Speaking from experience
With limited resources during the short HEDIS season, health plans must make quick decisions to prioritize the number of medical records to retrieve, abstract and over read to meet their goals. One year when I was at a health plan, we were at the end of the HEDIS season. We were two passing members’ short of meeting our four-star target for a particular measure. By having a plan to address high-value charts at the end of the season, we were able to identify the necessary members and achieve our four-star goal. HEDIS preparation is a continuous, all-year-long exercise. Begin preparing now to avoid the end-of-season “HEDIS crunch”.
Be proactive now rather than reactive later
The beginning of the year is the time to be sure you have the tools and processes in place so you can close the HEDIS season successfully.
At the beginning of the year, much of your emphasis should be on core HEDIS activities such as:
- Evaluating the quality of your provider data to maximize chart return rates
- Deciding strategically and realistically on measures to focus on for retrieval and abstraction
- Securing an auditor
Keep the momentum going throughout the HEDIS season
As the year progresses, core HEDIS activities and standard processes will continue. However, there are other activities you can do to maximize HEDIS season success.
Following is a typical timeline and checklist to help you start planning and preparing processes:
|Timing||Activity||What to consider|
|End of HEDIS season through November||
|October to January||Training and staffing needs||
|February to May||Reporting||
Set up an end-of-year measure SWOT team now
Another thing you can do now is to set up a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) team. This group will be laser-focused on high-value charts at the end of the year.
To build a SWOT team, choose the “best of the breed.” These elite SMEs should have a keen understanding of the end-to-end process, to focus on specific charts only. Following are some attributes to look for in potential SWOT team members:
- Knows specific markets really well
- Excellent knowledge of measures and technical specifications, including hybrid measures and requirements for exclusions
- Knows the data in detail
- Exceptional at chart retrieval
The time to deploy your SWOT team will be as soon as you have the data to provide insight into where your plan is trending from a Star perspective. This is typically during the last six weeks of HEDIS season. SWOT teams are highly qualified people, so they can recommend what to do at the end of the year. For example, they can determine when to execute on outstanding charts. If there are members in your oversample that may be passes, they can oversample members in a specific order. If there are exclusions, they can determine how many to retrieve.
Three things to remember
The process to be prepared for HEDIS will be ever evolving. At the end of the HEDIS season, it’s good to have a “lessons learned” session to discuss what worked well and the opportunities for improvement. Once these areas are identified, amend your process. Here are few takeaways for you to consider:
- HEDIS preparation is a marathon, not a sprint.
- In the beginning of the season, focus on chart volume. Towards the end of the season, it’s more about value than volume.
- Set up a SWOT team to focus on targeted chart abstraction to achieve maximum performance.
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About the Author:
Brandon Taylor, JD, MBA
Director of Risk, Clinical and Quality Solutions
Brandon Taylor is responsible for growth and strategy of risk and quality solutions at Optum. His expertise includes HEDIS, risk adjustment and Star Rating strategy, health care interoperability, health law, population health management and business transformation. Brandon was instrumental in assisting the first publicly traded national plan to earn a five-star rating.