Analytics helps Cornerstone create Patient Advocate program

Bio-image-100x100Gaps in care are a common affliction among health care organizations across the nation. I have seen it in otherwise good practices, both large and small, yet these groups somehow either overlook the problem or don’t know it exists.

Cornerstone Health Care was suffering from “gaps in care,” that is patients who were not receiving the proper care or receiving care that was not being delivered very well. They used the power of analytics to fill in those gaps by creating a Patient Advocate program staffed by trained, certified medical assistants who could engage the patients outside of the exam room.

Here is how Grace Terrell, president and CEO of Cornerstone Health Care, explains her organization’s use of analytics to seal its gaps in care.

“Optum One has given us the ability to drill down and find patients within our electronic health records that really maybe had not received certain types of care or who had certain things that we were not doing very well,” she said.

As an example of gaps in care, Terrell described a diabetic suffering from high blood sugar as well as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The patient may be treated for the high blood pressure while the other two issues are ignored and not treated. The Patient Advocate program allows the nurse practitioner to talk with individual patients in order to better understand their situation and make recommendations to the care staff.

“Our business continues to change on a regular basis,” said Terrell. “We’ve done a lot of things differently since we’ve had the Optum tools.”

Cornerstone has grown substantially since it was founded in 1995 when sixteen small practices in High Point, North Carolina, merged to form a multi-specialty group. Today the organization, based in the piedmont region of western North Carolina, boasts more than 250 physicians and 100 advanced-practice providers or nurse practitioners that work in 18 hospitals with six different health systems.

Hear more about Cornerstone’s success and how analytics can help health care organizations improve patient care, upgrade population health, and decrease costs.

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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