Taking the first step: Why Bon Secours Mercy Health decided to undergo an enterprise assessment
More than 50 percent of hospital registry managers don’t know how their registry data are being used. As clinical data provide valuable insights that drive quality and performance improvement initiatives, it is crucial that quality leaders ensure their teams are taking full advantage of all the insights their data have to offer.
Bon Secours Mercy Health (BSMH), a health system with 48 hospitals spanning seven states and Ireland, is dedicated to continually improving healthcare quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness. When Dr. Taryn Kennedy, chief quality officer at BSMH, first joined the health system in 2020, she sought to get a bigger picture of the system’s quality efforts.
Dr. Kennedy began by having conversations with quality leads throughout the health system to learn about their quality work. “I was a little surprised to find that much of them were spending time doing clinical data abstraction,” said Dr. Kennedy. “To me, quality really was supposed to be much more about performance improvement, getting out there, really understanding what the problems were in the facility, and hopefully facilitating change and improvement.”
As Dr. Kennedy spoke with more quality leads, she began to understand just how much processes varied across the health system. “It suddenly became very apparent to me that we had very diverse processes for collecting data across our system, and I felt there really had to be a better way of doing this, and also of using the data afterwards,” she said.
To consider how BSMH could maximize the value of its clinical data, Dr. Kennedy turned to Q-Centrix, which had been managing clinical data for several of BSMH’s facilities for many years. Given the health system’s trusted partnership with Q-Centrix, Dr. Kennedy was curious to get Q-Centrix’s perspective on BSMH’s quality efforts.
Deborah Kirkman, Q-Centrix’s director of business development, suggested that partnering for an enterprise assessment—which involves stratifying the total cost of participation in clinical registry and quality reporting—could bring valuable insights into the health system’s clinical data activities. To learn more, Dr. Kennedy spoke with Q-Centrix’s advisory solutions team about whether conducting an enterprise assessment could help BSMH in its journey to unlock the value of its clinical data.
This case study is the first in a series exploring an enterprise assessment journey from start to finish. Covering key milestones such as the initial decision to obtain an assessment, the assessment process, key findings and opportunities the assessment reveals, the process of implementing solutions and efficiencies, and final outcomes, this series provides a comprehensive view of how a methodical evaluation of clinical data practices can spark great transformation and systemwide improvements.
“With an assessment, what would normally take at minimum a year for a leader to figure out on their own can be done in a third of that time.”
Why organizations pursue enterprise assessments
Dr. Kennedy’s situation is not an unusual one. While there are many reasons quality leaders may be interested in an enterprise assessment—such as streamlining quality efforts, centralizing clinical data management, identifying areas for cutting costs, or informing integration needs during mergers and acquisitions—it is also common for leaders new to a health system to undertake an enterprise assessment.
“Getting familiar with quality and registry operations for a whole system is a major undertaking for a new leader, and an assessment can provide them with that knowledge with minimal investment,” said Doug McGill, Q-Centrix’s managing director of advisory solutions. “With an assessment, what would normally take at minimum a year for a leader to figure out on their own can be done in a third of that time so they can start making an impact on the organization more quickly and with more data at their fingertips.”
Assessments are also useful in helping organizations overcome common shortfalls to fully leveraging clinical outcomes data. These challenges include:
- Clinical data governance: Local departments may join and manage registries with little consideration for strategic value to the organization or possible redundancy.
- Process improvement: Clinicians may spend significant time abstracting data, leaving them with little capacity to drive improvements.
- Insights and scope: Many organizations submit directly to a registry without storing or mining the data for greater insights or expanded scope synergies.
- Information management strategy: Myopic approaches to data integration and accessibility can result in information siloes or voids.
Making the choice
In addition to walking Dr. Kennedy through the enterprise assessment process, McGill also discussed some considerations that may be helpful for deciding whether to move forward with an assessment.
“We have learned there are often a number of questions you can ask yourself to determine where you are in your roadmap of achieving an enterprise approach to your clinical data management model,” said McGill. Some of these questions include:
Who has responsibility for all clinical outcomes data?
How many clinical outcome registries do you participate in today, and why were those registries chosen?
How are clinical outcome registries tied to your strategic growth imperatives?
Of those registries, how many are being reported at the corporate level?
How many registries are currently tied to or are being considered for supporting value-based care initiatives?
In discussions with BSMH leadership, Dr. Kennedy learned that getting a systemwide view of BSMH’s clinical quality efforts had been a goal for quite some time—just not one anyone had been equipped to take on alone.
“Apparently, even before I came to this job, a couple of years earlier, somebody had talked about trying to get their hands around this large body of work and had kind of given up before they even started, because they were overwhelmed by the whole concept of what they were going to need,” said Dr. Kennedy.
After considering how an enterprise assessment would help BSMH further its quality efforts and uncover efficiencies moving forward, Dr. Kennedy decided to partner with Q-Centrix for an assessment. She hoped this step would help her team identify areas to align clinical quality efforts, discover potential cost savings, and drive strategic growth moving forward.
Dr. Kennedy’s decision to partner with Q-Centrix for an enterprise assessment marks a pivotal step toward optimizing BSMH’s quality improvement activities. By getting a complete view of the health system’s quality and registry operations, Dr. Kennedy would be able to derive a deep understanding of how BSMH’s facilities were leveraging their clinical data—and find more ways to facilitate data-driven improvements throughout the health system.
The next case study in this series shares the key findings and opportunities the assessment revealed and examines how Dr. Kennedy and the BSMH leadership team chose to act on these findings and pave the way for the transformative journey ahead.
Part one in Q-Centrix’s enterprise assessment case study series with Bon Secours Mercy Health