Position Yourself for Success!

As 2014 is coming to a close, I’ve been busy trying to wrap things up at home and at the office and I just had the opportunity to read a great book called The Energy Bus (thanks John for the recommendation!). The book talks about how you choose to be a positive thinker and “how every crisis offers an opportunity to grow stronger and wiser and to reach deep within to discover a better you that will create better outcomes.” We now live in a time that healthcare is changing rapidly and how will you position yourself for success?

In the area of health information technology (HIT), CRHC assisted 33 rural and critical access hospitals (CAHs) in the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records and a total of 261 providers at 67 rural clinics. Through the Regional Extension Center (REC) program on-the-ground technical assistance was provided with EHR adoption, demonstration of meaningful use, and HIT needs. In Colorado, CORHIO was selected as the REC grantee tasked with providing the management and oversight for the program. CORHIO partnered with seven organizations including CRHC based on expertise guiding workflow analysis with CAHs, rural hospitals and rural clinics. CRHC would like to recognize the efforts of the 261 rural healthcare providers and the 33 rural and CAHs that participated in the program. The REC program proved to be an invaluable opportunity for rural providers in their HIT adoption and it also focused on the larger movement toward technology for care delivery transformation and improvement. As we head into 2015, CRHC is continuing to offer ongoing meaningful use services and would like to announce the transitions of Data Services for Healthcare Foundation (DASH) into the Colorado Rural Health Center in the first quarter of 2015. The transition will better align the HIT services offered by DASH and the many valuable programs provided by CRHC. Please watch for more information regarding the merger.

CAHs and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) have been actively engaged in our Improving Communications and Readmissions (iCARE) program and this year marked the fifth year of a focused quality improvement effort build for rural communities. Currently 18 of the 29 CAHs and 18 of 51 RHCs are participating.

In 2014:

  • iCARE participants reported an average of 63 percent of patients with a blood pressure of less than 140/90, which is significantly better than the national benchmark goal of 48 percent.
  • The median of iCARE participants providing pneumonia vaccinations to patients ages 65 and older was 91 percent. The median point for vaccinations in rural counties is 68.9 percent, demonstrating a higher performance level in iCARE facilities.
  • iCARE participants saw a decrease from 37.4 percent to 21.9 percent of patients with A1C greater than nine percent, between 2012 and 2014.

Additionally, almost every rural hospital was recognized by iVantage Health Analytics through their data-driven program designed to identify excellence across a broad spectrum of indicators relevant to hospital performance and patient care (Excellence in Quality (n= 6), Excellence in Outcomes (n= 9), Excellence in Patient Satisfaction (n = 15), Excellence in Financial Strength (n= 12)). Rural facilities, as you can see, are providing high quality care as well as improving access rural Colorado.

Providing access to high quality care in rural communities is the primary purpose of CAHs and RHCs. As we move forward with the goals of achieving the Triple Aim – quality, access, and lower cost – we must remember to create many different models of care that address the needs of each community. This is a delicate balance, but one that together we can face and position ourselves for success.

As the CEO of the Colorado Rural Health Center, it is my privilege to provide leadership and to serve all of our rural communities in Colorado. I wish you all a wonderful holiday and look forward to our successes in 2015!

Much is happening in healthcare. Check out my monthly CEO update for the latest in rural healthcare.

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