What providers can learn from an early Triple Aim adopter

Efforts to implement healthcare's "Triple Aim" of improved care, improved health and reduced costs taught one early adopter three vital lessons to successfully manage population health.

In a blog post for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Leslie Graham, chief executive officer and Barbara Eldridge, manager of quality improvement, both of the Primary Care Coalition in Montgomery County, Maryland, describe some of the lessons they learned while they worked on projects to improve population health as part of the Triple Aim.

The PCC has pursued the three goals since 2007 as one of the prototype communities of the IHI's Triple Aim, Graham and Eldridge write.

Among their tips: Although an organization's portfolio of projects must focus on all three aspects of the Triple Aim, not every project has to tackle them. Until recently, their organization thought each project must achieve all three aims simultaneously. But that's not realistic, they write. They recommend that organizations consider their portfolios of projects like they would their financial portfolios.

"You should expect your portfolio to contain some investments that are riskier with higher reward and possibly more likely to fail," they write. "Some are going to give you short-term wins and have a higher likelihood of success. Some things are harder to predict; they're long-term investments."

They also suggest that an organization be clear on defining and identifying its population. 

Graham and Eldridge further write that patients can provide your organization with a wealth of information. For example, the Triple Aim work they did with IHI focused on emergency department (ED) use and contributed to the success of their efforts to link ED patients to primary care. 

"We developed a template for interviewing patients from all five hospitals in our county at the time," they write. "From this, we started to identify why people chose to go to the ED instead of primary care. We then developed interventions to address those reasons, whether it was lack of awareness about primary care clinics, inconvenient clinic hours, or other reasons."

To learn more:
- read the blog post

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