Colorado Beacon Consortium
About Colorado Beacon Consortium
The Colorado Beacon Consortium brings together physician leaders, hospitals, a community-based health information exchange, and a local payer to develop and implement new ways to improve the quality and patient experience of health care while controlling costs. The region-wide alliance strengthens the existing health information technology infrastructure and advances patient-centered primary care, to provide better care for the 320,000 patients the Consortium serves.
Overview of Activities
The Colorado Beacon Consortium engages more than half of the region's primary care practices through Learning Collaboratives and onsite consultations, leading the medical practices forward in their ability to report quality measures and take action on the results. The Consortium accomplishes this through team-based improvement in two complementary but distinct tracks. The first initiative is intended to transform primary care practices by enabling them to achieve meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs) under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, which in Stage 1 requires meeting a set of objectives to capture and exchange clinical data. Onsite consultants help the practices redesign their clinical workflow to integrate health information technology for quality measure reporting, and the Learning Collaboratives allow practices to share common challenges and successes.
The second initiative is intended to expand health information exchange throughout the region. Through a regional health information exchange, the Quality Health Network, the Colorado Beacon Consortium bolstered existing health information exchange architecture to enable it to support advanced population health management functions and improved clinical decision support systems. Over the past year it has increased the number of providers connected to the exchange by 25 percent, bringing the total to 765 providers. By the end of 2012, more than 80 percent of practices in the Consortium were using an EHR system and more than 100 providers qualified for meaningful use through the support of the Consortium's Regional Extension Center. The Consortium also evaluates models of integrated primary care and behavioral health care that reduce costs through payment reform schemes such as global payments.
Nine practices in the Consortium also participate in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative (CPCI), and will continue participating in that program even though the Beacon Communities grants have concluded. There are two additional tracks for other practices in the Consortium: a Masters program for Beacon graduates who are not participating in CPCI, and a Foundations program to bring in practices that did not participate in the Beacon Community.
Alignment to the National Quality Strategy (NQS):
These efforts promote the following NQS priorities:
- Ensuring that each person and family is engaged as partners in their care.
- Effective communication and coordination of care.
- Making quality care more affordable for individuals, families, employers, and governments by developing and spreading new health care delivery models.
Evaluation for this program includes tracking against several Beacon milestones, and assessing progress against health information technology, quality improvement, and practice transformation benchmarks. The 2012 Annual Report details the Consortium's results, accomplishments, and lessons learned.
The Colorado Beacon Consortium was one of 17 Beacon Communities selected by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to demonstrate the value of health information technology investments while achieving the National Quality Strategy's three-part aim.