In 2015, Memorial Hermann embarked on a new adventure in the journey towards population health through the initiation of the Accountable Care Organization Service Line (ACOSL) projects. Under the auspices of the Memorial Hermann Accountable Care Organization (ACO), these projects aim to increase efficiency and decrease cost for Medicare inpatients in the areas of Orthopedics, Heart and Vascular and Hospital Medicine.
In its inaugural year, these projects saved approximately $1.7 million dollars. These savings are directly attributable to the efforts and commitment of our affiliated physicians, who strive to provide the very best evidence-based care in the most efficient and coordinated way possible.
Quality Data and Processes Shape Care
Shahid Rahman, M.D., an interventional cardiologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Greater Heights, leads the hospital’s Heart and Vascular ACO Service Line projects.
“ACOs are a new way of looking at health care,” says Dr. Rahman. “There is an ACO Service Line projects team for Hospital Medicine, Heart and Vascular and Orthopedics. Each team examines performance metrics to demonstrate the value of care to patients. For example, cardiologists used to consider it a success to open up a patient’s blocked artery with a stent after a heart attack. Now, with the ACO Service Line structure, we take a holistic approach, ensuring that kidney function remains stable throughout hospitalization, all medications shown to save lives are administered, and a referral to cardiac rehabilitation is made when the patient leaves the hospital.”
Through the ACO Service Line, quality gaps are addressed and optimum processes and procedures are developed to improve patient care and reduce hospital re-admissions. At Memorial Hermann Greater Heights, follow-up care is particularly important for patients leaving the hospital, so numerous procedures help ensure patients continue their care with the appropriate healthcare professionals.
“Medicine is no longer the lone wolf doctor, but a team sport,” says Dr. Rahman. “For example, a patient who experiences a heart blockage needs a great critical care team, cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon, nurses and other caregivers in the hospital, but also a nutritionist, a physical therapist, primary care physician and other caregivers after leaving the hospital. The ACO Service Line helps unify all the healthcare providers into one group where patient care information is shared.”
Coordinated Care Throughout the Community
Dr. Rahman praises the extensive Memorial Hermann Health System network that provides patients with coordinated care throughout Greater Houston. Should he treat patients at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights who live in, or decide to move to, another area of town, he can refer them to a Memorial Hermann cardiovascular clinic closer to their homes.
“Memorial Hermann can touch lives throughout Greater Houston by providing the highest level of care needed by a patient. As a personal example, I had a patient at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights who needed a heart and lung bypass machine. I called the Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center, and within minutes, the machine and a cardiothoracic surgeon arrived at our hospital via Memorial Hermann Life Flight®, connected the patient to the machine and transported him downtown to continue his care.”
To learn more about Memorial Hermann Greater Heights, visit memorialhermann.org/heights.