A Strategic Approach: Forum Initiatives
The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum has identified key areas of focus for improving quality and value while facilitating the planning and implementation of strategies to address these opportunities.
Quality measurement involves the collection, standardization, analysis and reporting of health care data to improve patient care and outcomes in Louisiana. The goal is to produce and promote reliable, useful and user-friendly data and information to guide providers,
payers, purchasers and consumers in making informed health care decisions.
The benefits of quality measurement can be recognized across stakeholder groups:
- Consumers – Allows for wise and informed health care choices
- Providers – Helps support the design and delivery of quality care
- Purchasers/Payers – Allows for value-based benefit choices that help improve health and manage health care costs
For all stakeholder groups, quality measurement can potentially help guide and impact public policy by providing an aggregate view of how we are improving health outcomes at the population level and how we use these findings to advance change in Louisiana health care.
Clinical Quality Improvement
Through clinical quality improvement, the Quality Forum engages and assists providers in the pursuit of meaningful, specific and quantifiable health care enhancements. We focus on ways to raise the standards of health care delivery to maintain, restore or improve the health outcomes of individuals and populations.
Clinical quality improvement brings meaning to performance measurement information by focusing on improving the quality of health care and patient safety while reducing health care costs. In doing so, this initiative improves the health of individuals as well as communities – an outcome that is vital to all stakeholder groups. It provides skill development, facilitated educational programs, one-on-one learning and a consultative approach, as well as convenes to improve health care alignment and coordination. Clinical quality improvement involves building visions for change, sharing best practices and enabling providers to adopt successful measures.
Patient-Centered Medical Home
The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) represents an exceptional standard of primary care in which the patient is the most important person in the health care system. The medical home refers to health care that establishes a partnership among practitioners, patients and their families to ensure that the health care decisions made respect the patient’s wants, needs and preferences. This model also ensures that patients have the education and support they need to make healthy lifestyle decisions and participate in their own care.
In the medical home model, the patient becomes empowered as a member of the health care team, which includes health care professionals, community resources and family members. Total health care is provided through all phases of life, during both wellness and illness. This all-inclusive approach is designed to enable better access to health care, improve patient health outcomes, increase health care provider and patient satisfaction and reduce unnecessary medical costs.
Health Information Technology
Health information technology (IT) will enable health care providers to better manage patient care through secure use and sharing of health information. It includes the utilization of electronic health records (EHRs) instead of paper medical records to maintain health information. By creating meaningful use of these records, health IT realizes the true potential of EHRs when it comes to the improvement of safety, quality and efficiency of health care.
Meaningful use of EHRs can be measured by their capacity to perform drug-formulary checks, incorporate clinical laboratory results, provide reminders to patients for needed care, identify and provide patient-specific health education resources and support the patient’s transitions between care settings or personnel. The effective application of health IT and the implementation of a statewide health information exchange (HIE) network are key to achieving the goals of better health care outcomes and creating efficiencies in the overall delivery of health care.
Outreach and Education
The Quality Forum recognizes that many improvements in quality and efficiency occur during the consumer-provider or consumer-health plan transaction. It is important that consumers receive information that not only improves decision making at the point of care, but also at the point of choosing a provider or health plan, when engaging in self-care and with lifestyle choices that have an impact on their health. To accomplish this, the Quality Forum sponsors educational and informational community outreach meetings; provides this website; and offers supportive materials such as white papers to assist stakeholder groups.
Outreach and educational meetings inform individuals and organizations about ways to promote better health and health care utilization in the community, as well as patient and family involvement as partners in their own care. Through these meetings, the Quality Forum also promotes employer involvement that may result in increased cost efficiency, enhanced quality of care and improved health of employees and the community.