Recent federal health reform and economic stimulus legislation dramatically broadened opportunities to improve the delivery of health care. In response to this changing landscape, NCHQA expanded its goals beyond its initial mission improvement of primary care delivery. NCHQA’s multi-stakeholder structure and long history of cooperation toward common goals provides the opportunity to achieve health care improvements that would have been deemed impossible not long ago.
NCHQA is currently pursuing projects in three areas:
- Leading, supporting and encouraging projects to bring coordinated care to all patients regardless of payer. The best health care systems in the world offer integrated care. Systems like the Mayo Clinic and Geisinger Health System own hospitals and labs and employ all the physicians and nurses a patient is likely to see, so they can easily integrate a patient’s care. In contrast, patients in North Carolina and throughout America typically obtain their care from a variety of independent providers. Health care expenses are paid by a variety of sources including private insurers, employers, the government and patients themselves. But North Carolina has the capacity to create a “virtually” integrated system, one that can provide the same integrated care but across an entire state.
- Helping primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals and others improve transitions, reduce readmissions, and generally improve quality of care across providers. When patients transition between providers and health care settings, the result is often poor health outcomes, medical errors and costly duplication of tests and procedures. In collaboration with Community Care of North Carolina, NCHQA has identified ways to improve the quality of care for patients after release from the hospital and to significantly reduce the likelihood that those patients will be readmitted.
- Mobilizing stakeholders across North Carolina to develop and implement common quality goals and reporting standards. NCHQA’s early work included establishing a set of standard measures by which insurers and physicians could measure the quality of care provided by a primary care physician for particular chronic diseases. NCHQA is currently leading the North Carolina Choosing Wisely Campaign, a statewide effort to implement standard, evidence‑based recommendations for avoiding unnecessary use of medical tests and procedures. Getting key stakeholders to embrace common quality goals and strategies is a difficult but critical step toward transforming health care delivery throughout the state.