Columbia Basin Health Association Blazes New Trail with Azara DRVS
Columbia Basin Health Association (CBHA) has always leveraged data to drive top-tier performance in its health system. What was becoming a challenge was keeping on top of the ever-increasing scope of the reporting and analytics needed to support this process. When they set out to build a system to centralize all of their clinical, financial, and operational analytics into a single source, they knew they needed to find a set of strong, experienced partners to help them achieve their goal.
CBHA selected Azara DRVS as the optimal platform upon which to build their vision. Azara DRVS provided many of the standard measures and compliance reports, such as HRSA’s Uniform Data Systems (UDS) reports in nearly real-time, and also provided a strong technical foundation that CBHA could expand to meet the unique needs of the organization.
“When we looked at quality and were only able to view reports monthly – or annually – it wasn’t good enough to affect change,” said CBHA CEO Greg Brandenburg during an interview with the Azara Community.
From its humble roots in the early 1970s as a one-facility, one-physician outfit in Othello, CBHA has grown into a thriving center with four sites spread across three communities. It serves roughly 700 patients per day, half of which are migrant farm workers. The sizable expansion and wide array of services provided – including dental, vision and pharmaceutical – have gone hand-in-hand with the center’s quest to identify and embrace innovations that improve operational performance and patient care. In this case, the quest focused on getting real-time insight into metrics that could be used to drive change. It found the answer with Azara DRVS (pronounced DRIVES).
The Data Reporting and Visualization System already carried the capacity to handle a wide array of clinical outcome measures, but CBHA soon required the system to incorporate new functions that encompassed other types of data that are critical to the center’s operation.
“They were looking to push the boundaries of what you could really do with DRVS in business analytics, said Greg Augustine, Chief Operating Officer at Azara. “Their idea is to be able to have a one-stop shop for clinical, financial and operational performance metrics.”
The goal wasn’t simply to get data, but to analyze what the data reveals about key aspects of the operation and use the findings to implement new practices that can improve overall efficiency.
The project to expand DRVS to meet CBHA’s unique needs is a partnership between the health center and Azara. CBHA provided direction on what they needed to measure, and Azara provided the tools to analyze the business, financial and operational metrics. The team tapped into the center’s GE Centricity EHR (electronic health record) and electronic practice management systems to pull the necessary data as well as HR and Pharmacy systems to get the data that CBHA required to monitor all aspects of their business.
The resulting platform now tracks everything from how CBHA gets paid for the medical services it provides to the number of patients filling prescriptions at CHBA pharmacies. What’s more, DRVS allows CBHA to view all the key performance indicators in a single, integrated platform, resulting in significant savings in time and resources and an increased ability to make strategic decisions based on the data it collects and crunches.
“It has been a very good partnership,” said Brandenburg of working with Azara.
Examples of CBHA’s expanded use of DRVS to make data more actionable are numerous. Its financial arm is tracking – virtually in real-time – key process measures such as “Point-of-Service Copay Collections,” which show how often the copay amount is collected while the patient is in the clinic. This is helping to map out cash management more effectively and reduce key financial measures such as copay collections and write-offs. It is also getting quicker reads on the number of patients who are getting their prescriptions filled at one the center’s two pharmacies. With the data in hand, CBHA can work to determine why some patients aren’t filling prescriptions, or are filling them elsewhere.
Brandenburg notes DRVS also allows CBHA to monitor the prescriptions providers write for patients and alert the provider if the medication is likely too expensive for the patient. In these cases, the provider can determine whether a less expensive generic medication is suitable.
Other measurements include keeping track of exams that are considered complete within 48 hours and provider productivity via RVUs that are being performed across the clinics.
DRVS benefits include its ability to compare how providers within the organization compare with each other on certain metrics and determine if outliers exist. Among the initiatives CBHA has implemented is a quality incentive program based on data that rewards providers and their teams for achieving improved outcomes. Brandenburg said CBHA has budgeted $175,000 for the initiative.
“What’s unique about (CBHA) is their ability and desire to use data to drive their business, their actions and overall improvement, whether it be to the quality of care provided or internal business operations and efficiency,” said Augustine.
While DRVS allows CBHA to compare quality, performance and other measures within its own network of providers, Brandenburg said he sees much larger opportunities for the platform, including using it to link CHCs from “Hawaii to Massachusetts” so they can compare outcomes and learn from each other.
“We’ve really just hit the tip of the iceberg,” he said.