The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) launched the Triple Aim initiative in 2007. IHI defines the Triple Aim as a “framework for optimizing health system performance.” It was created for healthcare organizations to enhance a patients’ experience (i.e. quality, access, and reliability) while reducing the per capita cost of care.
The three objectives include:
- Improving the patient experience of care
- Improving the health of populations
- Reducing the per capita cost of health care
It is evident that most recent healthcare reform initiatives by the government regarding healthcare policy and funding, is fueled by the Triple Aim.
The three aims are not a new concept per se, but it wasn’t until government mandated healthcare reform, i.e Obamacare, that the Triple Aim became a sought-after goal for health organizations.
The Role of Analytics in the Triple Aim
In the era of Big Data, analytics plays an important role in achieving The Triple Aim. Utilizing analytics applications, health systems can now use their data to track performance improvements, which directly impacts The Triple Aim.
Fulfilling The Triple Aim is no easy task — it means that healthcare organizations need to analyze their previous and existing performance, then carryout solutions to improve. This complicated process entails a strong data infrastructure, as well the ability to measure performance on a consistent basis.
Not only do organizations need a strong data foundation, but they’ll need the ability to merge clinical, financial, administrative, and patient satisfaction data. A solution that provides these requirements is a healthcare enterprise data warehouse (EDW) platform. Sophisticated analytics can run on the platform, allowing organizations to execute a robust analysis on the data.
Achievement Through Analytics
Here are a few examples that showcases how analytics can fuel achieving the Triple Aim, according to HealthCatalyst:
- Improve the experience of care. Before Value-Based Purchasing, patient satisfaction vendors were vulnerable to financial cutbacks in hospitals. Today, however, health systems are requesting their analytics vendors to integrate the hospital’s Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) scores with an EDW, so they can analyze in detail how clinical quality affects patient satisfaction — which in turn, affects financial outcomes.
- Improve the health of populations. With the government’s new focus on improving the health of various populations of patients — accountable care, clinically integrated networks, and patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) are on the rise. These organizations are data-driven, focusing on improving the health of populations. Analytics are required to create population registries, understand gaps in care, stratify populations by risk, and ensure that each member of the population receives the necessary care.
- Reduce the per capita costs of healthcare. One of the most effective ways to improve the cost of care is to reduce variability. Variability in the cost and quality of care is, essentially, waste, and it is rampant in the healthcare industry. The Dartmouth Atlas Project has played an important role in drawing the nation’s attention to the wide variability in healthcare quality and costs across hospitals, states, and regions of the United States. What the industry has found is that the most expensive care is not necessarily the best care. Pinpointing variation in the quality and cost of care absolutely requires an analytics system to aggregate and analyze clinical and financial data. Once variation is identified, organizations can decide how best to address it — generally by standardizing best practices across the organization — and can then track improvement over time.
The Triple Aim is certainly influencing healthcare policy in the United States. The success of these models in improving population health, controlling costs, and making patients’ experience better will become even more evident sooner than later. But to successfully achieve the Triple Aim, implementing a powerful analytics system is necessary.