GE Healthcare Camden Group Insights Blog

Veterans Affairs Healthcare Summit: Transitioning to Personalized Health Services for Female Veterans

Posted by Matthew Smith on Jun 1, 2016 1:06:54 PM

By Shaillee Chopra, PMP, Senior Manager, GE Healthcare Camden Group

I recently participated in a panel discussion on women’s health services at the VA Summit. Female veterans comprise a small percentage (approximately ten percent) of the total veteran population in the U.S and Puerto Rico. However, utilization of healthcare services within the VA system by female veterans is projected to double by 2018. With this shift in demographic mix, the VA is championing the introduction of a wide-spectrum of women’s health services. The challenges are not limited to introducing new service lines, but also presenting them in an improved context of gender awareness and gender sensitivity.

As the VA embarks on this journey to improve female veteran access to one-stop shop, gender-sensitive, personalized, and comprehensive care, what are some of the best practices that can be leveraged to ensure success, scalability, and adaptability?

Begin With the End in Mind

The most common leap organizations make when addressing a critical need is jumping to a technology solution. Technology should be positioned as an enabler of the overall solution framework that is aligned with operational needs. Consider starting with the end in mind.  What new women's health service line does the VA want to enable? What are Data Governancethe considerations for access to this health care service? Are there specific socio-economic factors that characterize the target population that should be factored in? Are there unique patient experience needs that should be integrated into the care delivery framework (such as behavioral health assessments, common equipment use, PTSD triggers with equipment, etc.)? What are some of the key target outcomes that the VA desires to measure and strive towards?

Leverage What Is

Led by an operational framework of the future state, start with what information points are needed to operationalize that framework. Does the data need to be dynamic and real-time or retrospective? Are there current technology solutions (EMRs, specific women’s health services applications, equipment, etc.) that can be applied towards this new operational framework?

Maintain Focus on Creating Capabilities vs. Functionalities

As the overall framework for female veteran health services is designed, (inclusive of workflow, resources, culture, environment and technology) a focus on creating new capabilities (services and experience) must be maintained vs. being driven by technology product functionality. Often, operational workflow and end user experience are driven by the functionality of the best of breed products. While within their silo they meet a particular care need, without a context of an integrated information framework they contribute towards disjointed patient experiences and care team workflows.

Build for Scalability and Adaptability

Healthcare needs of veterans differ from the general patient population. Layer on top the gender-specific needs of female veterans—which are still being uncovered and understood. Female veterans may be at risk for PTSD and other mental health concerns; and their combat-related physical injuries can be very different from those of male veteran patients. As new delivery frameworks for female veteran services are launched, start small; build in adequate data and information points to observe success, risks, and failure points. Leverage the power of meaningful data and actionable information to drive scalability and adaptability.

Continue to Build Knowledge Framework vs. Bigger Data Lakes

VA_2.jpgOur healthcare organizations continue to have an abundance of discreet and disjointed data. This results in minimal information that is meaningful and can be acted upon. Furthermore, it creates a significant lack of applied knowledge that can drive informed and evidence-based decision-making. Consider building an information roadmap that will help the organization harness the power of data and methodically turn it into applied knowledge.

Break Down Barriers and Build Bridges

Silos of technical solutions create a fragmented view of the patient’s health. This leads to gaps in care and a disjointed patient experience. Champion for an integrated information framework that requires technology vendors to support the desired inter-operability.

Finally, it is all-in service to the informed, engaged and empowered female veteran who is at the heart of the evolving personalized care delivery model: As new care programs, new care protocols, improved facilities, and newer technology solutions are introduced, we need to consistently measure against the end goal-- do all these new offerings contribute towards, and create a seamless and personalized care for the female veteran in need?

Chopra.pngMs. Chopra is a senior manager with GE Healthcare Camden Group and specializes in developing and managing innovative technology portfolios for value-based and clinically integrated healthcare networks. She is highly experienced in leading information technology and consumer experience strategy development, as well as transformations to enable clinical integration, accountable care, and population health management strategies for organizations invested in innovation and transformation of care delivery models. She may be reached at



Topics: Care Delivery, Personalized Health Services, Womens Health, Veterans Affairs, Shaillee Chopra, Female Veterans

Redefine Your Practice's Care Team to Promote Patient-Centered Care

Posted by Matthew Smith on May 20, 2016 11:13:16 AM

Article and video courtesy of

“If we’re not making the patient the boss right now, someone else is going to get our business. It’s as simple as that,” said William Faber, MD, MA, MS, senior vice president, GE Healthcare Camden Group, who spoke about the changing patient relationship during the MGMA/AMA Collaborate in Practice conference, March 20-22, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Faber and Marc Mertz, MHA, FACMPE, MGMA member, vice president, GE Healthcare Camden Group, elaborated on the topic during an exclusive video interview with MGMA [video below].

