Driving quality improvement at the University of Michigan -

Sparrow Health


As the mid-Michigan area’s largest health system, the University of Michigan - Sparrow Health System (Sparrow) proudly serves the Lansing region by providing quality, compassionate care and offering access to affordable, high-quality health coverage. Sparrow takes quality very seriously: in addition to regularly improving and delivering national benchmark-level outcomes related to the health system’s performance across its six hospitals, Sparrow’s quality team also participates in Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) Pay-for-Performance (P4P) Collaborative Quality Initiatives (CQIs).

Over time, Sparrow became continually more involved in reporting on these CQIs, which span more than 20 different quality and safety measures for improving patient care. However, Sparrow’s quality team faced a resource constraint to manage clinical data for these measures. The team soon realized that leaning on an existing partnership with Q-Centrix would help them build staff capacity to grow their involvement in guiding quality improvement interventions through CQIs.

Sparrow had first partnered with Q-Centrix in 2013 to manage clinical data for core measures. After noticing that the partnership resulted in higher data integrity across all registries Q-Centrix supported in just four months, Sparrow’s quality team sought to enlist Q-Centrix’s assistance to manage clinical data for BCBSM CQIs as well. While these measures went beyond Q-Centrix’s typical service offerings at the time, both organizations understood that the most successful partnerships evolve as needs change and grow. To support Sparrow in this area, Q-Centrix consulted its network of more than 1,300 clinical data experts to find specialists with experience managing data for BCBSM CQIs. After identifying existing clinical data experts with this experience—as well as recruiting additional experts with this background—Q-Centrix began managing clinical data for the BCBSM CQIs Sparrow participated in. If the venture proved successful, Sparrow would be able to further its efforts to improve quality and safety throughout its community.

BCBSM CQIs empower healthcare providers to take a collaborative approach to improving patient care, leading to reduced costs, fewer complications, and improved patient outcomes. Participating hospitals can receive incentives and bonuses for meeting performance metrics: BCBSM’s Hospital Pay-for-Performance Program pays hospitals an aggregate of 5 percent of statewide inpatient and outpatient operating payments, amounting to over $200 million throughout Michigan.


Increase participation in BCBSM P4P CQIs
Enable Sparrow’s quality team to continue focusing on performance improvement initiatives
Expand Sparrow’s clinical data management partnership with Q-Centrix


Work with Q-Centrix to manage clinical data for a variety of BCBSM CQIs, including:

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium (BMC2) – PCI & VIC

Michigan Arthroplasty Registry Collaborative Quality Initiative (MARCQI)

Michigan Emergency Department Improvement (MEDIC)

Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative (MSQC)

Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Consortium (HMS) – Sepsis

Sparrow now participates in a dozen CQIs.


Sparrow expanded its involvement in BCBSM CQIs.

The health system now participates in a dozen CQIs—which increases the potential fixed-dollar bonus Sparrow is eligible for through BCBSM—and plans to grow this number over time.

Sparrow can receive reimbursement, bonuses, and incentives from BCBSM for participation and exemplary performance in these CQIs.

These fund the quality team’s ongoing performance improvement efforts.


What began as an agreement to manage clinical data for core measures grew into a dependable partnership that enabled Sparrow to pursue its interest in BCBSM CQIs. By entrusting Q-Centrix to manage clinical data for these CQIs, Sparrow’s quality team could further its commitment to improving patient care throughout mid-Michigan.

Marianne Pilat, Sparrow’s director of quality and performance improvement, shared that the health system plans to participate in more BCBSM CQIs in the future. “It’s really exciting how we’ve achieved our goals over time,” she said. “There’s so much more to do.”

In the ten years since Sparrow first partnered with Q-Centrix, the partnership has continued to evolve. In some instances, this meant relying on Q-Centrix for additional services: over time, Sparrow has enlisted Q Centrix’s support in more and more areas, including trauma, oncology, and cardiology. In other instances, this meant that when the facility experienced lower volumes during challenging times—such as during the COVID-19 pandemic—the partnership with Q-Centrix allowed Sparrow to navigate this in a cost-effective way. While some hospital leaders were forced to lay off or furlough staff when faced with low volumes, Q-Centrix’s model meant that Sparrow’s quality team simply had lower clinical data costs during this time.

Sparrow’s journey with Q-Centrix illustrates the value of enterprise partnerships that can adapt over time to meet changing needs. With the support of a partner that can see them through thick and thin, hospital and health system leaders will be empowered to adapt as the industry evolves and pursue new goals and initiatives that further their ability to improve patient care.