How Ideas Become Innovations: Roundtable With Healthcare Innovation Leaders From UCLA, Ohio State

Innovation is increasingly becoming an important discipline for many of the country’s hospitals and health systems. Leaders are dually tasked to build a culture that promotes the sharing of ideas and a willingness to learn, but they must also ensure the creative process is formalized and methodical. Here, four leaders from two of the top academic medical centers in the country share their approach to innovation.

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Hospitals, Health Systems Quicken Pace to Own Insurers, Full-Risk Health Plans

Nationwide, about 100 provider-sponsored health plans are owned by hospitals or health systems, says Joe Damore, vice president of population health management for the Premier healthcare alliance. Moreover, he tells HPW that approximately 20 more health systems are in the process of getting licensed to offer their own plans. These likely will be implemented within the next 18 months or so for at least a 20% increase over that time period, says Damore.

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Coventry Health Care Expands Partnership with UnityPoint Health

DES MOINES, Iowa–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Coventry Health Care and UnityPoint Health on August 23,  announced the expansion of their partnership providing high-performance network plans in the state of Iowa.

Coventry’s “Carelink” high-performance network plans will now give more Iowans affordable access to care through the clinics, hospitals and home care services of UnityPoint Health – the nation’s fourth largest nondenominational health system.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Designates 2,500 Physicians in Nation’s Largest Medical Home Program

DETROIT — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has designated approximately 2,500 physicians in roughly 770 practices across the state as patient-centered medical homes (PCMH), a 28 percent increase over the 1,800 designatedPCMH physicians in 2010. This is the nation’s largest PCMH effort for the third consecutive year.

In the patient-centered medical home model, primary care physicians (pediatricians, internists and family practice doctors) lead care teams that bring intensive focus to their patients’ individual health goals and needs. The care teams work with patients to keep them healthy, monitoring their care on an ongoing basis. PCMH teams coordinate patients’ health care using registries to track patients’ conditions and ensure that they receive the care they need.

PCMH practices offer patients various capabilities and services that patients may not find at non-designated practices.  They offer 24-hour access to the care team, coordinate specialist and complementary care – such as nutrition counseling – and teach patients how to manage conditions such as asthma and diabetes. All PCMH-designated primary care physicians offer their patients 24-hour phone access to clinical decision-makers, comprehensive information on after-hours care options, medication review and management, and a well-established process for informing patients about abnormal results.

“Partnering with Blue Cross, many dedicated health care professionals are greatly improving access for patients, achieving better outcomes of care and more effectively managing costs, ” said Thomas L. Simmer, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer for BCBSM.  “This program gives Michigan residents closer relationships with their doctors, not only when they are sick, but when they need advice and guidance to keep them healthy.”

In comparing utilization trends of PCMH-designated and non-designated physicians, BCBSM has observed that PCMH-designated doctors are succeeding in managing their patients’ care to keep them healthy and prevent complications that require treatment with expensive medical services. For example in 2010, PCMH practices had an 11.1 percent lower rate of adult ambulatory care sensitive inpatient admissions than non-designated practices.

PCMH practices also had a 6.3 percent lower rate of adult high-tech radiology usage; a 6.6 percent lower rate of adult ER visits; a 3.3 percent higher rate of dispensing generic drugs; and a 7.0 percent lower rate of adult ambulatory care sensitive ER visits over non-PCMH doctors.

“Many doctors tell me that this is what they envisioned for primary care. This patient-centered medical home model gives doctors the structure, process and tools they need to manage their patients’ care continually, rather than just fix their ailments from episode to episode,” Simmer said. “Physicians are working hard to transform their practices into patient-centered medical homes. In fact, we’ve now doubled the designated doctors from 1,200 in 2009 to 2,500 in 2011.”

More than 5,000 primary care doctors in Michigan are working toward designation as PCMH practices by transforming how their practices deliver health care services to patients. Simmer notes that while 2,500 of the 5,000 doctors attempting designation actually achieved it for 2011, they commend the efforts of those other 2,500 physicians for their work in supporting the PCMHmodel of care.

“All of these physicians are partnering with Blue Cross through this initiative to improve the primary care environment throughout the state,” Simmer said.

The benefits of PCMH reach all of a practice’s patients, regardless of whether the patient is insured by Blue Cross. The Blue Cross Patient-Centered Medical Home initiative affects millions of Michigan residents through designated physician offices today.The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Patient-Centered Medical Home program uses a model that considers both process of care and performance to designate physicians.  Half of the designation score is based on the amount of PCMH capabilities that the physician practices have in place – such as 24-hour telephone access, use of disease registries, and active care management. The other half of the designation score is based on quality and utilization measurements, such as emergency room visits, radiology and evidence-based care measures among their patients.

Blue Cross has posted a list of PCMH designated physicians on its website People interested in locating a PCMH physician in their community can go to and click on “Find Doctor” at the top of the page.