“We’re reaching a crossroads,” Mertz says. “Historically, practices have been very physician-centric in the way they operate [from scheduling appointments to physical exams]. Yet patients are increasingly demanding greater access and more information to be engaged in their care.”

Responding to that new dynamic requires a fundamental shift in practice operations. “In the past, practices competed against other practices,” Mertz adds. “Now there are retail clinics, urgent care clinics and concierge medicine. Patients will go where they can get the type of care they want.”

Accommodating Patient Demands

Meeting patient needs might require expanded hours, technology that allows patients to schedule appointments, get test results and ask questions online and a care team approach to increase access.

“The main issue is teamwork,” Faber says. “The doctor cannot just look at him- or herself as the full answer to the patient’s needs.” The more realistic answer, which will boost sagging morale, is to create a network. “Work with social workers, retail clinics, urgent care centers and care managers to address these needs,” he suggests. “Taking care of patients now is more of a team sport.”

Encouraging Change

“We are still incentivized to fill the schedule with as many patients as we can,” Mertz says. “Until some of the financial reimbursement models change, I think it will be hard for people to change.”

However, making small adjustments can ease the growing burden on doctors, Faber explains.  For example, he suggests that groups “Participate in new compensation programs that reward doctors for that which only doctors can do,” which means assigning low-acuity patients to other team members.

Collaboration between physicians and administrative leaders (dyads) is key for success. “I think of it as a marriage,” Mertz says. “They’re both jointly responsible and accountable for all aspects of the practice,” which means that neither party should shirk responsibility for clinical aspects or practical pieces of the business. “It’s a true partnership.

“Physicians are ultimately responsible for the clinical care but practice administrators need to be there to push and to challenge, to bring new, innovative technology, new processes and procedures to the table,” Mertz adds.

One new process they recommend: Create a network of facilities that provide convenient access for your patients and consider that network as your care team. “The biggest impediment is the human tendency to stay with what always worked before, just keep doing the same old thing,” Faber explains. “We’re practicing medicine as though it stayed stagnant in the 1970s or ’80s, and everything [has] changed around us.”

Watch more of the interview:

Webinar, Patient Experience, Patient Satisfaction

Topics: William K. Faber MD, Patient Access, Marc Mertz, Care Model, Care Delivery, Patient-Centered Care

Meet the Practice: Care Design and Delivery

Posted by Matthew Smith on Feb 1, 2016 4:09:35 PM

Over the next two weeks, GE Healthcare Camden Group will share insights into our five newly aligned practice areas that consist of:

  • Care Design and Delivery
  • Population Health Management
  • Strategy and Leadership
  • Physician Services
  • Financial Advisory and Transactions

Care Design and Delivery

Practice Lead: Geoffrey Martin, Executive Vice President

Explain the needs and problems you solve for clients through this practice.

There is a new level of consumerism that is driving better access and a more efficient patient experience. This new paradigm of patient access calls for a health system to provide a remarkable experience for every consumer at any time and underscores a shift from patient satisfaction to patient engagement and loyalty.

But at the same time, capital and operational budgets are shrinking and facility expansion is a last resort.   Acute-care settings must re-think about where and how they deliver care. This calls for in-depth analysis surrounding an organization’s capacity strategy affecting both inpatient and outpatient populations.

Ultimately, our practice strives to work with healthcare systems to:

  • Improve clinical outcomes
  • Improve operational efficiencies
  • Increase patient volume across the system
  • Respond to opportunities from healthcare reform
  • Improve financial performance
  • Enhance consumer loyalty
  • Enhance staff and physician satisfaction

What types of organizations need your services?

We work with hospital systems and academic medical centers that are seeking support in:

  • Care access, design, and management
  • Capacity optimization and patient flow
  • Workforce management
  • Hospital-wide turnarounds
  • Facility design powered by GE’s Hospital of the Future capability
  • Analytics for hospital operations and clinical transformation
  • Command Centers for healthcare

What is the value or ROI that is provided by solving these challenges?

Our involvement with our clients yields a reduction in capital and labor costs, revenue enhancement (“good volume”), patient and staff satisfaction, and a targeted 4:1 ROI in Year 1. We work with our clients to design solutions that are specific to their needs and leverage capabilities across GE Healthcare Camden Group.

What synergies differentiate this practice area (and GE Healthcare Camden Group)?

We have a comprehensive team of people (encompassing strategy + operations + clinical + finance + analytics and technology) to better define desired outcomes and provide a more complete path forward, and we’re able to assist in all areas as needed. 

