2017 marked the first year of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Quality Payment Program, which aims to improve care delivery by supporting and rewarding clinicians as they find new ways to engage patients, families and caregivers, and to improve care through population health management.
To help eligible clinicians prepare for and participate in the program, Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs) like the New England QIN-QIO—which represents the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont—provided technical assistance to clinicians in the form of outreach and education, resource development, and support. While the New England QIN-QIO conducted some traditional forms of outreach to clinicians, including webinars, in-person learning sessions and content documents, the QIN-QIO felt that something was missing.
“Clinicians are a really tough group to engage face-to-face, so we tried to find alternate ways of sharing information with them,” said Nancy Kelly, communications lead for the New England QIN-QIO.
Kelly’s colleague Leila Volinsky—regional Quality Payment Program lead—and her team weighed other options for helping clinicians decide how to best participate and what measures to use for reporting in the Quality Payment Program. One of the ideas they decided to pursue was a blog. Launched in February 2017, “QIN-telligence” features a variety of Quality Payment Program-related topics, from information on quality measures, to proposed rule changes, to reminders for clinicians to capture data by the deadline. By the end of December 2017, the QIN-QIO’s blog had 2,344 page views, 1,858 of which were unique.
“Clinicians have different learning styles, schedules and levels of understanding and desire, so our tailored approach has helped tremendously,” said Volinsky. “We’re trying to help clinicians avoid paying a penalty and to minimize the burden on them,” she added.
Clinicians seem to appreciate the New England QIN-QIO’s efforts. “This service has saved our practice a significant amount of time and money,” said one testimonial. Another clinician credited the QIN-QIO with bringing “incredible knowledge and information to our group."
"Clinicians have different learning styles, schedules and levels of understanding and desire, so our tailored approach has helped tremendously."
From an overall outreach perspective, the New England QIN-QIO also has been quite successful. Through the organization’s work targeting physician practices with more than 15 clinicians, the QIN-QIO conducted outreach to 75% of the region’s 50,000 eligible clinicians, and 100% of them plan to participate in the Quality Payment Program for 2017.
Moving forward, the New England QIN-QIO will continue making blog posts to help communicate important information about the Quality Payment Program to clinicians in 2018 and beyond. The QIN-QIO also plans to continue holding regular webinars.
The relationships that the New England QIN-QIO and other regional QIN-QIOs have developed with clinicians in the past year may expand as the physician practices become more aware of the QIN-QIOs’ other clinical quality improvement activities in which they can become involved. “So many practices were unaware of us and our work,” said Kelly. “Now they’re grateful.”