Be proactive about data: How a Michigan hospital's cardiovascular department approaches value-based care

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In the journey to cost-containment and value-based care within cardiology, data is key, says Amber Pawlikowski, cardiovascular quality excellence leader at Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. 

Ms. Pawlikowski recently joined Becker's Healthcare cardiology podcast to discuss how the health system's cardiovascular service line uses data to inform the shift to value-based care. 

Here is an excerpt from the podcast. Click here to download the full episode. 

Q: Thinking about cost-containment and value-based care, what types of things are you already implementing or planning in the near future?

Editor's note: This response was lightly edited for length and clarity. 

Amber Pawlikowski: I think one of the biggest things is that we try to use data in every single decision that we make. Whether we're looking at volumes, quality outcomes, payment modeling, and things like that — really using that data.

Where we get a lot of good data — there's something called the Michigan Value Collaborative that helps you to kind of benchmark yourself against other hospitals in your region or in your state in terms of risk-adjusted cost per case analysis — and something like that is really helpful for us.

I think one thing that's difficult to do is if you don't have that benchmark data, you kind of know how you're performing against yourself year over year, but what does that mean in terms of the bigger picture? Unfortunately, if you're waiting as a healthcare system for the Medicare data to come out, you're already kind of behind the eight ball when you're getting that data back. 

So I think being proactive about data collection, and then ensuring that you sort of have programs where you can benchmark yourselves against other hospital systems. That's something that we're constantly striving to do. And again, examining that information and that is … and certainly if we see outliers and things like that, we would call together committees or leverage existing teams to ensure that we're discussing that data. 

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