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Wednesday, Sep 12, 2018

Ballad Health selected for national initiative to enhance care value

 Ballad Health has been chosen for a national initiative that has the potential to improve the value of care patients receive while reducing healthcare spending nationwide.

The High-Value Care Collaborative, a partnership of the American Hospital Association, the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign, and the Costs of Care organization, brings together participants to improve efficiency in health care, decrease cost and improve quality. 

During the next year, Ballad Health, along with other selected health systems and medical groups, will seek to adopt strategies that reduce unnecessary cost and deliver evidence-based care that has been demonstrated to reduce the burden on patients.  In deploying evidence-based practices, Ballad Health will share guidance with other leading health systems, while also learning from successful initiatives utilized in those systems. 

“This is indeed a very coveted selection – one that has the potential to put Ballad Health front and center with other top-performing health systems, all of which are dedicated to delivering high-value care and reducing unnecessary variation in care,” said Dr. Amit Vashist, chairman of Ballad Health’s physician clinical council. “Unnecessary variation that departs from the evidence tends to increase costs and does not add value. Ballad Health is among the health systems nationally that are leading the way in terms of reducing unnecessary variation and ensuring the care we deliver is evidence based.”

Ballad Health was selected for the collaborative following successful implementation of several initiatives. Among those initiatives was a successful effort to reduce certain hospital-acquired conditions by as much as 41 percent. This effort was implemented through a partnership between physicians and administrators focused on a common goal of improving care and propelling Ballad Health to perform at a level among the top systems in the nation. 

Ballad Health leaders involved in development of the strategy going forward include Vashist; Dr. Jerry Blackwell, chief clinical officer of Ballad Health; Lisa Smithgall, chief nursing executive of Ballad Health; Dr. Jocelyn Medina, a leading radiologist; and Jan Novak, project coordinator. These individuals will lead Ballad Health’s efforts under this national initiative. 

“The enthusiasm of our physician clinical council, administration, physicians and other team members will contribute greatly to our success in this collaborative,” Vashist said. “We’re working together to expand evidence-based care and best practices, which will be of tremendous benefit to patients across our region.”

By participating in the collaborative, Ballad Health will work to adjust its processes and systems in pursuit of its high-value care goals. Vashist and other collaboration participants can access the program’s long-distance support to learn from clinical and organizational improvement experts and share their experiences.

The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation's Choosing Wisely program, an integral component of the High Value Care Collaborative, has been in place at Ballad Health for several years and consists of more than 400 proposals and recommendations designed to ensure evidence-based use of clinical testing and procedures. To stay abreast of best practices and other recommendations, Ballad Health has developed software in its provider system that automatically generates recommendations and additional information for certain orders.

Vashist said Ballad Health is starting its work in the collaborative by focusing on ensuring the proper use of MRI scans, and evidence-based practices with respect to appropriate utilization of urinary catheters.   Ballad Health will also be focused on its already successful efforts to reduce hospital-acquired conditions. 

“We are proud of the leadership our physicians are taking in helping us deploy evidence-based practices throughout our system," said Alan Levine, chairman and chief executive officer of Ballad Health. “Ballad Health's success relies upon a partnership with our doctors focused on the wellbeing of our patients.  We are all deeply committed to this, and if we succeed, Ballad Health will be known nationally as one of America's best health systems."

As the High-Value Care Collaborative continues, Blackwell and Vashist hope Ballad Health can be a leader in reducing the $765 billion spent on waste and inefficiency every year in the United States – and bolster its performance along the way.

“Participating in the High-Value Care Collaborative positions Ballad Health among top-tier health systems in our country,” Vashist said. “But more importantly, it means we’re working toward more efficient, better care for people in our region.”

More information about the High-Value Care Collaborative can be found online at

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