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The way care is currently delivered to patients varies widely from hospital to hospital and even from physician to physician. (Carolyn Kaster/​The Associated Press)

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) today announced a $5.49 million grant to the High Value Healthcare Collaborative (HVHC) to develop a first-of-its-kind learning network for disseminating best practices across HVHC’s member health systems, which serve 20 percent of the U.S. population. The network will design strategies to accelerate the spread of best practice care models identified through data sharing and collaboration among members.

The way care is currently delivered to patients varies widely from hospital to hospital and even from physician to physician. That means some patients may receive treatment for a common condition such as diabetes or congestive heart failure that is less effective or more costly than other treatment approaches. While experts have demonstrated ways to improve value in certain settings, the lack of coordination across health systems and the absence of a framework for broad-scale changes among different types of providers can lead to a years-long gap between the time that breakthrough treatments or practices are identified and the point at which they are widely adopted. Thus, improving communication and knowledge sharing is critical to saving lives and money.

HVHC’s learning network will provide clinicians with access to information and the resources needed to administer evidence-based treatment strategies that have been shown to make a difference in other hospitals. With funding from LJAF, HVHC will create the infrastructure to support a coordinated effort among its 17 health systems. It will also develop training programs and provide technical assistance for integrating evidence-based evaluation and care methods into hospital operations.

Spreading the learnings and great work that our member health systems have accomplished together with multi-disciplinary teams allows equal opportunity to deliver evidence-based care to every patient,” said Dr. James N. Weinstein, CEO and President of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, one of the founding members of HVHC.

As part of this effort, HVHC members have committed to an unprecedented level of transparency. Each health system will contribute detailed data about outcomes, cost, and treatment that will allow the collaborative to carry out an in-depth study of the challenges clinical teams face. The data pool will enable HVHC to pinpoint successful policies and practices that can be replicated across a diverse healthcare delivery system collaborative.

HVHC has created a learning commons’ that is poised to uniquely and quickly identify, test, replicate, and spread innovations in healthcare delivery,” said Lucy Savitz, HVHC Board member and Director of Research & Education at The Institute for Health Care Delivery Research at Intermountain Healthcare, one of the founding members of HVHC.

HVHC will first test collaboration and training strategies by identifying and deploying the critical resources needed to support frontline healthcare teams as they learn how to provide the best care to patients with sepsis. Sepsis is a complication that occurs when chemicals produced by the patient to fight infection are released into the bloodstream, triggering widespread inflammation. Sepsis is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals, in part because early symptoms mimic the flu — making it difficult for doctors to diagnose. Once diagnosed, a specific set of treatments must be delivered within a specified period of time. HVHC hospitals piloting this evidence-based care model produced early improvements in survival rates and are comparing data among the pilot sites to identify which had better dissemination methods. Now, a team of doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and pharmacists will engage staff across the collaborative in hands-on training and will track the effectiveness of that training by monitoring patient outcomes and cost savings. If the team demonstrates widespread, measurable gains in sepsis outcomes, HVHC will apply the tested dissemination framework to improve treatment methods for other conditions and diseases.

In order to improve patient outcomes and lower costs, doctors and hospitals need better access to relevant information and a support system that will allow them to implement innovative practices,” LJAF Vice President of Venture Development Kelli Rhee explained. By determining what works’ and promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing, HVHC will create a scalable model that can be used to rapidly increase value in the healthcare system.”

The first HVHC trial will begin in 2016. Researchers will publish articles and reports about their findings and will make them publicly available on the HVHC website.

About the High Value Healthcare Collaborative

The High Value Healthcare Collaborative (HVHC) is a consortium of 17 healthcare delivery systems that collectively serves millions of people across the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Convened by The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice HVHC’s mission is to improve healthcare value for consumers. The ultimate goal of the HVHC is to work together to improve patient care and improve the health of our populations, while simultaneously reducing costs and to serve as a model for the nation. www​.high​val​ue​health​care​.org