WCHQ Education Event Dates
Dr. Michelle Robinson, inaugural Director of the Office of Health Equity (OHE) at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, will keynote the upcoming WCHQ Value and Disparities event, “The Impact of Disparities on Healthcare Value.” As director, Dr. Robinson serves as the principal program and policy officer for equity and inclusion and workforce planning programs. Dr. Robinson received the 2018 Madison Community Leader Award by Church Women United, the 2018 Collaborator of the Year award by the Progress Center for Black Women, the 2017 Community Justice Award by the Urban League of Greater Madison and was named one of the University of Wisconsin’s Outstanding Women of Color in Education in 2014.
Other speakers/topics include:
The event will take place February 8, 2024 at the Doubletree by Hilton Madison East. The event is open to members and non-members, with a fee of $80 for non-members. Registration is available on our website now.
Interested in learning more? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The WCHQ Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Improvement Team launched a toolkit to help primary care providers screen for and treat kidney disease. The toolkit helps primary care practices to adhere to standards of care in screening for CKD, understand diagnosis of CKD, manage and treat CKD in their practice, and refer to nephrology when necessary.
Brett Pasiuk, MD, a Nephrologist at SSM Health, will present a webinar on how to use the toolkit in primary care practices. The webinar will be held on February 27, 2024 from noon – 1 PM. You can find the link here to register for the event.
There are limited nephrology resources within some health systems and treating people in primary care settings can increase the health care capacity, slow disease progression, and improve outcomes. The toolkit is a practical, usable tool for quick referencing and following standards of care.
Providers can find information about:
The new toolkit is available here.
If you are interested in joining the work members are doing on chronic kidney disease, contact Jen Koberstein.
As the year 2023 comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on the incredible accomplishments of WCHQ's members and our staff. At the beginning of this year, we centered ourselves on five long-term strategic priorities for WCHQ. While these priorities will take numerous years to fully accomplish, we made significant progress on each throughout this year.
Comparative Data: Continuing in our leading role providing comparative data that facilitates improvement via learning between health systems.
The transparent reporting of health outcomes is even more critical following the pandemic as we aim to get patients back on track with preventative care and provide support for populations that were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. WCHQ’s measures are available publicly twice a year at the health system and clinic level. These validated measure results provide the data used in numerous public and members-only reports produced throughout the year.
Health Equity: Serve as a statewide convener of thought leaders committed to reducing health disparities, utilizing data to provide focus and collaboration to create strategies to reduce disparities.
We identified strategies that have closed or reduced disparities gaps in and are now focused on disseminating those effective strategies across the state. Our first event of 2024 will feature this topic.
Value Acceleration: Connect quality and cost to drive upstream improvements in healthcare value.
Early in 2023, we previewed a series of reports we are pushing out to help members identify value strategies that work, showing our members have saved over $100 million by their improvement work for patients with diabetes. In December, a members-only report built on this learning by connecting specific quality metrics with avoided complications.
Engage Wisconsin Employers and Stakeholders: Engage employers directly in our work to drive improvement.
This year we took several steps to include employers more closely in our work. We established our first Employer Engagement Council, chaired by Sue Anderson, SSM Regional President, which sets the strategic direction for engaging and listening to employers. WCHQ will release a toolkit on obesity care that employers can use in their benefit design and working with providers during the first quarter of 2024. In the new year, we will see more of this work as we aim to listen to employers’ needs and provide tools that employers and providers can use together to improve patient outcomes.
As the year ends, I am grateful for the steady leadership of our board of directors.
Departing Board Members:
A sincere thank you to departing board members who collectively served on the board for a total of nearly twenty years.
Welcome New Board Members:
Under the direction of WCHQ’s Measure Advisory Committee, comprised of clinicians, measurement and quality experts, the new composite measure summarizes member performance across all measures and benchmarks participants into percentile rankings based on performance.
This year-long effort gives members a tool to discuss their results across all 27 publicly-reported WCHQ measures by providing enhanced benchmarking capabilities.
