Published: September 27, 2022

For 25 years, the Vizient® Performance Improvement (PI) Collaboratives Program has been bringing hospitals together to address some of the industry’s most pressing issues, such as health equity, workplace violence, sepsis early recognition and clinical-supply integration. In 2022, participating organizations have achieved more than $192 million in value across the three program components through cost avoidance and enhanced revenue.

“2022 is shaping up to be a remarkable year for members participating in the PI Collaboratives Program,” says Laural Whitmore, vice president, improvement collaboratives. “It is amazing to watch these organizations come together and invest their time in a variety of improvement projects and then see the value that work is generating for their organizations and communities.” 

Leveraging analytics for improvement

The PI Collaboratives Program was originally developed as a companion to the Vizient Clinical Data Base (CDB). Leveraged by more than 1,050 hospital facilities, the CDB tracks hundreds of comparative metrics so that hospitals can benchmark themselves against their peers to reduce care variation and identify performance improvements. “To identify improvement opportunities, you need data and our CDB has become the nation’s definitive analytic platform for performance improvement. Once you have identified those opportunities with that data, you also need a process around making improvements,” says Julie Cerese, group senior vice president, performance management & national networks. “That’s where the PI Collaboratives Program comes in with its framework, national benchmarking data, actionable insights and opportunity to work with peers. The two programs are explicitly linked to provide the proven results participants have seen for 25 years.”

The PI Collaboratives Program is included in the Vizient Member Networks experience and provides the opportunity to participate in PI collaboratives, integrated performance solutions and benchmarking studies at no additional cost. The flexible program allows members to participate in the components that are most appropriate for them. “We’ve designed the program with a variety of opportunities that closely align with members’ strategic priorities and that meet them wherever they are on their improvement journey,” says Whitmore.

Supporting members at every stage

The PI Collaboratives component provides a variety of facilitated improvement projects each year that are typically six months long and split into two phases. The first is structured education, starting with an introductory webinar, followed by additional webinars that share evidence-based leading practices and implementation strategies. The second phase is structured implementation. Organizations are grouped into smaller, facilitated cohorts and provided with research and insights, subject matter expert coaching and networking calls to implement improvement efforts and discuss outcome measures. “I continually hear from members that they find tremendous value in the program’s collaborative design because it provides a place where they can talk about their successes and challenges with each other and get real-time feedback from their peers and subject matter experts,” says Whitmore.

The Integrated Performance Solution (IPS) component was recently introduced because some topics need executive participation at the strategy level. “We know that certain types of improvements require an executive-level strategy to be developed before operationalization can be discussed. For those topics—such as health equity or care at home, for example—we developed the IPS component,” says Whitmore. The IPS includes four parts—thought leadership, strategy accelerator, PI Collaboratives and Member-Backed Ventures—and members can participate in any or all of them. Whitmore notes that some members might find after the thought leadership component that they’re not quite ready to progress to strategy, while some members might request additional support from Vizient or Sg2 to develop or advance their strategy.

Program participants can also choose to participate in benchmarking studies, which are topical exploratory studies asking participants qualitative and quantitative questions to provide organizations with exclusive benchmark information. The exploratory data studies provide members an opportunity to compare and assess their performance with exclusive data that can be used to identify improvement opportunities for further action. The studies are led by member steering committees which plan the project scope, key performance measures and data collection survey. Participants receive organization-specific dashboards which provide their results compared to similar cohorts within the project.

The PI Collaboratives Program also has developed a vast library of performance improvement resources available on demand, along with access to exclusive Vizient Community groups devoted to performance improvement. Project and study results are compiled and presented in webinars and written documents that are available to all program members. Reports provide topic-specific information with leading practices, member examples, action steps and tools for improvement.

Providing long-term impact

While it’s clear that time invested in the Vizient PI Collaboratives Program is having a meaningful impact on members and their communities as evidenced by annual aggregate member value through cost avoidance and enhanced revenue of more than $192 million in 2022 alone, improving outcomes can take time and must be sustainable. “When members complete these projects, some have been able to fully implement their plans and have seen positive results, while others may be just starting implementation,” says Whitmore.

Knowing that program participants have the tools and resources needed for long-term success, Vizient continued to track success for two years. “We started to track member outcomes longitudinally for two years. We saw a continued decline in mortality, length of stay, excess days and readmissions,” says Whitmore. “And in each of these cases, members who participate in projects continue to see improvement over time.”

Getting involved

Participating in the PI Collaboratives Program is simple. Later this fall, all participants in the Vizient Member Networks program will receive the 2023 offering guide, which will list all network offerings, including PI Collaboratives Program offerings as well as information about the member networks and leadership series. “We know that workforce and creating a culture of safety are pressing issues for our members, so we will be including opportunities for members to address these and other important issues during 2023,” says Whitmore.

Cerese advises that when the 2023 program guide is issued, diverse teams representing executive and physician leaders, quality and care management, and even pharmacy and materials management should come together to review the information. “We hope that diverse teams across our member organizations gather around a table for a planning session to review the 2023 PI Collaboratives Program offerings and discuss which opportunities align with their

priorities for the new year and identify three or four projects they want to work on collaboratively,” says Cerese.

If you are not currently a member of Vizient Member Networks and would like to learn more or if you’d like to learn more about the Vizient PI Collaboratives Program, email the Member Networks team today