Transforming Health Care Through Innovative Practices

Although great strides have been made to improve healthcare quality, opportunities exist to transform the way healthcare is delivered.

The facts still remain:

  • Close to one in three Americans lives with two or more chronic diseases. [1] Chronic diseases account for 71 cents of every dollar of healthcare spending [2] and are one of the main causes of poor health, disability, and death. [1]
  • An estimated $750 million is wasted in the healthcare system annually, much due to poor patient flow between healthcare settings. [3]
  • Americans with behavioral health conditions face shorter life expectancies and poorer health outcomes due to barriers accessing needed services. [4]

The power to turn the tide is present now within the healthcare system. For example, research shows that patients and their families, who are more involved in their healthcare, experience better health outcomes, access to care, and incur lower healthcare-associated costs. [5]

The Strategic Innovative Engine (SIE), the latest addition to CMS’ Quality Improvement Organization program, is working to identify, evaluate and spread proven quality improvement practices. It is seeking innovative ideas from throughout the health care system that will further CMS’ three-part aim of better care, healthier people and communities and smarter spending.

The SIE recently announced a “Call for Innovative Practices” inviting organizations to submit an application on any or all of five topics describing how they created or adapted an innovative practice. The application requires information on the practice’s alignment with the CMS quality goals, design, implementation, results, lessons learned and adaptability.   The five topics are:

  • Managing multiple chronic conditions
  • Engaging patients and families as active members of the care team
  • Coordinating care within and across settings
  • Streamlining patient flow
  • Integrating behavioral health into care

An Executive Leadership Council composed of nationally recognized thought leaders guided the topic selection to where the greatest gains can be made and untapped pockets of value exist.   “I urge all organizations involved in quality improvement to take the time to share their effective practices in these critically important areas,” stated Donald Berwick, M.D., a member of the SIE’s Executive Leadership Council. “By spreading your work to other organizations, you can positively impact patient outcomes throughout the health care system.”

Applications are due on July 1, 2016. A panel of Subject Matter Experts in each topic will evaluate each application and determine which practices are ready for spread throughout the healthcare community.

To facilitate widespread adoption, selected innovative practices will be compiled into topic-specific Quality Improvement Innovation Packages (QIIPs) and broadly disseminated to appropriate front line providers throughout the healthcare community. A second phase of the SIE will focus on identifying and harvesting effective technical assistance strategies.

If your organization has created or adapted a practice that has improved patient care the SIE wants to hear from you. Submit an application for consideration of your practice to be spread within the healthcare community. You’ll receive public recognition for the work you’ve done and broad dissemination of your activities that others can test and/or implement. Visit our website to sign up for our mailing list and stay up to date with SIE activities.


[1] Bauer, U.E., Briss, P.A., Goodman, R.A., et al. (2014). Prevention of Chronic Disease in the 21st Century: Elimination of the Leading Preventable Causes of Premature Death and Disability in the USA. The Lancet, 384(9937):45-52.
[2] Gerteis J., Izrael D., Deitz D., et al. (2014). Multiple Chronic Conditions Chartbook. AHRQ Publications No, Q14-0038. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 
[3] Institute of Medicine. Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2013. doi:10.17226/13444.
[4] Scharf, D. M., Eberhart, N. K., Schmidt, N., Vaughan, C. A., Dutta, T., Pincus, H. A., & Burnam, M. A. (2013). Integrating Primary Care Into Community Behavioral Health Settings: Programs and Early Implementation Experiences. Psychiatric Services, 64(7), 660-665.
[5] Ray-Sannerud, B., Dolan, D., Morrow, C., Corso, K., Kanzler, K., Corso, M., & Bryan, C. (2012). Longitudinal outcomes after brief behavioral health intervention in an integrated primary care clinic. American Psychological Association, 30(1), 60-71.