San Diego-area healthcare organizations are using population health strategies to improve hypertension treatment across the region.
The “Be There San Diego Data for Quality” (DFQ) group is a collaborative effort between health systems, data analysts, and clinical staff that began in 2012 with a goal to prevent and reduce heart attacks and strokes. In 2015, the group received funding from the CDC to beef up analytics and technical structure to make interoperability easier.
Eight healthcare organizations participate: Arch Health Partners, Council of Community Clinics, Kaiser Permanente, MultiCultural Primary Care Medical Group, Scripps Clinic Medical Group, Scripps Coastal Medical Center, Sharp Rees-Stealy, and University of California San Diego Medical Group. They share aggregated data concerning hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
1. Obtaining institutional support
When the group began working together, it was not as common for medical groups to report quality data to outside entities, says Kitty Bailey, MSW, executive director of DFQ. “While the clinical leadership was engaged and interested in sharing quality data with each other it was more difficult to obtain institutional support for the data request.”
2. Working with competitors
Bailey says that getting sometimes competing healthcare organizations to collaborate on a data project was a concern in the initial phase of the project. The group, she says, focused on the principle of “coopetition,” a hybrid of cooperation and competition. “For San Diego’s healthcare organizations, this means that while we are competitors we can also benefit from cooperating in certain arenas. In this case the healthcare organizations are coming together to compete against the disease instead of each other.”
3. Coordinating different technology abilities
It was also a challenge aligning the larger, multispecialty medical groups with more advanced technology with the smaller or midsized organizations with less sophisticated technology.
Also, though most of the practices have patients covered by Medicare or commercial insurers, one healthcare organization focuses primarily on uninsured patients.