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Creating healthier lives for children through population health management

Published on 3/5/2019

Children at Children’s National Health System based in Washington, D.C., are leading healthier lives after meeting a goal to improve quality outcomes by 10 percent in four out of six categories: asthma, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease and sickle cell disease. Each one of these categories had three individual measures providers strived to improve. By the end of its 2018 fiscal year, the health system improved quality outcomes ­in two or more measures in asthma, cardiomyopathy, inflammatory bowel disease and sickle cell disease.1

The population health initiative is one of the latest examples of how Children’s National, a Cerner ITWorks℠ client, accomplished this population health goal by using HealtheIntent℠. The platform provides a snapshot of the patient population and provides reports that show gaps in patient care. To get a complete picture of the patient population, Children’s National implemented HealtheIntent across its practices that utilized different electronic health records.

“With this information for our providers in both the pediatric primary and specialty care environments, we can start to answer the question, ‘Where are the opportunities to improve children’s health?’” said Brian Jacobs, MD, vice president, chief medical information officer, chief information officer.

HealtheIntent tracked three measures for each of the six conditions targeted for the goal. For example, the asthma measures included receiving the influenza vaccine, optimal medication management and a tobacco exposure screening. HealtheIntent then prepared a report of the measures that needed addressing.

“We created a specialized report for clinical partners, physician champions and other divisions,” said Ravi Badh, manager, business intelligence and clinical analytics. “That report might say, ‘I have 10 kids coming to my office tomorrow that belong to this registry.’ I can look at that report, and it tells me what measures they’re missing. If five of them are missing flu shots, I can make sure they get them.”

Reducing the burden on the family

The reports also help ensure patients receive necessary preventive care in as few trips as possible.

“Our goal of a single visit allows us to address multiple factors in a child’s health. If one child has their immunizations completed and their labs drawn in a single visit, they don't have to come back for three different visits,” Badh said. “Parents shouldn’t have to worry about whether their kids are going to be okay or whether they’ll be able to afford to go to the doctor. Ultimately, it reduces the burden on the family.”

Sickle cell disease measures saw some of the biggest improvements. Children’s National surpassed its goal by 23 percent in the number of patients receiving a comprehensive pneumonia vaccination and documented stroke prevention. For inflammatory bowel disease, the organization beat its goal of reproductive education by 37 percent.

Children’s National leaders realize this is only the start. For fiscal year 2019, they laid out a goal to develop and implement two new health registries, in addition to focusing on continued improvements care for asthma care.

“We have a long journey ahead of us. We made a small dent, and there’s a huge amount of effort that still needs to go into this to make it perfect,” Badh said. “I’m hoping other organizations pick up a similar approach.”

1 Children’s National’s fiscal year 2018 ended June 30, 2018.

Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.