May 2018 Letter from the Executive Director: Moving Beyond Data

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May 2018 Letter from the Executive Director: Moving Beyond Data

“A database is just a database unless you can actually take it to action.”

I made that statement when I spoke at the National Employer Summit last month and I want to expand on what I mean by it and why I think it’s so important.

Data is a crucial first step, but without mechanisms for taking action the data alone won’t produce much change. The Alliance goes to the next level by bringing together stakeholders from all parts of the health care system and gaining consensus on priority issues to be addressed. Our committees, comprised of experts in multiple areas, serve as a guide as we undertake this work.

In addition, our reports provide actionable information that allow members to gain new insights and work to improve value in health care. I want to highlight examples of the different kinds of actions that can be taken with Alliance reports and information.

  1. SEIU 775 Benefits Group is using our data to look at cost drivers and work with Kaiser Permanente Washington to improve their use of the Emergency Department. As a result, they have been able to reduce unnecessary ED admissions by 21% and reduce hospital readmittance by 36%.
  2. Premera Blue Cross used the Alliance’s new Patient Experience Report to talk with providers about comparative performance and encourage improvement in patient engagement.
  3. A purchaser member of the Alliance is using the methodology and focus areas identified in the “First, Do No Harm” report to evaluate overuse of services by their employee population and to further inform their benefits strategy going forward. A health plan member is using this same report to evaluate overuse within the commercially insured population to develop systematic ways to eliminate waste.
  4. A leading national research group is using results from the Community Checkup to inform their analysis of the characteristics that high quality providers share in common. A major vendor has used these same results to embed into a tool they license to purchasers to assist in identifying high quality primary care physicians.

These are just a few examples of how our members are using Alliance reports and data to lead health system improvement and move the market to value. If your organization is undertaking an improvement effort using Alliance reports or data, we’d love to hear about it. Please send us a note at and we’ll help spread the word about your work.

I’m also excited to announce that this summer we will be producing a new Hospital Value Report, which ranks 48 hospitals on cost, quality, and patient experience. We released the first version of this report last year and it was available only to Alliance members. We received outstanding feedback from members and this year we will be releasing highlights of the report to the public. We know this will drive additional interest in the work that is being done by our members, and we’re excited to see all the new ways you will use this report to drive improvement, as we have seen with so many of our other reports.

Thank you for partnering with us on this journey of health system improvement. We’re thrilled to see members taking action and we look forward to sharing more examples in the future!


Nancy A. Giunto
Executive Director
Washington Health Alliance

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