By Dr. Patrick Torcson, Vice-President/Clinical Integration
For Physician Briefings, Vol. 6 No. 1, Spring 2014
In the summer 2013 edition of Briefings I wrote about clinical integration and introduced the St. Tammany Quality Network (STQN). STQN was created as a proactive response to the lightning pace of change going on in the healthcare delivery system and payment reform environment. STQN has been developing on schedule over the past few months. An important milestone for 2014 is the engagement of Dr. Mike Hill as the STQN medical director and Jack Khashou as the STQN executive director. With our leadership team in place we can accelerate the work of creating a high performing clinically integrated network.
Physician interest in STQN has exceeded expectations and at present we have over 100 provider applications to join the network. The prospective membership is reflective of the STPH medical staff and includes both adult and pediatric primary care as well as the full range of medical and surgical specialties. The soon to be posted STQN web site (www.stqn.org) will be the source for membership communication and other important information.
A primary goal of the STQN delivery system will be effective communication across all of the different care settings. STQN is investing in the information technology that will be necessary to accomplish this. As a first step, we are working with Relay Health, a health information exchange (HIE) that will facilitate two-way electronic communication between the different STQN clinic sites, local pharmacies, STPH (transcription, the emergency department, radiology and laboratory) and outside laboratory providers. The next phase of our IT strategy is a clinical disease registry that will help STQN manage high-risk patients and provide data on the quality of care that our physicians are providing. This is the information that we will be able to take to health plans to demonstrate the value of STQN and our preliminary discussions with the commercial health plans has provided very positive feedback.
The activity of STQN is gathering momentum. The physician committees are meeting regularly and are focused on developing the clinical performance measures that will drive our high performing network. We are evaluating the opportunity to become a CMS recognized Accountable Care Organization (ACO) to be prepared to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program in 2015. We will have much more to communicate at our first STQN membership meeting this spring. More information about the meeting will be forthcoming when the details are finalized.