FEBRUARY 5, 2018
The Power of Collaboration
A study published in the February 2018 issue of
Health Affairs links Better Health Partnership, a collaboration of primary care providers and other stakeholders, to nearly $40 million in savings over six years by delivering better care to primary care patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart failure, avoiding costly hospitalizations. The report estimates that 5,764 more hospitalizations for so-called ambulatory-care sensitive conditions would have occurred from 2009 through 2014 had trends in Cuyahoga County been similar to other large Ohio counties.

The study credits the role of Better Health as an "integrator" that pursues the Triple Aim of improved quality of care, improved health of populations and lower per capita costs of care with a suite of integrated activities and programs.

"This study highlights how regional collaboration among
health care competitors can improve population health
and benefit health care purchasers and payers."
— Donald M. Berwick, MC, MPP
Founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and
former administrator of the Federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University-MetroHealth System Center for Health Care and Research Policy conducted the study, which was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of National Institutes of Health.

The Health Affairs study centers on the impact of the collaborative's data-driven, "positive deviance" approach and complementary suite of programs to reduce rates of preventable hospitalizations and associated costs among patients with chronic cardiovascular diseases. Clinical partners' data from electronic health records are used to identify and disseminate best practices, while twice yearly public reports, practice consultation, and more intensive problem-specific coaching inform and support improvements.

The study's findings are based on rates of hospitalizations that could've been avoided with quality primary care for patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure and pneumonia vaccinations. Lead author Joseph ("JT") Tanenbaum and his colleagues at the Center for Health Care Research and Policy compare differences in hospitalization rates for these conditions in Cuyahoga County to five other large Ohio counties, both before (2003 - 2008) and after (2009 - 2014) Better Health's programs and activities were established.