New Jersey success stories

NJ Local Success Stories
Quality improvement endeavors can often feel overwhelming, but chances are, you can learn from the experiences that another physician, hospital or nursing home has had in a similar situation. Coupled with support from Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, learning what has worked for others — and what didn't — is a valuable strategic planning component. View local stories about the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program

New Jersey Organization Uses Data to Improve Patient Safety

An accountable care organization (ACO) in Monmouth County, NJ has taken a unique, data-driven approach to improving opioid prescribing habits within its service area. With Quality Insights as its partner, the outlook is promising.
An ACO is a group of health care providers in an area that get together voluntarily to share insight, interventions and data in the hopes of providing coordinated care that results in better outcomes and lower costs. The central NJ ACO was formed in 2013, but more recently, the organization created a multi-disciplinary population health sub-committee. It wanted to look at population health issues that could impact patient care. The committee decided to make it a priority to analyze patterns of opioid prescribing and healthcare utilization within its service area.

The ACO turned to Quality Insights for assistance with the data. As the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for a five-state area, which includes New Jersey, Quality Insights has experience in performing data analysis on a large scale. Quality Insights was able to provide the ACO with some ideas for data analysis as a starting point. Quality Insights also shared educational resources about opioids and opioid prescribing.

The ACO began by looking at data from calendar year 2016 as a baseline. It then started tracking combined opioid and benzodiazepine use quarterly starting in 2017. During that time, the population health sub-committee pharmacist researched the prescription drug monitoring database laws in NJ as well as general opioid prescribing best practices.

Since ACOs are a fairly new concept, there is no blueprint for what interventions or activities are most beneficial or impactful. So, since there was a lack of a prior model for this type of data analysis, these were unchartered waters. However, the organization has remained diligent in their efforts. The organization continues to monitor data quarterly. The pharmacist is also working with one of the ACO health system’s commercial payers to identify and educate high opioid prescribers.