Aurora reduces heart failure admissions through analytics

Bio-image-100x100Identifying and treating high-risk patients in the new health care economy can make a significant positive impact to your bottom line. But who, you ask, are our high-risk patients and how do we find them? I recently listened to Dr. Sylvia Meltzer talk about this issue and how Aurora Health Care found a viable solution.

Aurora is one of the nation’s largest multi-specialty and integrated delivery health networks. Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Aurora serves eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois with 15 acute care hospitals, 172 clinics, and approximately 2,000 health care providers.

Dr. Meltzer said Aurora Health Care has realized several benefits from its use of analytical tools, most importantly a dramatic decrease in the number of high-risk heart failure patients presenting for admissions to hospitals and ERs.“We’ve really used Optum One in some key clinical uses,” said Dr. Meltzer, Aurora’s Director of Medical Group Operations and Optimization. “Most recently we’ve used it with some high-risk heart failure and COPD patients. We have a very large cohort of heart failure patients in Wisconsin. We saw these heart failure patients going to the ER and hospital more than other cohorts.”

Aurora used analytics to build a predictive model around which they developed an operational plan to focus on these high-risk patients. The plan paid off with a remarkable 65% decrease in the heart failure patients’ admissions rate. In addition, Aurora was able to drive many patients into lower-risk categories.

According to Dr. Meltzer, using analytics to create a model helped them focus their efforts on the high-risk cohort that eventually yielded a solution.

I found it extremely interesting that Dr. Meltzer talked about yet another benefit Aurora gained from its use of analytics. They have used the data mined by the software to benchmark their efforts not only within their various regions but also with other similar systems across the United States.

“We took a look and saw where we were not performing as well,” said Dr. Meltzer. “That guided us to where we wanted to work.”

Want to hear more about Aurora’s success and how analytics can help health care organizations improve patient care, upgrade population health, and decrease costs? Go to: Navigating change with Optum One: A video series.

About the Author:

Carl Johnson, MD, EdM, MSc. is a pediatrician trained at Boston Children’s Hospital. He completed a Medical Education fellowship at Harvard Medical School and was a faculty health services researcher at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Before joining Optum Analytics he worked as a physician executive at Cerner Corporation. He is a graduate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and has held faculty positions at Harvard Medical School, University of California at San Francisco, The Ohio State University, and The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Johnson believes that healthcare can be transformed with the help of the right data. When he is not helping to transform healthcare, he can be found playing tennis, cooking, perfecting his French, taking photographs, reading historical fiction, listening to music, and watching Ohio State Football.

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