Healthcare executives gathered with HMA leaders in March to learn and share about new initiatives in quality improvement. Panels and discussions were led by esteemed experts, who provided important insight into the multitude of opportunities to improve quality and equity:
From the Experts: CMS has doubled down on its commitment to improve healthcare quality, equity, and access.
The HMA Point of View: Current leadership in Washington has set very clear goals to improve health equity, aligning federal policy as a lever to improve healthcare outcomes. Federal dollars passed along to states are including new rules and objectives to improve quality in an equitable manner. Therefore, those applying for federal contracts and grants must include a strategy to improve quality, equity, affordability, and access.
From the Experts: Interventions need to be robustly evaluated to address equity and social determinants of health (SDOH).
The HMA Point of View: Governments, care providers, and payers have been experimenting with approaches to SDOH, but the bar is now higher and results have to be measurable. New investments that address SDOH and aim to improve equity must include a strategy to measure and analyze results of interventions, including evaluation of critical subpopulations to address disparities. Although experiments will continue, we have reached the point where a robust analysis of outcomes is an expectation.
From the Experts: Quality is playing a central role in operationalizing equity.
The HMA Point of View: While there are many reasons for disparities in health, quality metrics and programs must be designed to improve quality for all patients. Identifying inequities is only the first step; successful programs will advance equity by reducing barriers to care. Measurable quality programs should be designed for population health, but personalized for individuals with clear provider incentives to not only identify disparities but also minimize them. Quality is the tool by which we achieve health equity.
From the Experts: We are on the precipice of doing great things in quality.
The HMA Point of View: Our ability to integrate data from multiple sources is finally getting to a place where patients can get the quality care they need, and providers can give the right care at the right time to improve outcomes. Policymakers have broken down barriers to data sharing, enabling a new economy of information sharing that promises to empower patients and reduce costs. It is no longer enough to have a separate IT or data strategy; anyone working to improve healthcare quality needs to have data strategies within and across every operational function across their organization.
From the Experts: Being rewarded for doing what’s right for the patient is central to continuous quality improvement.
The HMA Point of View: Quality care for the patient means creating the right incentives for payment and care delivery that focus on outcomes and experience. Every point of care in the patient’s health journey needs to be evaluated and designed from the point of view of providing a quality experience. Not every patient has the same journey, and our healthcare system must meet them where they are, delivering for their unique needs. Convenience, personalization, accuracy, simplification, and affordability are nearly as important as clinical outcomes in the mind of most patients and addressing barriers to health can have clinical benefits.
HMA has a long history of working with clients to achieve their quality improvement goals including securing accreditation for both payer and provider organizations, driving clinical practice transformation, and improving the overall value of care. We strongly believe that there is no quality without equity, access, and measurement, and are investing in people and resources to support these needs. Together we are working with clients to advance value-based care, develop programs demonstrating quality, value, and equity in behavioral health, and implement new quality and accreditation programs to better serve their communities.
Learn more about HMA’s continuing work in quality and accreditation and join the conversation on LinkedIn and Twitter using #HMAtalksQuality.