The Triple Aim is a widely accepted approach to optimizing healthcare system performance developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). It focuses on three dimensions of performance: enhancing patient experience, improving population health, and reducing costs. Healthcare organizations soon realized a fourth aim of healthcare that serves as a prerequisite for the success of the other three aims: reducing clinician burnout. The Triple Aim became the Quadruple Aim, taking the health of staff into consideration as well.
To optimize performance at their own facilities, healthcare organizations need to measure healthcare insights related to the Quadruple Aim to gain perspective into any areas that need improvements.
Why should healthcare organizations measure outcomes?
Measuring, reporting, and comparing outcomes in the four areas of the Quadruple Aim reveal healthcare insights into interventions that could enhance care. By tracking performance and gathering data, healthcare facilities can compare the effectiveness of different treatments and procedures. This not only improves patient care but streamlines employee workflow, and reduces overall costs as well.
How to measure patient experience
The easiest way to gather healthcare insights about the patient experience is by conducting surveys. Developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) patient experience surveys are the healthcare industry standard in helping healthcare organizations measure happiness and satisfaction at their facilities.
Use CAHPS surveys
CAHPS is a program that enables healthcare organizations to assess patient experience and then use those results to help improve the quality of care. CAHPS surveys are available for both ambulatory and institutional settings and cover a variety of topics, such as:
- Communication with healthcare professionals
- Access to care and information
- Customer service
- Coordination of care
CAHPS surveys can also gather information on patients’ experiences with particular health conditions. This information can influence the standard of care for specific conditions and treatment protocols across the country.
Once the CAHPS Consortium releases a CAHPS survey into the public domain, it is available for any healthcare organization to utilize for personal use, free of charge. Some major healthcare organizations that use CAHPS surveys include:
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
- The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)
- Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
- Department of Defense (DOD)
Data from CAHPS surveys is compiled in the CAHPS Database, which is available to anyone seeking comparative patient experience results. This data can be used to facilitate quality improvement or provide a primary source of information for clinical research as it relates to patient care.
Automate surveys to regularly measure patient experience
When quality care is the first priority, gathering survey results can become an afterthought. Digital health tools can offer automation services that help send out surveys on a regular basis without overburdening staff. This takes the administrative stress off of your employees so they can focus on what truly matters—improving patient care.
How to measure population health
Health is less about the absence of disease and more about the patient’s and population’s well-being. When measuring population health, there are a number of possible positive and negative health outcomes.
Positive health outcomes:
- Being alive
- Functioning well mentally, physically, and socially
- Having a sense of well-being
Negative health outcomes:
- Loss of function
- Lack of well-being
Beyond these health outcomes, disease and injuries are two intermediate factors that influence an individual’s—or population’s—chances of achieving a certain state of health.
Use clinically validated assessments
The best way to measure your population’s health may vary based on the purpose of your study and need to be adjusted for different populations along the health spectrum. Monitoring the population’s health status requires a combination of both quantity and quality of life metrics, such as quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).
Automate assessments with technology
Use your care management platform to automate regular assessments of your population’s health. Many innovative digital health tools allow clinicians to automate surveys, questionnaires, and other patient-generated data collection methods. This helps medical providers by taking one administrative task off of their plates and simplifying the data collection process. With automated population health data, healthcare organizations can better understand their patients and better serve their community.
Measuring the total cost of care for your medical practice
When following a value-based care model, total cost of care (TCOC) analyses are crucial for healthcare organizations to be successful. TCOC analysis is used to identify areas of opportunity in a contract between an insurer and a healthcare organization so it can implement changes to provide higher quality care and reduce costs.
Some of the common metrics used in TCOC analyses include:
- ED volumes and rates
- Hospital outpatient care, such as obstetrics, dialysis, and chemotherapy
- Outpatient surgery volumes and rates
- Professional and physician services
- Imaging (especially high tech imaging, including CTs and MRIs)
- Durable medical equipment
- Skilled nursing facility, long-term acute care, and inpatient rehabilitation
- Quality measures
- Care management, chronic condition management, and high-risk patient management
- Patient/member satisfaction
- Network leakage
How to measure clinician burnout
There are a few different methods that healthcare organizations can use to garner healthcare insights about clinician burnout. The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) is the most commonly used tool in scientific literature, but the Stanford Physician Wellness Survey and the Stanford House Staff Wellness Survey are also viable options.
No matter which physician burnout survey you choose, the importance of monitoring your employees’ health stands true. As the fourth and final aim of healthcare, the health and well-being of your staff largely impact the remaining aims.
Help reduce the burden on clinicians by using technology to automate and streamline patient relationship management
After you determine the severity of clinician burnout at your healthcare organization, you can begin to explore solutions to help reduce the burden on your staff. Determine areas where you can automate patient relationship management tasks and seek out programs that centralize all the tools you need in just one convenient location.
When you take care of your employees, they can, in turn, do a better job of caring for patients. This will positively impact your employee retention, patient experience ratings, and ROI.
How do I use these healthcare insights to scale my medical practice?
Once you start actively measuring the four dimensions of performance, you will have a wealth of healthcare insights available to you. But what, exactly, should you do with all of this newfound knowledge?
Use data to prove your program really works
Healthcare insights provide hard proof that your healthcare program is successful. While anecdotes and other forms of qualitative data can be highly useful in describing the work that your healthcare organization does, quantitative data provides the numbers that show undeniable growth and achievement.
Use data to find ways to improve care or how your care teams collaborate
While healthcare insights are extremely valuable in showcasing the areas where your program is indeed effective, they are even more valuable in showing where it could use some improvement. Analyzing data from the four dimensions of performance can help you pinpoint exactly what you need to do to improve patient care or streamline workflows. With the right healthcare insights, you can determine where you should focus your attention in order to have healthier patients, happier employees, and an increased ROI.
To learn more about how to scale your practice and improve your health systems, discover how a nonprofit managed care organization in the Bay Area was able to scale their case management program—which focuses on the medical, social, and behavioral health needs of the most complex members in at-risk and underserved populations.