"In the sphere of ambulatory quality measurement, integrating all of WCHQ's measures into a composite framework elevates the way we can talk about quality performance," shares Chris Elfner, VP of Bellin Health’s Clinically Integrated Network and Measurement Advisory Committee chairman. "It allows us to move the discussion beyond individual measure performance and better understand health system performance. Many members have been doing something like this on their own, so it makes sense to have the Collaborative provide a standard model."
The new composite ranking is currently available to WCHQ members only and was included in WCHQ’s recent release of the latest public reporting results.
Self-measured blood pressure monitoring (SMBP) with clinical support is a proven strategy to lower blood pressure and increase medication adherence (Community Preventive Services Task Force, 2017). Primary Care Associates of Appleton (PCAA) has successfully incorporated SMBP into patient care and the electronic health record (EHR), resulting in significant improvements in blood pressure control.
PCAA plans to increase the number of patients using SMBP and overall blood pressure control. PCAA shares their best practices:
Program statistics include:
“Not only is this an evidence-based program that has proven to bring patients to BP control, in a more timely and efficient way than prior methods, it’s a big win for the patients, too! Once trained, patients no longer need to come into the clinic for nurse visit BP checks. We are very proud of the continued growth of this program. This is both a patient and staff satisfier,” reports Ann Taake, PCAA Quality Improvement Specialist.
At this year’s educational events, knowledgeable presenters inspired and challenged our WCHQ member representatives with actionable strategies in a variety of healthcare specialties. For example:
Feedback from our events has been informative as we plan for 2024. When we hear comments like, “Tons of ideas to implement in primary care,” and “I will be sharing this information with other primary care providers at my organization,” we know we are on the right educational path for our members.
In addition to the four in-person events, WCHQ hosted nine webinars, with varying topics from CKD and heart failure disparities, increasing immunization rates, antibiotic stewardship and more.
Our 2024 events are on our website now, mark your calendar and plan to join us. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to hear from both fellow WCHQ members and industry experts on information and strategies that will make a difference to your patients.
In 2023, three WCHQ member systems participated in a project to improve HPV vaccination rates, including almost 300 clinical staff across Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We are now enrolling WCHQ member systems for 2024! Will your health system join?
HPV vaccine improvement project by the numbers in 2023:
WCHQ invites member systems to receive a 1-hour CME/CNE evidence-based communication workshop. Workshops will be held in the spring and early summer of 2024. The workshop, called The Announcement Approach Training, has been shown to increase HPV vaccination rates by five percentage points. It also helps reduce conflicts with patients by giving staff the tools to communicate with them differently and supports sustainable improvements by training internal staff to become trainers.
The Announcement Approach Training workshop is for all clinical staff who have a role in adolescent vaccination. Additional training for one or more vaccine champions in your health system is provided. Champions deliver the workshop to half of your system’s participating clinics, facilitating project sustainability. Experts from the project team deliver workshops to the remaining clinics. WCHQ data will be used to track improvements.
The project is led by Elizabeth Cox, MD, PhD, a pediatrician and health services researcher and Meghan Brennan MD, MS, an infectious disease physician and health services researcher, from the University of Wisconsin, and Melissa Gilkey, PhD, a behavioral scientist specializing in adolescent health at the University of North Carolina. The project is funded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Members Implement Antibiotic Stewardship in Outpatient Care
Overprescribing antibiotics can lead to antimicrobial resistance and result in difficulty treating serious and life-threatening conditions. The majority of antibiotics are prescribed in outpatient settings and, of these, at least 30% are unnecessary. Ambulatory Antibiotic Stewardship encourages appropriate use of antibiotics in order to preserve antibiotic effectiveness and reduce the risk for the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
WCHQ partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to develop three measures that focus on appropriate prescribing of antibiotics. The measures are for patients three months and older diagnosed with acute sinusitis, upper respiratory infections, and bronchitis. Currently, the measures are not part of WCHQ’s public portfolio but are available to interested members as part of the Antibiotic Stewardship Team.
