Roles of Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives:
Improving Healthcare System Performance
Although measurement and reporting and changes in payment systems and organizational structures are necessary to support higher-value healthcare delivery, improvements in quality, efficiency, and patient satisfaction are actually achieved through the actions of front-line healthcare workers. Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives operate programs designed to improve the way that physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, and other healthcare professionals deliver care, ranging from identifying and disseminating best practices in care delivery, to providing affordable training, coaching, and technical assistance to practitioners on ways to analyze problems in care delivery and ways to design and successfully implement solutions, to helping healthcare providers reorganize and modernize their operations to support better quality, more affordable care.
For example, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI) pioneered the adaptation of "lean" manufacturing tools from the Toyota Production System so that they could be successfully used to improve quality and reduce costs in healthcare. PRHI's Perfecting Patient CareSM(PPC) system has been used by hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, and other providers all over the country to achieve dramatic reductions in hospital-acquired infections, preventable hospital readmissions, pre-term deliveries of babies, and many other areas that benefit patients and reduce healthcare costs. PRHI's Tomorrow's HealthcareSM program brings Perfecting Patient Care tools to a web-based platform.
The Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement has developed and maintains an extensive array of guidelines for healthcare servicesbased on the best evidence available, and then it works to help healthcare providers implement the guidelines and make other improvements in their own organizations.
Many Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives have programs designed to help providers, either individually or in groups, to better organize and deliver healthcare in order to improve quality and efficiency. For example, several Collaboratives, including HealthInsight in Nevada and Utah, the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiaive, and Quality Counts in Maine, are helping physician practices become patient-centered medical homes, implement electronic health records, and more effectively coordinate care with other providers.