west virginia success stories

WV 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. 

We encourage you to read the success stories, contact us for more information, and also let us know if you have a Quality Insights' success storyto share.

Innovative Partnership Takes Aim at the Opioid Epidemic

For years, Quality Insights has partnered with healthcare providers and community agencies to improve patient safety, reduce harm and improve clinical care for the Medicare population.
Our continuing efforts to reduce cost, improve quality and improve the patient experience led to a new partnership – with emergency medical services. As part of a Community Paramedicine Special Innovation Project, Quality Insights is collaborating with the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority (KCEAA).

KCEAA is one of the most active emergency medical service providers in West Virginia. Through this community paramedicine initiative, the paramedics receive specialized training to provide interventions that support patients in their home setting.

“Both Quality Insights and KCEAA share a common goal of reducing opioid misuse and diversion as one means of keeping patients safe,” said Quality Insights Network Task Lead Biddy Smith, RN, MSN.

The most recent statewide claims data shows 17 percent of West Virginia’s high-risk Fee-for-Service Medicare beneficiaries who take opioids are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. Despite statewide efforts, this trend continues to rise. It’s a challenge that emergency medical service providers embrace. In their roles, they witness first-hand the adverse effects of opioid therapy.

One area identified for improvement was patient education. Quality Insights provided The Big 3 Adverse Drug Events Toolkit to the KCEAA to assist with opioid education efforts. Also, as more resources were developed, Quality Insights consulted the community paramedics, seeking input to ensure that the content was understandable and appropriate for patients.

This collaborative process was used to develop medication teach-back cards, which guide clinicians through an effective communication method to ensure that patients understand instructions. Today the cards are used throughout Quality Insights’ five-state network to assist healthcare providers when prescribing opioids.

Additionally, KCEAA determined that patients and families were in need of education on naloxone (Narcan®) in the event of an opioid overdose. In response, Quality Insights developed educational tools, such as a video and brochure titled The Slippery Slope of Opioid Use, for paramedics to share with patients and their families.

“This collaboration has directly supported medication safety efforts,” said Smith. “Particularly for those Medicare patients who are prescribed opioids.”

As a result of this collaboration, the KCEAA conducted medication reconciliation and education from September 2017 to September 2018. During that timeframe, paramedics identified 122 medication issues with 115 patients.

As this collaboration continues, it will pave the way to reduced costs and safer patients. “This effort serves as a great example of patient-centered collaboration across the continuum,” said Smith. “And we look forward to helping even more patients live healthier lives.”