HCI3 Update from the Field: It Takes a Bridge to Cross a Chasm

Submitted by francois.debrantes@hci3.org on Friday, August 17, 2012 - 12:35

Newtown, CT – Aug 17, 2012

It takes a bridge to cross a chasm, and that's why we named it Bridges To Excellence – In 2002, a group of employers that included GE, Verizon, UPS, Ford, P&G, and Raytheon decided to take the IOM's report on the Quality of Health Care in America to heart. In Crossing the Quality Chasm, the authors of the report pointed to the toxicity of the payment system as one of the main impediments to improving quality, and large employers responded within a year. We created Bridges To Excellence with a simple recipe: measure physician quality objectively, in a way that would engage clinicians in quality improvement, and reward them with a per employee bonus. At the time, we couldn't find a single health plan to execute this simple program. So we did it ourselves. And it grew and grew. We started with a couple of recognition programs focused on common chronic conditions, and followed up with the country's first program to measure "systemness" in physician practices. We called it the Physician Office Link. The NCQA, who consulted for us in the development of the Physician Office Link, then took this recognition on, named it the Physician's Practice Connection, and, subsequently, the Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition. Yes, this small group of employers, through Bridges To Excellence, invented, launched and field-tested what is now the broadest recognition program in the country. Since then we've added to the arsenal, building recognition programs for other chronic conditions, including Depression, always collaborating with experts along the way. Recently, with the American College of Cardiology, we launched the Cardiology Practice Recognition program, and in collaboration with the American Gastroenterological Association, we launched the IBD Care Recognition program.

What this means to you – recognizing and rewarding continues to be the most effective method to motivate professionals to reach for excellence. The feedback loop provided by the chronic condition recognition programs enables clinicians in practices to understand, almost real time, how all their patients with a specific condition are being managed. This year alone, hundreds of clinicians from coast to coast have joined the ranks of BTE-recognized. Large physician groups such as iPN in Colorado, Baylor-affiliated Health Texas network, and University of Texas Southwestern have all been recognized for high quality care in Diabetes, many at our highest level of Recognition. Cardiologists in Maine (Heart First), Connecticut (Thompsen), Florida (Heart and Vascular Institute, Central Florida Heart, Orlando Heart), Wisconsin (Wisconsin Heart and Vascular), Texas (Cardiovascular Specialists), Utah (Mountain West), and New Mexico (New Mexico Heart Institute) have all achieved Recognition through the comprehensive Cardiology Practice Recognition program. They have achieved these recognitions because of their high standards of professionalism and dedication to actively managing patients. They deserve to be recognized and rewarded, and employers and health plans across the country are making sure they are. It's a simple recipe, and like most simple recipes, it has stood the test of time. And we'll keep building more bridges until we can all walk over the quality chasm.


Francois de Brantes
Executive Director
Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, Inc.
w: www.hci3.org