Helping Home Health Agencies Improve Heart Health in Kentucky One Milestone at a Time

Home Health Agency (HHA) staff work tirelessly to complete day-to-day tasks, so finding the time to review diagnosis-specific tracking information can be a challenge. Sometimes HHAs need a little outside help to pause, evaluate where they are and stay on the right path. Agency Director Sharon Branham wanted to improve the cardiovascular health of her patient population. atom Alliance offered to assist her in completing the Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign’s Cardio Milestones.

atom Alliance encourages HHAs to use the Best Practice Intervention Packages developed through the HHQI National Campaign to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) helps HHAs sign up for the Cardiovascular Data Registry to track progress related to the cardiac ABCS. Technical assistance offered to HHAs includes:

  • Utilization of health literacy and educational tools for patients,
  • Successful interventions and literature appropriate for all racial and ethnic beneficiaries, and
  • Intensive one-on-one technical assistance for HHAs experiencing staffing shortages or those with limited access to educational resources and literature.

Branham directs Home Care Health Service in Pike County and Highland Home Health, which serves Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin and Martin counties in Kentucky. She requested an atom Advisor meet onsite with her staff to give them some practical advice to achieve Cardio Milestones 3 and 4. To reach those goals, HHAs must:

  • Close one month of required patients’ data in the Home Health Cardiovascular Data Registry (HHCDR),
  • Download one HHCDR report from the secure HHQI Data Access System,
  • Enter and close a total of six months of required patients’ data in the HHCDR, and
  • Assess data reliability.

By working with the atom Advisor Kim Iman, the agencies quickly gained access to critical information allowing real-time review of cardio milestones. Once they received their log-in information, agency staff began working hands-on within the HHQI website, explained Iman who offered the HHQI website orientation.

“I explained what data could be obtained from using the website and how the information could be used to assist with Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI), Five Star Rating and overall quality outcomes,” said Iman.

She soon discovered areas where the agencies were categorizing data in a way that was not beneficial to their quality outcomes. Iman provided teleconferences, worked with Cindy Sun of HHQI and conducted in-person strategy sessions.

Sharon Branham

“With the HHQI team’s support, we were successfully implementing the discovered changes we could make to improve our outcomes. Soon after, we were thrilled that our efforts placed us at Level 5 all because we had the team of HHQI staff supporting our efforts,” said Branham. “Our goal was reached, and now we diligently use the processes they taught the teams to maintain our patients’ overall well-being. The team provided the tools and explanations to keep us on the road to better overall care management.”

She encourages every agency director to reach out to the HHQI team. Branham said “the assistance from our HHQI Kentucky staff encouraged my staff and helped us analyze our information to improve our outcomes. We found their knowledge to be valuable.”

For more information, please visit the atom Alliance website or contact Kim Iman at kiman@qsource.org.