When you visualize the ideal primary care experience, is palliative care an integrated part of the care in clinics and physician offices? Are front-line hospital staff empowered and educated to facilitate primary palliative care and is a consultation team available to support staff and provide more complex specialty-level palliative care? Has discharge planning evolved to be transitional care management with the active integration of palliative care for high-risk patients? If the answer is, "Yes," you are leading the way in an important approach to support patients and families. Your vision will support the essential skills to improve population health and reduce unnecessary readmissions.
If your organization is working out its leadership role in the full continuum of care, we have some great ideas and models for you. Whether termed palliative care, supportive care, or advanced illness management, they are key examples of innovations to spur success in the new world of health care delivery.
Many of these ideas and models have come to light in the past 13 years of the Circle of Life Award: Celebrating Innovation in Palliative and End-of-Life Care. I have served on the award committee since 2008 and this year I am privileged to chair this dynamic committee. And, in 2001, my hospice and palliative care organization received a Circle of Life Award. The 2012 award shines the light on hospices, acute care hospitals, an acute care specialty hospital, a children's hospital, and a health care system, and their innovative approaches facilitate coordinated and seamless patient-centered care, higher quality of life and satisfaction for patients and families, and more effective resource use. The 2012 Circle of Life winner Sharp HealthcCare demonstrates the concept of primary care case -finding with advanced illness management. The Citation of Honor recipient St. Joseph Hospital highlights palliative care integration across settings. Each program has important elements of palliative and end-of-life care and may spark further innovations in the field and within your own organization. These stories — and updates from previous winners — can be found at www.aha.org/circleoflife.
Recent committee site visits to the potential 2013 honorees found important progress in bringing palliative care into the full care continuum, with organizations taking a thoughtful approach to how palliative care fits into accountable care organizations, pay-for-performance arrangements, and the growing emphasis on population health. 2013 honoree names will be released in July and their stories shared at the Health Forum and AHA Leadership Summit and in the August issue of Hospitals & Health Networks.
Other case studies are available from recent American Hospital Association reports:
- Advanced Illness Management Strategies (www.aha.org/content/12/aims_strategies.pdf)
- Advanced Illness Management Strategies: Engaging the Community and a Ready, Willing and Able Workforce, Part 2 (www.aha.org/content/12/aims_strategies_part2.pdf)
- Palliative Care Services: Solutions for Better Patient Care and Today's Health Care Delivery Challenges (http://www.hpoe.org/resources/hpoehretaha-guides/1148).
I urge organizations to share innovative palliative and end-of-life services and programs by applying for the 2014 Circle of Life Award. The 2014 application is available at www.aha.org/circleoflife. Support for the award comes from the California HealthCare Foundation, based in Oakland and Cambia Health Foundation. Major sponsors of the award are the American Hospital Association, Catholic Health Association of the United States, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and National Hospice Foundation. Co-sponsors are the Alliance for Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Nursing, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and the National Association of Social Workers.
Martha Twaddle, M.D., is chief medical officer, Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter, Glenview, lll.
News from the AHA
July Leadership Summit: Big issues, a little Magic
Registration is under way for the Health Forum and AHA Leadership Summit taking place July 25–27 in San Diego. This year's event will focus on coordinating and managing care for patients and populations in a new era of health care. It also will feature a variety of keynote speakers, including Donald Berwick, M.D.; Eric Topol, M.D.; former pilot and now CBS constributor Sully Sullenberger; and Magic Johnson. Early-bird savings are available for those who register by June 1. Visit www.healthforum-edu.com/summit/.
AHA offers Health Care Transformation Fellowship
The AHA Health Care Transformation Fellowship is an intensive interactive program providing senior health care leaders with the implementation skills to help their organizations execute delivery and payment system transformation. The program focuses on four areas: (1) physician relationships; (2) population/community health and partnerships; (3) partnerships with payers and public health organizations and (4) navigating financial risk. It includes three learning retreats with expert faculty, three webinars, a fellowship project and advisory sessions with AHA staff. To learn more or apply, visit www.hpoe.org/HealthCareTranformationFellowship.
An easy-to-use resource to access data on hospitals
The AHA DataViewer offers easy and flexible access to AHA's proprietary information from the AHA Annual Survey of Hospitals, IT Supplement Survey and AHA membership data. This data, now available as the AHA Hospital Database, the AHA Healthcare IT Database and the Healthcare Systems Database are accessible in an easy-to-use interface that allows users to create custom data files to address business and analysis needs. It includes more than 1,000 data fields on 6,500 hospitals and health systems and can be used for benchmarking, sales, business and product development. Visit www.ahadataviewer.com.