August 11, 2017

CCHE joins project to build local clinic capacity faster and better


A pilot program supported by Kaiser Permanente will boost clinical, operational, and financial performance of safety net clinics, with CCHE evaluating

“Transformation Accelerator” could be the title of a summer action film. Instead, it’s a potential blockbuster model for helping safety net health care providers get better and faster at improving care.

The Transformation Accelerator (TA) program is supporting safety net organizations with regional Kaiser Permanente partners by providing them with tailored plans to rapidly build capacity in six domains: leadership, improvement capability, clinical informatics, analytics, care redesign, and financial management. The program will connect organizations to resources, and provide coaching to help them achieve their goals. TA is currently being piloted in two Kaiser Permanente regions, Mid-Atlantic and Northern California.

Evaluation of the TA program is led by Maggie Jones, MPH, associate director of the Center for Community Health and Evaluation (CCHE) at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI). Jones received a two-year $121,563 grant from the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan for the work. Other CCHE team members on the project are Erin Hertel, MPA, senior research associate/program manager, and Juno Matthys, research specialist.

Jones says that CCHE already has a productive relationship with the Center for Care Innovations (CCI), the Oakland, California-based nonprofit entity that is running the TA program. CCI’s mission is accelerating innovations for community health care organizations.

“We’ve worked with CCI on the evaluation of many of their safety net capacity-building programs,” Jones says. “We’re working together on the PHASE (Preventing Heart Attacks and Strokes Everyday) initiative in Northern California, funded by Kaiser Permanente.” The TA model aims to complement existing regional improvement initiatives, so in Northern California, the TA pilot program will add infrastructure and resources to PHASE.

CCHE was part of TA planning and initiation, Jones says. Because each safety net health organization is different, participating organizations undergo an initial assessment to determine their existing capacity and specific needs. Baseline data from the assessment are used to create a plan for improving the organization’s operation and to determine how best to monitor and evaluate progress toward its goals.

After the pilot phase, possible expansion

If successful, TA may be expanded to safety net initiatives in additional Kaiser Permanente regions, as part of the Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit overall goal of scaling up and spreading health improvement initiatives. The CCHE team’s evaluation is critical to measuring program success. For example, the team will be surveying and interviewing leaders and staff at participating safety net organizations. They will measure if the organizations achieve their goals of improving clinical, operational, or financial performance and will evaluate how the health of their patient populations is affected. CCHE will also identify factors that indicate an organization’s readiness to participate in programs like TA.

Currently, Jones says, her CCHE team has designed the evaluation plan and all participating health centers have completed their baseline assessments. “Now,” Jones says, “CCI is working with the health centers to complete their roadmaps for improvement and beginning to offer coaching.” The pilot will be complete by the end of January 2019.


by Chris Tachibana

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