Quality Matters Newsletter

Best Practices: The Road to Success (Winter 2012)


In the fall edition of Quality Matters, we introduced the concept of “Best Practices”. Our goal for Best Practices is to identify those Health4 practices that consistently perform at the top levels of our Pay for Quality program and identify some of the things they are doing that enables their outstanding performance.  Once we have obtained this information we plan to make it available to ALL Health4 practices. By helping you succeed, we raise the performance of our entire Health4 network, help you earn more P4Q rewards and provide better care to our patients in Health4.

We launched the Best Practices onsite visits in October and have visited a number of practices that are at the top of their peer group in quality performance. Although these represent a small fraction of the over 500 Health4 practices, some common characteristics are already being identified in these “best practices”.

Onsite phlebotomy or a lab in close proximity (adjacent suite) assures timely lab collection as opposed to providing a script for the test that may not be obtained.

  • A family atmosphere that enhances the therapeutic environment. The physicians and staff describe the practice environment as warm and friendly where patients are comfortable and dialogue is open.  Similar in theme, is a practice where the dogma is compliance and education with the patient as an active partner in achieving healthcare outcomes. These practices also use several stories to emphasize recommendations to their patients.
  • Staff longevity is another characteristic of a best practice. Offices tell us the staff’s time at the practice fosters a bond between staff and patient and is key to communication and handoffs.
  • Registered Nurses (RN’s) directing the staff was another theme. Three offices had RN’s on staff. One office had a Nurse Practitioner.
  • A process to identify patients who need follow-up for testing and preventive visits. One practice generates a report from the practice management system and three offices use the MGO Actionable Report to identify patients requiring follow-up for screening or preventive visits.

While we have just started on this unique program, it offers the potential to learn from others in Health4 who have figured out how to succeed in this difficult environment. The key to our success is to identify not only those that are succeeding but also those that are not, and help them perform at the level that ensures their success and our (the network) success in Health4.

Do you have a best practice? I bet you do if you think about it. We would love to have you share your “best practices” with us if you have some.  It can be in any area, ranging from a system to call back patients for scheduled testing to using your actionable reports to identify gaps in testing or services; or even something as simple as a best practice in how to process prescription requests. You may also hear from us as we seek to understand your best practices as well as the barriers and challenges you face practicing medicine today and tomorrow. Anything that you do that improves results, lessens time or decrease resource use is a “best practice”. 

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