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CMS QIO Awards Promote Patient Safety, Healthcare Quality

Twenty healthcare quality improvement projects around the country will improve patient safety, patient engagement, and provider education about population health issues.

- CMS is continuing to promote population health management, patient safety, and high quality healthcare with a new round of awards to twelve regional Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs). 

Population health, patient safety, healthcare quality awards from CMS

The Special Innovation Project (SIP) awards will support twenty projects aimed at improving access to care, lowering costs, boosting quality, and educating patients and their caregivers about how to engage in meaningful relationships with their providers.

“The SIPs offer QIN-QIOs and their partners, clinicians, schools of higher education, innovation labs, and Medicare beneficiaries and their families the opportunity to address critical health care issues important to their constituency in the areas of quality improvement that may be underutilized, but represent a significant opportunity if spread locally, regionally, or nationally,” wrote CMS officials in a blog post announcing the awards.

“QIN-QIOs serve the Medicare population by working with Medicare beneficiaries, providers, and communities in data-driven initiatives that increase patient safety, make communities healthier, better coordinate post-hospital care, and improve clinical quality.”

The winning projects include efforts to improve quality while lowering costs at the local level as well as initiatives that have proven their success with regional providers, and now have the potential to become scalable best practices on the national stage.

“These high leverage topic areas include streamlining patient flow in health care settings; working with health plans and care coordination providers on approaches to post-acute care that results in enhanced care management; increasing value, patient affordability, and appropriate use of specialty drugs by applying evidenced based criteria to prescribing practices; addressing acute pain management in sickle cell patients; and utilizing big data analytics to reduce preventable harm in health care,” said CMS.

Some of the notable projects include:

A provider education initiative from the TMF Quality Innovation Network that will work with 80 physician practices in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri to share best practices for treating depression and alcohol use disorders with primary care physicians

A program from the Atlantic Quality Innovation Network that will use web-based clinical decision support applications to help standardize prescribing practices for anticoagulants to reduce adverse drug events

Education for 25 home health agencies in Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota about how to prevent and manage common infections, including respiratory, urinary tract, and wound infections

The deployment of a collaborative care model in Georgia and North Carolina that can better identify and treat sickle cell disease patients presenting to the emergency room in vaso-occlusive crisis

Additional winners are planning to engage patients in advanced care planning, reduce opioid abuse and improve pain management guidelines, optimize the use of electronic health records for chronic disease management, develop best practices for identifying and treating sepsis, coordinate care transitions after a hospital discharge, and address the social determinates of health to streamline population health management.

All of the recognized projects exhibit “scientific rigor, a strong analytic framework and a reasonable, proposed intervention based on the supporting evidence,” CMS said.  The winners will help to support CMS’ national quality goals while including patients and their families in care decisions.

“We are committed to innovation and are excited to study the results produced by these SIPs and to identify ways in which to incorporate them throughout the QIO Program based upon their results,” CMS said.

“The SIPs create an exciting opportunity for providers, professional organizations, innovation labs, and others to innovate and impact health care quality in the Medicare program at local, regional and national levels through the QIO Program.”

A full list of the QIN-QIO awardees may be found here.

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