data

Tech 20

Evaluation of Remote Patient Monitoring Technology in Various Settings

Research completed by Texas A&M University

Description
Numerous CHOT IAB members and health providers in the U.S. and internationally are engaged in various post-operative and chronic disease care coordination initiatives that use some type of remote patient monitoring technology. These technologies vary in terms of cost, patient adherence and utility, and effectiveness in terms of implementation success, desired health outcomes, and impact on capacity. The multi-institutional research team will explore the benefits of patient monitoring in various settings, including complex pediatric patients and patients with chronic diseases in both the U.S. and Africa. The research team will focus on identifying the cost of benefits of leading remote patient monitoring practices by measuring implementation success, potential cost savings, population health outcomes, and improvements in access to care and health organization capacity (bed capacity) dependent on data availability from participating CHOT industry members, such as Texas Children’s Hospital and UBRICA.

How this is different than related research?
This evaluation of remote patient monitoring technologies is aimed at improving care coordination and reducing visits to costly healthcare facilities (hospitals). The study takes a comprehensive approach in terms of patient populations studied by disease category, complexity, and patient segment. Results from this research can inform both hospitals and clinics as well as health technology developers in how to best achieve desired health outcomes and cost savings by designing the most appropriate remote patient monitoring innovation by patient segment. The research team will also focus on implementation effectiveness and process in Kenya.

Value Proposition

  • Explain the financial case for remote patient monitoring in U.S. and Africa and estimate the long-term cost savings of monitoring initiatives for complex and chronic patients
  • Design research informed strategy for remote patient monitoring initiatives
  • Develop most effective technology with highest impact on targeted results

Tech 21

Virtual Care Clinics: What Can We Learn from Early Adopters?

Research completed by Texas A&M University

Description
Virtual care clinics (VCC), one form of telemedicine, provide patient-initiated primary and urgent care services using real-time, interactive technologies (e.g. video, phone). The potential value proposition for health systems to offer VCC services include emergency department diversion, expansion and extended reach of convenient services to satisfy today’s health consumers and as a means of patient acquisition. As VCCs are in the early adoption stage, there is opportunity and need to learn from early adopter organizations if this promising technology is to cross the boundary between the early adopters and early majority stages. The inability to bridge the chasm between these two stages is known to impact the success of high-tech, disruptive innovations. In response to current gaps in knowledge related to VCC adoption, the proposed study aims to: (1) Examine implementation, operations, and patient engagement practices and processes from the perspective of early VCC adopter organizations; and (2) Use findings from Aim 1 and evidence-based literature to provide insights to key VCC challenges and best practices.

How this is different than related research?
There is a dearth of practical knowledge and empirical data regarding early adopters of VCCs.  Furthermore, minimal information is currently available from the telemedicine literature to guide health organizations as they launch VCC service lines.  Although some findings from this limited body of telemedicine literature may hold in the VCC context, nuances likely exist, given such factors as a) the general structure of VCC as an outsourced service, b) VCC services are initiated by a patient or caretaker making contact for services (as opposed to a referral by physician), and c) the competing options for care in a non-critical situation. This proposal aims to address these gaps in knowledge.

Value Proposition

  • Provide relevant and timely insights to future and current adopters of virtual care clinics
  • Inform wider adoption practices and processes of innovative telemedicine delivery models
  • Extend reach of care at reduced cost to support population health management priorities