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Cari Frank is the VP of Communication & Marketing of Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) headquartered in Denver. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and learn more at civhc.org.
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) is an objective, not-for-profit organization. We believe that health care should be affordable, and that together we can create a system that works for us all. Through data and information from the Colorado All Payer Claims Database (CO APCD), the state’s most comprehensive health care claims data set, we empower individuals, communities, and organizations to make informed decisions that improve quality, improve health and lower costs. Ultimately, we are driven by the value we provide to the Change Agents we serve which we do in four ways:
- Serve – We engage, support and collaborate with others to collectively advance the Triple Aim for a healthier Colorado.
- Engage – All voices are necessary to reshape our health care system and CIVHC is committed to meaningful collaboration with individuals, communities, and organizations.
- Educate – We help educate communities on resources, partnerships, data literacy, and innovations to accelerate the pace of change.
- Amplify – CIVHC promotes the successes and innovations of Change Agents, highlighting accomplishments and progress both locally and nationally.
My team’s strategic communication platform is multi-faceted, enabling us to most effectively serve, engage, educate and amplify our work and those of our Change Agent partners. It includes:
- Development and promotion of public reports and tools identifying ways Colorado can save money and improve health care
- Featuring the work of Change Agents who are doing innovative projects to advance the Triple Aim (better health, better care, lower cost) by hosting bi-monthly Change Agent Chat Podcasts and through a searchable Change Agent Gallery
- Hosting CIVHC Connect: Dollars & Sense events and webinars with local and national speakers to demonstrate how data is being used and create a platform for multi-stakeholder communication
- Providing website resources and promotion of our work and the work of others through our social media platforms
- Supporting internal communication with staff, our board and other critical groups like the CO APCD Advisory Committee.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? WHY DOES THE WORLD NEED YOU?
Health care is unaffordable for the majority of people in Colorado and the U.S., and our current trajectory of rising prices is unsustainable for our economy as a whole. The cost of health care is negatively impacting families and is taking away from essential resources in other areas like housing, transportation, and education. The data we collect in the Colorado All Payer Claims Database shines a light on opportunities to reduce cost, putting more money back in the pockets of Coloradans.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
Without data, it’s difficult to understand how to address a complex issue like health care, and where to start in order to make the biggest impact on cost savings and improving health. The data we provide both publicly and on a custom basis helps a variety of stakeholders including patients, employers, providers, payers, non-profits, legislators and state agencies determine where Colorado has the best opportunities for change. The data we provide is essential to create a common foundation of understanding upon which conversations can be focused on solutions rather than blame.
For consumers, our Shop for Care tool has had some great testimonials like the following that show the direct impact the information we provide is having on people’s pocketbooks:
“Good news. The hospital settled at the reasonable level of $2,226. Using data from Colorado All Payer Claims Database, I was able to make a case for a $14,000 reduction in the $16,385 bill. Thank you CIVHC, the information was invaluable in enabling me to achieve a fair outcome.” – Colorado Patient
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
Everyone deserves to have access to high-quality care at an affordable price. We are ultimately driven by the impact that our work has on the lives of Coloradans and others across the country who are collaborating with us to make positive change. We are improving lives, and that’s what inspires us to continue to make health care data more and more transparent and actionable.
WHAT’S YOUR VISION, YOUR BIG DREAM, FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
We envision a future when systemic solutions to our health care crisis are being implemented statewide and across the U.S. using actionable data from the CO APCD and other sources that help us understand all aspects of our complex system. We believe that together we can and must change the trajectory of our current health care system.
Our big dream is to see significant decreases in the overall cost of health care and premiums with simultaneous improvements in both quality and the health of Coloradans. We cannot simply address cost without also ensuring that people continue receiving access to the highest quality, most efficient care possible.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THAT DREAM COME TRUE?
Resource constraints have been our biggest limiting factor. There was initially no state funding to support the CO APCD, although it is a state-mandated database. Beginning in the next fiscal year, we will begin receiving funding from the state to support the operational costs of the database and to provide state analytics and public reports on cost and quality. Having additional resources to support enhancing our analytic capacity and is essential to our success and ability to serve all stakeholders with reliable, timely information.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING?
As mentioned above, determining a solid sustainability model has been our biggest challenge to date. We’ve had to seek additional state funding and grant funding to continue operating the CO APCD. As a start-up organization, we’ve grown substantially since the development of the CO APCD and have had to build up resources to ensure that we can meet the increasing demand on our staff for more public and custom report analysis. Process and quality improvement are a major focus for us right now and making that a priority takes time away from other projects and work that we have to continue to get done for our Change Agent partners.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Stop and listen – not only to your customers but to your team and colleagues. Your staff is your most important asset and giving them a voice is the most important thing you can do to meet and exceed your goals. When you empower and support your team, your work goes from mediocre to excellent.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT THE IMPORTANT WORK YOU’RE DOING?
Whether you are a patient shopping for low cost/high-value health care or someone providing or paying for health care, we all have a role to play in making our system work for all of us. If you’re not sure where to start, contact us and we can point you to resources that can help you take the first step.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Help spread the word that we exist as a resource for patients and other stakeholders looking for data to support health care decision making. We don’t have a budget for advertising to consumers, so we rely on partners and word of mouth to spread the word that patients can shop for common services like MRIs, knee and hip replacements, and deliveries. We are also looking for grant and/or contract support for multi-state and statewide data analytic projects that can identify innovations in things like payment models and reducing low-value care.
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