Case study: Intermountain Healthcare shares lessons in achieving Triple Aim

For today's primary care practices, the holy grail of delivering personalized, patient-centered care is actually three-fold. This "Triple Aim" consists of improved health for designated populations, better care experiences for patients and reduced cost of care. And while learning several lessons along the way, Intermountain Healthcare has achieved these goals, according to an article from H&HN.

The health system, which includes 22 hospitals, a medical group with 185 physician clinics and an affiliated health insurance company, attributes its success to the following main characteristics and priorities:

  • Team-based care. "Clinic-based teams must come together and dedicate themselves to improving key clinical processes," wrote Mark Briesacher, M.D., senior administrative medical director of the Intermountain Medical Group. Such teams may be made up of the following professionals: Primary care clinician, registered nurse care provider, medical assistant health advocate and advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. "There is significant additional expense with the introduction of care managers and health advocates," Briesacher noted, "and it takes two to three years to effectively and fully implement."

  • Mental health integration. According to Briesacher: "In our testing of mental health integration, we have found that clinics with such integration, when compared with clinics that lack it, have less medical expense with mental health diagnoses, less medical expense overall, lower utilization of the emergency department for all reasons, increased patient satisfaction, and increased clinician and team satisfaction."

  • Leadership at all levels.  The personalized model needs the support of local physician, nursing and operational leaders, according to Briesacher. In addition, to achieve direct engagement by the board of trustees and senior leadership, Intermountain's board sets specific goals, and senior leaders are directly tied to achieving them. The feedback loop created by this leadership structure is vital to ensuring an organization sees its goals through startup to return-on-investment. "There's an up-front cost that will be recouped later through the Triple Aim, and the results are not immediate," Briesacher concluded.

To learn more:
- read the article