The PCMH initiative is part of Value Partnerships, a collection of collaborative initiatives among physicians, hospitals and the Michigan Blues, all aimed at improving quality in medical care. To learn more about this comprehensive effort, go to


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a nonprofit corporation and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit Wins National Healthcare Website Awards.

Baylor Health Care System’s website – – took home the gold at the thirteenth annual Healthcare Internet Conference and silver at this year’s W3 Awards.

The Healthcare Internet Conference awards program recognizes the best websites of healthcare organizations, online health companies, pharmaceutical and medical equipment firms, suppliers and business improvement initiatives. More than 1,100 entries were received from a wide range of healthcare organizations in 12 different categories. received gold in the “Best Site Design” category for hospital systems.

The W3 Awards recognize creative excellence on the web by awarding outstanding websites, web marketing and web video produced by some of the nation’s best interactive agencies, designers and creators worldwide.

“We are honored by these awards that we think show the success of our web strategy,” says Steve Tatum, vice president of marketing, Baylor Health Care System. “We know that more than half of patients in America seek out health information online and we want to be a resource for not only those wanting to know more about our system of hospitals, but for those who simply want health information from a nationally recognized source.” was redesigned in 2008 and now features an easy-to-use physician finder tool, health risk assessment tools, a multimedia encyclopedia and improved navigation. The current site was designed around what market research showed were consumer preferences.

About Baylor Health Care System

Baylor Health Care System is a network of hospitals, primary care and specialty care centers, rehabilitation clinics, affiliated ambulatory surgery centers and the Baylor Research Institute. One of the largest private-sector employers in Dallas/Fort Worth, Baylor employs roughly 20,000 people and has more than 4,000 physicians on its medical staffs. Baylor University Medical Center, flagship hospital of the system, is a major patient care, teaching and research center for the Southwest. For fiscal year 2008, Baylor reported $446 million in community benefit to the Texas Department of State Health Services. For more information about Baylor Health Care System, visit or call 1-800-4BAYLOR.

Source: Baylor Health Care System

Web Site:

The Leapfrog Group Announces Its 2009 Top Hospitals.

Leapfrog Adds New a Efficiency Standard to Its Quality Criteria for Top Hospitals and Introduces a Category for Top Rural Hospitals

While Congress debates whether healthcare reform would control healthcare costs, today employer purchasers point to 45 hospitals that lead through example — delivering the best quality care in the nation while attaining the highest levels of efficiency. Thirty-four urban, eight children’s and three rural hospitals have been named 2009 Leapfrog Top Hospitals, based on results from The Leapfrog Hospital Survey. The survey (found at is the only national, public comparison of hospitals on key issues including mortality rates for certain common procedures, infection rates, safety practices, and measures of efficiency.

leapfrog_logo2006_000Qualifying criteria for Leapfrog’s Top Hospital Award list remain virtually the same as 2008, with one added dimension: once hospitals demonstrate top quality, they must also rise to the top of the list on efficiency.

“This year’s class of Top Hospitals not only hits the mark in areas such as medication error prevention and preventing ICU deaths, but they also use their resources wisely, providing excellent and efficient outcomes for patients,” said Leah Binder, CEO, The Leapfrog Group. “Regardless of what happens to healthcare reform, these hospitals are the future.”

New this year

New this year, Leapfrog recognizes a new category: Top Rural Hospitals. The award winners in 2009 scored in the top decile nationally for efficiency and are located in Georgia and Maine.*

“Rural hospitals should be especially recognized as they often have higher hurdles to clear than their larger, urban counterparts in terms of access to capital and other resources,” said Binder, a former administrator of a rural hospital.

In 2009, Top Hospitals in urban settings fulfill the following criteria:

  • Fully meet Leapfrog standards for implementing computer physician order entry (CPOE) systems (that have been shown to reduce medication errors by up to 85%), and for passing Leapfrog’s test of their system;
  • Fully meet stringent performance standards for complex, high-risk procedures (such as heart bypass surgery) done in that particular hospital;
  • Fully meet standards for staffing the ICU, shown to reduce mortality by 40% or more;
  • Score in the top decile in the country for efficiency — scored by the Leapfrog Hospital Recognition Program incorporating quality outcomes, length of stay, readmission rates, and incidence of hospital acquired conditions and infections. The efficiency standard applies to heart bypass surgery, heart angioplasty, heart attack and pneumonia patients.

“We know from research that Leapfrog-reporting hospitals are among the best in the country, and they demonstrate through Leapfrog that they set ambitious goals for their performance,” said Binder, pointing to a study by Dr. Ashish Jha at Harvard Medical School, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the Joint Commission in 2008, concluding that Leapfrog hospitals have lower mortality and better quality of care than those that don’t report to Leapfrog.

