How can the United States best achieve the goals of the National Quality Strategy?
How can a state or region solve its healthcare cost and quality problems?
The best approach to improving healthcare quality and controlling costs without rationing is to work through Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives. A Regional Health Improvement Collaborative (RHIC) provides a neutral, trusted mechanism through which all of the key healthcare stakeholders in a state or region -- physicians, hospitals, health plans, employers, and patients -- can plan, facilitate, and coordinate the many different activities required for successful transformation of its healthcare system.
Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives play five kinds of roles that will be critical to the successful implementation of healthcare reform at the local level:
- Performance Measurement: Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives provide actionable information about the cost and quality of healthcare services, the health of the population, and/or the extent to which state-of-the-art methods of delivery, payment, and health promotion are being used in their community. You can see examples of what Collaboratives are doing to make information on healthcare performance available to their communities here.
- Payment and Delivery System Reform: Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives serve as neutral planning and problem-solving forums where win-win multi-payer, multi-provider payment and delivery reforms can be designed. You can see examples of what Collaboratives are doing to advance payment and delivery system reform in their communities here.
- Training and Assistance in Performance Improvement: Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives operate programs which enable physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, and other healthcare professionals to obtain affordable training, coaching, and technical assistance on ways to analyze problems in care delivery and ways to design and successfully implement solutions. You can see examples of how Collaboratives are providing training and assistance to help healthcare providers in their communities improve performance here.
- Patient Education and Engagement: Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives help citizens in their communities (a) understand and actively engage in activities that will maintain and improve their health, (b) choose providers and services based on their cost and quality, and (c) support the delivery of higher quality, more coordinated care. You can see examples of how Collaboratives are helping patients in their communities to improve their health and make more value-based choices here.
- Strategic Planning and Coordination: Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives can play critical planning, coordinating, and support roles that will ensure that healthcare reform efforts are designed and implemented successfully in their communities.
There are over 40 Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives in the U.S. carrying out one or more of these functions in order to help their communities improve the quality of healthcare services while controlling skyrocketing costs. The leading Collaboratives are members of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI). NRHI members provide programs to support improved healthcare for over 110 million Americans - 35% of the U.S. population.
NRHI is the national membership association for Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives. NRHI works to support the efforts of Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives by:
- Increasing the awareness of policy-makers and healthcare professionals about the key role that Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives play;
- Providing technical assistance to Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives in addressing specific challenges they face;
- Facilitating the ability of Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives to share the practical knowledge they develop in order to help all Collaboratives improve;
- Assisting additional communities to establish Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives;
- Encouraging the development and implementation of healthcare payment systems, benefit designs, and regulatory structures at the federal, state, and local levels which support improved population health and higher-value healthcare delivery systems; and
- Advocating for national policies and programs that support the work of Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives.