AHMC Healthcare: Driving quality improvements systemwide with concrete data

IBM Watson Health interviewed Jonathan F. Aquino, Corporate Chief Quality and Vice Compliance Officer at AHMC Healthcare and Interim Chief Executive Officer at AHMC San Gabriel Valley Medical Center.  The purpose of the conversation was to learn more about how AHMC embraces data-driven initiatives to improve the overall quality of care.

IBM WATSON HEALTH: How does AHMC Healthcare approach patient engagement and clinical performance?

JON AQUINO: At AHMC Healthcare, our goal is to lead the nation in quality and patient safety in our clinical operation and performance. We want to be a top health system in the United States. We are entirely dedicated to improving patient satisfaction and ensuring that we’re delivering high-quality, efficient patient care that ultimately leads to a great experience for our customers and long-term loyalty to our system and our facilities.

IBM: All seven of AHMC’s facilities have above-average HCAHPS scores. What initiatives have you undertaken to earn high patient satisfaction responses?

AQUINO: Previously, we had a number of activities throughout our facilities focused on quality improvement. We were what I like to call action-rich. However, we weren’t able to pinpoint trends, measure or truly evaluate our performance as a system. Now we’re able to focus on quality improvement based on concrete data at a number of levels. At the highest level we ask:  how are we improving as a system, which hospitals require focus, and which facilities are struggling? We can also identify opportunities at the unit level, learn where our nurses and our frontline teams are struggling, and what we can do to support them from the corporate offices to better improve patient care. So, I can confidently say we’re now data-rich and action-rich, versus just having this action-rich environment with no understanding of the data and how it drives our patient experience.

IBM: What type of data sets do you evaluate?

AQUINO: We look at many ranges of data. We use scorecards and also like to employ a number of other tools including benchmarking and peer group networking with other hospitals. These evaluations really help us to better refine and understand how we can use data to drive our quality improvement initiatives. We’re better able to benchmark and focus our efforts where needed to work smarter, not harder.

IBM: Can you point to a specific initiative that benefited from being data-driven?

AQUINO: Yes, the data-driven process led us to our focus on sepsis and improving the entire clinical operation around sepsis management to improve the patient experience.

Sepsis is very hard to improve. I think the national average is only about 54% compliance with the sepsis bundle[1]. That tells us that hospitals throughout the nation are struggling with sepsis and operations around sepsis and improving that clinical condition. We approached sepsis by breaking down the various fallouts and clinical operation processes where we could do better. This led to working with the various stakeholders in our facilities, from physicians to frontline staff and the ancillary support teams.

IBM: What outcomes has AHMC produced after implementing data-driven initiatives focused on sepsis?

AQUINO: We were at ten percent compliance when we first started with sepsis core measures. Some hospitals were even at zero percent, so there were lots of opportunities to improve. Now we are able to pinpoint opportunities, define what parts of the bundle we were failing, and execute improvement plans. We’re very proud that we’ve now reached 100% compliance in some of our facilities. Overall, we’re improving that clinical condition and our patients are going home much sooner than expected.

IBM: Have you seen any other improvements from adopting a data-driven approach to quality initiatives?

AQUINO: We’ve absolutely seen a reduction in clinician burnout. First, we’ve been able to reduce the number of premium overtime hours in our quality departments and clinical operations departments. We’ve been able to move our physicians and our clinical stakeholders from behind the computer screen back to the bedside where they belong, by spending less time in the data, spending less time analyzing charts to really focusing on patient care at the frontline where our patients truly deserve their time and effort.

To hear more from Jonathan F. Aquino, view this video: https://www.ibm.com/blogs/watson-health/watson-health-success-story-ahmc-healthcare/

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28789803