The Mayo Clinic announced Monday that it is partnering with a California startup that aims to provide unparalleled insight into a hospital’s performance data with the goal to improve healthcare quality, reduce costs and prevent reimbursement declines.
Dabo Health, based in San Francisco, has built a granular information platform “that centralizes quality metrics and makes them actionable for clinicians and hospitals based on evidence-based best practices,” said founder and CEO Camilo Barcenas, in an interview Sunday. The technology that powers the tool is largely drawn from available consumer technology, and Barcenas freely admits that he is not trying to reinvent the wheel. The startup has raised $800,000 and employs 15.
Barcenas said now is the perfect time for a solution like Dabo Health given that startingOct. 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will begin to penalize hospitals that fail to keep readmission rates down, among other things. CMS defines readmission as patients returning to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged.
Currently, Dabo Health’s software-as-a-service tool focuses on readmission rates and mortality rates as it applies to three health conditions: heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia.Dabo Health will be piloting its platform in Mayo Clinic’s Cardiology Division specifically on the quality metric of readmission rates, said Francesca Dickson, a Mayo Clinic spokeswoman.The partnership was announced at Mayo’s annual Transform conference in Rochester, Minnesota.
Through this tool it is possible for an administrator to see how that hospital ranks nationally or even statewide in terms of readmission rates or mortality rates for those conditions. It is also possible for a health system to see how multiple hospitals within the system rank on those quality metrics.In the future, once CMS releases information down to the individual provider level, doctors will be able to compare their performances too, Barcenas said.
The software even allows providers/administrators to review hospitals on metrics that are not even connected to patient care but have an impact on customer satisfaction, for instance, how clean the bathrooms are.
Minneapolis’ Abbott Northwestern hospital ranked lower than the national average on this very metric while it ranked much higher than the national average on readmission rates for heart attack patients.
“An hospital administrator looking at that data should call up environmental services to see what is going on there and decide whether more janitors are needed,” Barcenas said.
This level of detail into hospital operations has become possible as the federal government has made available large sets of data, Barcenas explained.
He believes that the user-friendly,free version of the Dabo Health tool is valuable not just because it provides the data on quality metrics by which the CMS will determine reimbursement, but also because it provides doctors, nurses and administrators the resources to be able to improve those rankings.
That resource comes in the form of a best practices tool for each metric, which is currently populated by Mayo Clinic best practices content. Ultimately, it will be a crowdsourced tool allowing anyone with a profile to upload content. On the back end, the best practices functionality uses algorithms commonly used in Internet searches such that only the best, most relevant content will flow to the top, Barcenas explained.
The platform also allows care providers to share data and create groups. Much like LinkedIn, a cardiology charge nurse, for instance, can create a group to connect and share information with colleagues in the same hospital or others around the state and nation, Barcenas said.
If Mayo and Dabo Health are giving the tool away for free, how will the platform make money?
There are several revenue-generating opportunities, Barcenas said. If a deficiency is observed somewhere, providers may opt to get training and all hospitals have a budget for continuing medical education. That money can now be spent on training that Dabo will offer with online training companies under a revenue-share model. The startup also plans to make money by selling data that it buys from data selling companies and making it user friendly by integrating it with its platform.
In the paid version of the product, Dabo can take a hospital’s latest available data and integrate it into its platform instead of relying solely on CMS data. That way a single provider can see how he or she ranks based on those quality measures.
Barcenas believes with Dabo Health, actionable data can be easily shared and acted upon to drive better care for patients and increase reimbursement levels. This, he believes, is one of the ways that the healthcare industry can be transformed from the ground up. The goal is to engage care providers at the community level through user-friendly technology and give them the tools that can help them improve quality.
“Two years ago, I taught a nurse in Alaska how to use a mouse for the first time [and] she was 57,” Barcenas recalled. “If we are going to fix healthcare, we will need to engage people in community hospitals who have not had to work with technology before.”
UPDATE: An earlier version of this post misspelled the name of the Mayo Clinic spokeswoman.