The opinion pages of Sunday's New York Times sang the praises of a small Alaskan health care system that has combined a common-sense approach with technology and proactivity to produce remarkable results. Among its success factors is the aggressive use of data for both the medical and financial sides of the business.
Southcentral’s “data mall” coughs up easily understood graphics showing how well doctors and the teams they lead are doing to improve health outcomes and cut costs compared with their colleagues, their past performance and national benchmarks, and it provides them with action lists of what they can do to improve and mentors to guide them. That almost always spurs the laggards. One doctor whose team ranked well behind 10 others in scheduling annual eye exams for diabetics jumped to first place within two months once she became aware of how poorly her team was performing.