Vizient Connections Summit celebrated members, insights in sustainable quality and offers a look ahead to the ‘new normal’ in healthcare

Nov. 19, 2021

At its annual Connections Summit, Vizient, Inc. celebrated its member healthcare organizations for their work in caring for patients during the pandemic and provided insights in how to sustain top performance in quality and accountability according to their summary report.

In addition, the Summit offered perspectives on potential systemic changes in patient-provider interactions that organizations should prepare for as well as a discussion on the future of payer and payment determinations. The conference was held online and in person Nov. 15-18 in Las Vegas.

More than 2,000 individuals from Vizient member healthcare organizations registered for the hybrid event, which offered educational content that qualified for continuing education credits, peer-to-peer networking and connected the healthcare professionals to the more than 800 registrants from supplier organizations for additional networking opportunities. This year, the Vizient Connections Summit provided 85 accredited continuing education sessions, 189 education presenters, 57 posters and 121 poster presenters.

One of the highlights of the event was a presentation by David Levine, MD, FACEP, Vizient group senior vice president, advanced analytics and data science, on findings from the study, “Quality and Accountability Continuing the Quest of Excellence,” which details the unique practices of organizations that have sustained top performance in Vizient’s Quality and Accountability ranking over a long period of time. The rankings measure annual performance across five domains: safety, mortality, effectiveness, efficiency and patient centeredness and equity.

Results from the study found that healthcare organizations who were able to sustain high levels of performance were intently focused on the following five areas:

  • People: A broad and deep understanding of how each person, from the Board room to the bedside, is vital to solving problems and ensuring the best patient experience
  • Processes: Clinical practice is grounded in transparent data and evidence-based practices are hardwired into daily operations and implementation is reviewed daily at the unit and department level
  • Decisions: At all levels of the organization decisions are made based on delivering the best patient experience and staff empowerment
  • Board support: The Board plays a strong role in creating accountability. They know the metrics, and have expectations about achievement of goals for quality and safety performance
  • Consistent goals and reliable metrics: Goals are easy to understand and are measured and monitored daily/weekly/monthly to create alignment and accountability

Tom Robertson, executive director of the Vizient Research Institute, offered a view of healthcare’s vulnerability to disruption and of the possible long-term economic impact of the pandemic. Robertson presented a combination of his 2019 and 2020 studies. The 2019 study, “A New Look at an Old Business Model: Viewing Disruption Through a Different Lens,” identified inherently vulnerable components of the traditional business model, from a dangerous dependence on private sector surgery to an ambulatory care infrastructure reliant on enormous low acuity volume for its financial success. Those dependencies were exposed during the pandemic.

The Institute’s 2020 study, “Defying Gravity: What if not Everything Returns to Normal?” examined short-term microeconomic impacts of COVID while focusing attention on potential long-term systemic changes — including how providers are paid — areas where the risk of disruptiveness is high and organizational preparedness is low.

“We began our most recent study asking, ‘What if not everything goes back to normal?’” Robertson said. “But we concluded by asking a more compelling question: What if not everything should?”

Vizient release