March 13, 2014 --
The Naval Branch Health Clinic, Albany’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set team, spearheaded the largest turnaround in enterprise history and probably in Navy medicine, according to a NBHC Albany official.
The clinic’s HEDIS champion and senior nurse, Lt. Cmdr. Donald E. Mitchell, said, HEDIS is a tool used by more than 90 percent of America’s health plans to measure performance on important dimensions of care and service.
“This information is used to compare how well a health plan performs in the areas of quality of care, access to care and member satisfaction with the health plan and doctors,” Mitchell said. “HEDIS ensures health plans are offering quality preventive care and service to members. It also allows for a true comparison of the performance of health plans by consumers and employers.”
According to Mitchell, the HEDIS is a non-Department of Defense concept adopted by military medicine.
When the NBHC Albany’s staff set out on the mission to meet its targeted HEDIS performance measures, the actual outcome exceeded its expected outcome.
“In February 2013, Naval Branch Health Clinic, Albany’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set score was 12, with a targeted (score) of 48,” Mitchell said.
Over the next several months, NBHC Albany’s staff worked diligently to develop a system to improve the performance score and commenced by identifying a team of clinical personnel with an objective to strategically implement a plan to reach that target.
“By December 2013, the Naval Branch Health Clinic, Albany had exceeded the targeted goal of 48 points by one, for a total of 49, a 308.333 percentage increase,” Mitchell added. “This earned the Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Fla., enterprise (more than) $29,000 during this period.”
NBHC Albany is one-of-five branch clinics under the Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Fla., enterprise.
Mitchell attributes the clinic’s success to the hard work and dedication of the entire NBHC Albany staff, more specifically the HEDIS team.
“(The team’s efforts and proactive approach) saved lives, countless dollars by taking care of HEDIS beneficiaries, (reduced) exacerbation of related illness and (the need for) emergency rooms visitations,” Mitchell said.
He asserts that HEDIS works to ensure that its beneficiaries receive preventive and quality care, gives members the ability to review and compare the plan’s scores and helps them to make informed health care choices.
“By proactively managing one’s patient care, (he or she is) able to effectively monitor health, prevent complications and identify issues that may arise with (his or her) care,” Mitchell suggests. “Providing preventive services, which improves HEDIS scores, demonstrates a commitment to quality patient care and is often reflected in a patient’s satisfaction with health care and the relationships with (his or her) doctors.”
According to the National Committee for Quality Assurance website, HEDIS measures address a broad range of important health issues, with many health plans reporting HEDIS data to employers or using their results to make improvements in their quality of care and service.
The NCQA’s website further suggests that because so many plans collect HEDIS data, and because the measures are so specifically defined, HEDIS makes it possible to compare the performance of health plans on an “apples-to-apples” basis.
Health plans also use HEDIS results themselves to see where they need to focus their improvement efforts, according to the website.
Mitchell further advised beneficiaries to schedule regular preventive exams and to follow up with ordered tests.
Some of HEDIS’s primary preventive focal points include asthma, mammogram screenings, well-woman exams, diabetes, well-baby exams, depression, cardiovascular disease and low back pain.
For questions or more information about HEDIS, call 229-639-7886, or visit the NCQA website at, http://www.ncqa.org/HEDISQuality Measurement/WhatisHEDIS.aspx.