“Not all hospitals make the top hospital list, but every hospital that participates in Leapfrog deserves credit. They are fundamentally changing the hospital market into one that is highly responsive to the quality, cost and value needs of consumers and large buyers of health care,” said David Knowlton, Chair of The Leapfrog Group and President & CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.

This year’s top urban hospitals are located in 13 states — Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington.*

Top pediatric hospitals in 2009 achieved a quality score of 95 or better through Leapfrog’s Hospital Recognition Program and are located in California, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.*

The Leapfrog Group ( uses the collective leverage of large purchasers of health care to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality, and affordability of health care for Americans. The Leapfrog Group was founded in 2000 by the Business Roundtable, and is now independently operated with support from its members.

The Leapfrog Hospital Survey is the gold standard for comparing hospitals’ performance on the national standards of safety, quality, and efficiency that are most relevant to consumers and purchasers of care. Hospitals that participate in The Leapfrog Hospital Survey achieve hospital-wide improvements that translate into millions of lives and dollars saved. Leapfrog’s purchaser members use Survey results to inform their employees and purchasing strategies. In 2009, 1206 hospitals across the country completed The Leapfrog Hospital Survey.

*For a complete list of 2009 Top Hospitals visit on December 3, 2009.

SOURCE The Leapfrog Group

Health Care Pioneer Henry J. Kaiser Inducted Into The California Hall of Fame.

As health care reform takes the national stage and Kaiser Permanente is being hailed as a care delivery model, renowned entrepreneur Henry J. Kaiser was inducted this week into The California Hall of Fame. Kaiser’s eldest granddaughter, Carlyn Kaiser Stark, will accept the Spirit of California medal on his behalf during a formal, private state ceremony in Sacramento this evening.

Kaiser’s greatest legacy is Kaiser Permanente, one of the world’s first prepaid health plans, which he co-founded with Dr. Sidney R. Garfield in 1938. Today, Kaiser Permanente is the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plan. In addition, Kaiser was noted for his innovations in shipbuilding and engineering.

“Henry J. Kaiser was a true California innovator, so it is very fitting that he is receiving this honor,” said Tom Debley, historian and director of heritage resources for Kaiser Permanente. “Kaiser wasn’t afraid to take risks and plunge headlong into uncharted territory to improve the strength and vitality of American industry, as well as individual health. That’s really what the Golden State is all about: driving for a better quality of life.”

Kaiser was an entrepreneur

Kaiser was an entrepreneur who quite literally arrived in California by jumping off a moving train in 1921 to meet the deadline to place what became the winning bid for a section of historic Highway 99 near Redding. He became known for turning lost opportunities into new prospects. After losing a bid to construct the Shasta Dam, for example, he founded Permanente Cement and won the $6.9 million contract to supply the 5.8 million barrels of cement needed for the job. In 1931, Kaiser helped organize the Six Companies, Inc., consortium, which had a part in building some of the largest infrastructure projects of the 20th century, including the Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee Dam and the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Kaiser’s health plan was created during World War II when the shipbuilding tycoon sought a way to provide health care for the thousands of workers in his shipyards. Together with Dr. Sidney R. Garfield, Kaiser extended the plan to the general public after the war’s end in 1945. Kaiser went on to establish the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to address the world’s major health care issues.

One of the most prolific shipbuilders

During World War II, with no prior shipbuilding experience, Kaiser became one of the most prolific shipbuilders in history, setting records for speed and efficiency unmatched to this day. He established seven shipyards on the West Coast that produced more ships than any other in the United States and proved instrumental to the Allied victory of the war.

Kaiser entered World War II as a construction and engineering entrepreneur and came out of it with the acumen needed to help redevelop the post-war world. He built homes, cars and aircraft; manufactured steel and aluminum; pioneered tourism in Hawaii; and engineered projects around the globe. At its peak, Kaiser Industries had either enterprises or projects on every continent, including Antarctica. But of all of his endeavors, Kaiser hoped that his contribution to health care would be his legacy. Before passing away in 1967, he said, “Of all the things I’ve done, I expect only to be remembered for my hospitals. They’re the things that are filling the people’s greatest need — good health.”

At the time of his death, Kaiser Permanente had about 1.7 million members, with 1,630 physicians in 18 hospitals. Today, Kaiser Permanente is the country’s largest not-for-profit health plan, serving more than 8.6 million members.

The other 2009 California Hall of Fame inductees are Carol Burnett, Andrew Grover, Hiram Johnson, Rafer Johnson, Joan Kroc, George Lucas, John Madden, Harvey Milk, Fritz Scholder, Danielle Steel, Joe Weider and General Chuck Yeager.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.

For more information, go to:

Source: Kaiser Permanente

The Most Popular Health Insurance Websites for Women.