In September, initial data was reviewed from the measures. The improvement team continues to identify ways to review the data, such as by visit type, pediatrics vs. adult populations and class of prescription by diagnosis and WCHQ will present the data stratified this way in 2024 meetings.
Workgroup participant results 7/1/22-6/30/23:
Participants in the Antibiotic Stewardship Team receive education and tools to improve antibiotic usage. Recent examples include education on the Collaboration to Harmonize Antimicrobial Registry Measures CHARM. CHARM provides a collaborative effort to utilize data from partner institutions electronic medical records to quantify and assess local antimicrobial prescribing practices. Partners then understand their current prescribing practices, antimicrobial stewardship opportunities can be targeted, and the impact of initiatives can be measured. CHARM allows participating entities to benchmark their usage patterns against other systems.
If you are interested in joining this work, please contact Lori Bue.
Controlling Asthma Through Patient Screening and Care Planning: The Year in Review
This year, the Asthma Improvement Team developed a measure for health systems to determine if patients with an active asthma diagnosis are receiving an appropriate asthma screening annually. The team reviewed data from the participating health systems to better understand what quality improvement projects could increase the use of asthma screenings. The team noted that 24% of patients with asthma were receiving these screenings annually. The provider can then use the patient’s screening responses about use of rescue inhaler, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and activity to aid in preparing the patient’s treatment plan.
Also in the last year:
The next year will bring continued review of the measurement data and education that the group can share with the WCHQ membership. This improvement team is continuing to look for health systems to participate, if interested please reach out to Lori Bue, Quality Improvement Specialist at email@example.com.
WCHQ Members Continue to Prioritize Interventions to Improve Healthcare Disparities
Over the last year, Disparities Improvement Team members have shared processes and strategies that have improved healthcare outcomes for populations experiencing disparities.
Ascension recently shared they have used zip code-level data to identify clinics in communities with the highest needs and identified areas with high prevalence of patients on Medicaid. By understanding the population, Ascension is planning targeted improvement strategies to increase the number of patients receiving preventative cancer screenings, diabetes testing and control, and hypertension control specifically at the four clinics identified.
“The primary care directors are committed to understanding patient barriers and understanding communities where people live in order to make an impact on their healthcare and lives,” says Amrinder Singh, MD, Primary Care Director for Ascension’s Franklin, St. Francis, and Racine Region. The group is looking to develop priority interventions to improve outcomes for this population and is using data to look for trends over time.
The Disparities Improvement Team has expanded to include Community Health Workers (CHWs). CHWs bring significant value to the patient by being on their healthcare team:
The team is excited to share they are working on a Disparities Toolkit. The toolkit will be a resource that provides information about how to understand healthcare disparities data, define language about healthcare disparities, share resources, and disseminate best practices from the Disparities Improvement Team. Be on the lookout in early 2024 for information on the toolkit going live!
Interested in learning more about this work? Contact Renee Sutkay, Quality Improvement Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Improvement Team Works to Improve Vaccination Rates
During WCHQ’s last two public reporting periods, WCHQ members have seen a decrease in childhood immunization rates. In response to this trend, in 2023, WCHQ kicked off a new improvement team that included representatives from ten health systems and six community partners with a focus on increasing childhood and adolescent immunization rates and reducing disparities.
The improvement team will continue this work in 2024 with the following initiatives:
If you are interested in joining the work WCHQ is doing on childhood and adolescent immunizations, please contact Lori Bue.
Obesity Continues to be a Priority for Health Systems in Wisconsin
2023 was a year of accomplishments for member health systems involved in obesity work at WCHQ. Members endorsed two new obesity measures this year:
Also in 2023,
The Obesity Advisory Group plans to continue monitoring and updating measures, providing education, and working on quality improvement activities in 2024. If you are interested in joining the work WCHQ is doing on obesity, contact Jen Koberstein.