Healthcare News & Insights

Partnership with carrier improves patient outcomes

Collaboration to improve patient outcomes is becoming the norm for hospitals. Some hospitals have even forged partnerships with an unlikely source – private insurance carriers.

Although such a collaborative effort is a bit different from the norm, here’s why you should consider participating, if given the opportunity: It’s been shown to produce impressive results in terms of improving patient care.

For example, a group of 22 bariatric surgery hospitals in Michigan partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield.  The result, the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative, was “designed to make weight-reducing bariatric surgery safer and potentially less costly across the state,” according to the insurer’s website.

Doctors from the hospitals worked with the insurance company to share info about procedures and their outcomes. The data was analyzed to find out which methods produced the fewest complications.

Representatives from Blue Cross met with hospital representatives several times a year to discuss the findings, and the hospitals used the info to implement changes.

The result of this partnership? Both readmissions and emergency room visits for patients decreased by 35% over a three-year period. And overall complications for patients decreased by 24%.

Previously, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan partnered with 52 Michigan hospitals and 138 physicians as part of the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative.

Here, the hospitals also shared data about patient outcomes and care. The goal was to reduce complications after surgery and accelerate the adoption of best practices by hospitals.

As a result, the collaborative reduced surgical site infections by 18% over a four-year period. Post-surgery complications were reduced by nearly 3% in the same time period.

And the practices implemented as a result of the collaborative led to a cost savings of $85 million.

Findings from these partnerships indicate that sharing data across hospitals is the way to go in determining best practices for patient care.

As Medicare moves toward an accountable care organization model, where reimbursement is tied to meeting quality measures, voluntarily reporting data about patient treatment and outcomes now will be beneficial in the future. With more data available for analysis, hospitals will be able to get more ideas to provide better quality care.

For more info about the collaboration between Blue Cross Blue Shield and Michigan hospitals, visit

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