Right to Brag
Tell us about something you (or a person close to you) have done recently (or not so recently) that has made you really, unabashedly proud.
I am torn because my faith is in direct conflict with being “unabashedly proud” of anything other than pride of/in my Lord and Savior.
Pride goeth before the fall – an oft quoted Proverb. Jesus also warns us not to take pride in our earthly life or possessions. That is why He warns that the “…rich will have the hardest time getting into heaven…” because their pride essentially is too wide to fit through the “…narrow opening…” that are the gates to heaven.
And yet, pride is one of the first emotions we humans learn as a child from the world and people who surround us as we grow. We learn to be proud of who we are, where we come from, what we have done, and where we are headed. And we are encouraged along the way by everyone who ever says to us …”I am proud of you” or …”you should be proud of yourself.” So we reinforce and teach this very detrimental emotion to each other throughout our lifetime.
Pride can be caught up in many things, including:
1. Our race,
2. Our country,
3. Our skin color,
4. Our government,
5. Our leaders,
6. Our family,
7. Our jobs,
8. Our possessions,
9. Our money,
9. Our children, and certainly not a completely inclusive list here, but also
10. Our friends and social circles.
These are all things that being prideful of can, on the one hand, provide much satisfaction. And on the other hand, it can, and does, provide for “rocks and pitfalls along our path to stumble upon.”
and now to get off the Billy pulpit. ..
And to answer the original prompt that I chose to address with my blog here…I have had some work events that I am “proud” of having been a part of. One in particular, was a 5 year long project, the Intel Healthcare Marketplace Collaborative [TM], that was the first of its kind in Oregon, and only the 2nd such Collaborative in the Pacific Northwest.
I was the project lead/manager, as well as acting Rapid Integrated Lean [TM] practitioner, for my company, Providence Health & Services from January 2009 to this year, April 2014.
The HMC, as we referenced it, was a collaboration between Intel, Virginia Mason Institute, Providence Health & Services, Tuality Healthcare, PEBB – Public Employees Benefits Board, Take Care for Life – administrated by Walgreens, and Cigna – Intel’s third party claims administrator.
What made the collaborative unique was the relationship that developed between the collaborators and the purpose for us to work together.
The purpose was the initial draw. Intel had learned of a collaborative Healthcare Marketplace that Virginia Mason in Seattle, WA had formed with two of their main employeer contracts, Boeing and the State of Washington Employees board. After several visits and tours in Seattle, Intel folks, headquartered here in OR, decided to reach out to all of their health care providers, here in OR, to assess their interest in participating in a collaborative Healthcare Marketplace. Providence, my company, of course said yes; hence my involvement in the past 5 years. We were motivated to keep and maintain a good relationship with one of Oregon’s largest employers.
The potential lives offered by Intel gave them incredible marketing power. Power that, until Intel had met with Dr. Robert Mecklenburg, at VMI, they did not know they had. Nor did they know how to wield their purchasing power to drive their health care consumption costs. Dr. Meck, as he prefers to be called, woke Intel up to the fact that, they as a large employer, with many covered lives – including spouses and their employees’ children – could demand their healthcare providers give them better customer service. Not only in the form of lower costs, but in terms of reduced wait times; faster access to service; better, high-quality, low cost care that returned employees to work in a shorter amount of time.
By engaging in dialogue with folks as part of the Collaborative, we did multiple things that were ground-breaking:
1. We shared data to drive the improvement work; Intel provided their top 10 health care costs to us. We evaluated the data and brought our quality metrics to bear.
2. We opened up communication streams amongst provider/employer networks that heretofore had not existed because of the “traditional” model of care; i.e. we, as healthcare providers know what is best for you Intel, as our customer, therefore, we will tell you our price point, and since we are the experts, you must be willing to pay us for our services. That was an antiquated model of thinking and operating.
3. They, Intel, challenged us, healthcare providers to essentially prove why we couldn’t provide a high level of service at a reduced cost, to them as the consumer, by eliminating the waste that is inherently involved in traditional healthcare practices.
4. They also wanted to know why we couldn’t provide same day access to needed services and a rapid return to function rate that kept employees from missing too many days of work.
5. And they wanted to see their employees, our patients, return to a 80% functional status in a reduced period of time , i.e. 5 visits or less.
The results of our collaboration:
1. 95% same day access to care
2. 99% patient satisfaction
3. 87% return to 80% functional status in 5 visits or less
4. 95% missed less than 4 days of work
5. 23.5% cost savings for patients in this value stream vs. those in a traditional healthcare value stream.
What did we do differently?
1. We eliminated the unnecessary step of seeing your PCP first to get a referral to go direct to rehab – for uncomplicated, non-chronic low back/shoulder/knee/hip pain. Instead, patients called rehab directly and 95% of the time were able to be seen by a rehab therapist within 24 hours of the initial phone call.
2. Studies have shown that quick, therapeutic exercise treatment of an uncomplicated strain can lead to a more rapid return to function rate and reduce recidivism.
3. We cut costs by eliminating the PCP visit cost, and we avoided expensive diagnostic imaging studies that are frequently ordered, but rarely offer any significant value to healthcare providers treating the patients. Instead, they delay care and cost precious dollars.
4. We found that the quicker access to care meant patients are receiving treatment sooner and are therefore able to return to their prior functional state within 5 visits or less.
5. Finally, because treatment in some cases ensues the day of or day after an injury, patients are not missing as many days off work if they had to wait 2-3 weeks to be seen by their PCP and an additional couple of days to start rehab.
This collaborative work is something I have found pride in working on for the past 5 years. Our work was published in a book entitled “Pursuing the Triple Aim: Seven Innovators Show the Way to Better Care, Better Health, and Lower Costs“. More info on the book, our project is covered in chapter 2, can be found here.
So dare I say that I have had pride in working on a project that has made some strides in changing the landscape of healthcare services provided, yes, I dare say it!
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