We pride ourselves on being technology agnostic—working with clients in a problem-back approach from strategy through implementation with an intense focus on sustained outcomes. Our ability to reach into the GE Store is a huge advantage and allows us to operate in a place where only GE can provide solutions.  

Case Study, Operating Room Capacity

Contact Care Design and Delivery Team

Topics: Healthcare Reform, Care Delivery, Healthcare Delivery, Care Design, Geoffrey Martin

Quality Outcome Achievement and the Impacts to Care Delivery

Posted by Matthew Smith on Apr 30, 2015 2:23:00 PM

The Affordable Care Act has changed the paradigm of our healthcare system moving from rewarding providers for the quantity of care they provide, to rewarding them for the quality of care provided. Frameworks such as the Triple Aim™ developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the National Quality Strategy from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (“CMS”) are two of the various models aimed at improving health system performance. While these approaches differ, each focuses on the accountability and improvement of care delivery across settings for all dimensions of health along with the associated costs. Through the use of quality measurement, CMS is driving healthcare transformation in collaboration with practitioners and patients.

Develop Patient-Centric Goals

As CMS and private payer reimbursement models move from volume-to-value payments and penalties, organizational leaders are recognizing the need to develop strategies which incorporate quality into all care delivery channels. First steps to approaching this landscape shift are through the development and implementation of proactive patient-centric goals. For example, engage patients as the stewards of their own care. This is a change from the “do as I say” approach of past generations. Truly listen to patients and their goals for their health. Discuss multiple options and assess the social determinants of health in terms of barriers to goal achievement. This is an approach which brings all disciplines together in the patient’s vision. Incorporate quality improvement strategies to support the long-term sustainability of an integrated care delivery model linked to outcome metrics. This will help drive a care delivery strategy and inform care redesign.

These organizational changes are of vital importance given the recent announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) regarding the timeline for shifting Medicare payments toward alternative payment models such as Accountable Care Organizations or Bundled Payment Initiatives. Starting in 2016, the target for alternative payment model reimbursement is 30 percent—increasing to 50 percent in 2018. Private payers, such as Humana and United Health Group, are following the lead of HHS and tying reimbursement to value-based arrangements. Humana aims to align 75 percent of its Medicare Advantage membership to quality of care reimbursements and UnitedHealth Group will tie $65 billion of its reimbursement to value-based arrangements, each by 2017. The landscape is continuing to shift under our feet.

Reduce Readmissions

Strides continue to be made in the overall quality of care delivered in the U.S. New research released by the CMS 2015 National Impact Assessment of Quality Measures Report, finds that between 2006 and 2012 there was significant improvement in reported performance rates across seven quality reporting programs. Performance on over a one-third of the measures was considered “high performing,” exceeding 90 percent in the most recent three years of collected data. Additionally, health disparities across racial and ethnic groups have narrowed.

Hospital_Readmissions_Blog_Table-1.pngWhile the overall delivery of quality of care is improving, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program outcomes measures (see table) have shown limited improvements in readmission rates since 2013, the first program year. Outcome measures reported in the 2014 CMS Medicare Hospital Quality Chartbook (reporting period between July 2010 and June 2013), show variation in hospital performance continues along with the persistence of geographic variation by hospital referral region. Only two regions performed better than the national average on four or more of the condition-specific readmission measures.

Impact Quality and Care Delivery

In order to move to true value-based care, the overall health, safety, and well-being of a patient must be addressed. The delivery of coordinated, quality care needs to expand from the acute setting across the continuum with an equal focus on the social determinants of health—including access to care, caregiver support, behavioral health, socioeconomic status, and health literacy.

The identification of high-risk patients along with the development of strategies to address individual patient needs and barriers to achieving them will improve the success rate of transitioning care to the post-acute setting. Key components of a “wholeistic” approach include:

  • Patient/family engagement
  • Tools for effective self-management of chronic conditions,
  • An individualized comprehensive treatment and continuum-based care plan
  • Health education for disease and medication management
  • Primary care and care management follow-up
  • Improved clinician-to-clinician communication/handoffs--all supported with appropriate community-based resources.

Long-term sustainable success cannot be achieved without continuous performance improvement and continuum-based key performance indicators. Delivering quality care across the continuum with a multidisciplinary methodology will impact the usual way care is delivered. Real-time dashboards will foster the analysis of both financial and clinical data allowing for comprehensive, gap in care interventions and strategy development. Staffing skillsets will continue to change and new positions will continue to be created to meet the needs of the population. We are truly in the midst of the new age of healthcare.

The Camden Group, Hospital Readmissions, Readmissions Reduction

Topics: Readmissions, Readmissions Reduction, Quality Outcomes, Care Delivery

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