Happy New Year!
As mentioned in last month’s commentary, we at the Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP) are very excited for what the IAP has in store this year. With all of our program areas almost up and running with selected states, we are now equally focused on supporting states’ work in IAP’s four functional areas - Data Analytics, Quality Measurement, Performance Improvement, and Payment Modeling and Financial Simulations. (Visit the IAP Functional Areas webpage for more information.)
The focus of this commentary is performance improvement -- we are learning a lot about how to best incorporate this work into all our IAP activities. Performance improvement encompasses methods and tools developed in the field of quality improvement. There are fundamental elements to approaching performance improvement, such as the need to set measurable goals or aims at the start, structured methods for testing change ideas prior to full implementation, and measurement to inform learning and confirm improvement. Using a framework that incorporates these fundamentals increases the odds of sustained improvement. For the purposes of the IAP, we focus on the creation and use of driver diagrams – a tool which helps frame improvement aims, determine the predicted drivers of change, and identify measures to monitor progress. Establishing a theory of change in such a driver diagram at the earliest phase of the initiative is essential for success and provides a starting point for the development of states’ overall project plans.
As we continue to embed performance improvement within IAP, we are supporting Medicaid programs’ by providing participating states with a performance improvement coach and increasing our internal knowledge and use of performance improvement methods (yes, IAP staff are participating in trainings and developing driver diagrams for our program areas too!). In 2016 we will also host a web-based learning series open to all state Medicaid programs on performance improvement methods and techniques. Our goal is to work internally and with states to realize and demonstrate the benefits of a performance improvement approach in driving Medicaid programs forward. This goal is further solidified by our Agency-wide emphasis and priority on building performance improvement and LEAN approaches into all of our work.
We look forward to continuing to work with states on addressing their goals and, later this year rolling out a series of webinars for all states to learn more about performance improvement methods and tools. In the spirit of performance improvement, email us if you have any questions or suggestions for IAP at MedicaidIAP@cms.hhs.gov.