Using Hitwise Lifestyle, which incorporates MOSAIC USA, a leading household segmentation system, it is possible to identify the m ost popular websites in an industry that attract a specific segment.

For example, the top three websites in the Health Insurance category that attracted the largest volume of women aged 25-44 in the “Suburban Optimists” segment were Kaiser Permanente, GroupHealth and CIGNA for the four weeks ending 11/07/09.

The Suburban Optimists Type represents middle-class diversity with its high concentration of Asian, Hawaiian and white residents. These consumers tend to spend their disposable income on technology products, buying the latest laptops, video game players and home theater systems. They also describe themselves as early adopters and influential leaders when it comes to consumer electronics. Suburban Optimists frequently watch cable TV networks such as VH1, MTV and Spike TV. Finally, they enjoy watching comedies, network dramas and reality shows like “That 70s Show,” “E.R.” and “American Idol.” Lifestyle data is available on over 30,000 websites.

To learn more about Hitwise Lifestyle, contact Hitwise.

Top Health Insurance Websites Visited by Women Aged 25-44 for the four weeks ending 11/07/09
Rank Site Domain Gender % Age % Mosaic USA Type %
1. Kaiser Permanente 59.14% 22.96% 1.64%
2. GroupHealth 67.65% 26.62% 0.84%
3. CIGNA 51.20% 35.05% 0.65%
4. Delta Dental Insurance Company 53.22% 18.49% 1.00%
5. eHealthInsurance 56.75% 36.18% 0.46%

Source: Hitwise Intelligence Blogs

Experian Hitwise is the leading global online competitive intelligence service, helping clients protect and grow their market share through the application of internet measurement data. Experian Hitwise measures the largest sample of internet users – 25 million worldwide, including 10 million in the United States. This sample size allows clients to understand internet behavior and competitive activity through data that is unmatched in timeliness, depth and breadth.

New HIPAA Privacy and Security Enforcement Laws Favor Smart Card Use in Healthcare.

sca_logoSmart cards have been touted for years as a secure and efficient way to convey identification information, health plan benefits information, electronic health records, and more. However, adoption has been slow as providers dragged their feet in buying the necessary readers while the industry has worked to develop universal standards.

Now the Smart Card Alliance, the not-for-profit, multi-industry group that works to promote smart card technology, says that the federal governments new vision of HIPAA privacy enforcement and compliance has given smart heath card technology a new level of importance.

The Smart Card Alliance notes that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) gave HIPAA privacy and security regulations a big boost and also extended HIPAA regulations to more businesses. As a result of this action, attendees at the 8th Annual Smart Cards in Government Conference were told that identity and authentication solutions based on smart card technology will become a much more attractive proposition for healthcare companies charged with protecting the security of personal health records.

The Smart Card Alliance says that smart cards solve a lot security concerns. They provide a proven way to uniquely and securely authenticate an individual across the entire national healthcare system, including over the Internet. They protect security and privacy by giving individuals control over access to their personal records. And for enterprises, smart cards can be used by employees who need to access healthcare records, providing high levels of security and a non-repudiable record of who accesses information and when, to aid in compliance with healthcare information protection laws.

Smart health cards are also said to improve the security and privacy of patient information, provide the secure carrier for portable medical records, reduce healthcare fraud, support new processes for portable medical records, provide secure access to emergency medical information, enable compliance with government initiatives and mandates, and provide the platform to implement other applications as needed by the healthcare organization.

The Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council brings together payers, providers, and technologists to promote the adoption of smart cards in U.S. healthcare organizations and within the national health IT infrastructure. It has prepared briefs and white papers that explain how smart card technology can enhance the privacy and security of personal health records, and also provide a solid foundation of identity for healthcare information systems.

For more information please visit

CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic and Allina Hospitals & Clinics Form Strategic Partnership.

minuteclinic_DV_20090310074409MinuteClinic, the retail health care division of CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS), and Allina Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota and western Wisconsin have formed a partnership to pursue collaborative activities that will focus on enhancing high-quality health care services in the communities they serve.

Under the agreement, Allina and MinuteClinic will collaborate on aligning their clinical care operations, including medical oversight and informing patients of each parties’ services.

In addition, as part of the collaboration, Allina and MinuteClinic will develop interfaces between their electronic medical records (EMR) systems to streamline communication around all aspects of a patient’s care. Allina and MinuteClinic will also explore the development of new services in the market.

MinuteClinic health care centers are staffed by nurse practitioners who specialize in family health care and are trained to diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common family illnesses such as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. Minor wounds, abrasions and joint sprains are treated, and common vaccinations such as influenza, tetanus, MMR, and Hepatitis A & B are available at all locations.

In addition, MinuteClinic administers a series of wellness services designed to help consumers identify lifestyle changes needed to improve their current and future health, including screenings for diabetes, hypertension and obesity. No appointments are required at MinuteClinic and most health insurance plans are accepted.