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2.1 million fewer pills prescribed by physicians as a result of collaborative efforts across major Minnesota healthcare systems to create stronger, patient-centered prescription practices for opioids. Bloomington, Minn. – January 14, 2020 - Representatives from the MN Health Collaborative and ICSI have released initial results from a nearly two-year effort to implement new acute-care and post-surgical prescription standards for opioids. Physicians and their teams are working together within the Collaborative to develop safer prescribing practices based on individual patient needs, and procedure-specific community standards for opioid use to provide guidance to all prescribers. MN Health Collaborative includes 18 health care organizations, including 6 health plans and 12 health care delivery systems that represent nearly 80% of the Minnesota’s population as well as residents of a border areas within surrounding states. The Collaborative’s charter included a specific goal to help reduce and eventually eliminate opioid overdose deaths, as well as provide better prevention and treatment practices for opioid addiction. These practices require a multi-pronged approach including stricter prescription guidelines, improved drug disposal, true care coordination, and stronger education and support for both patients and providers. The new approach to post-operative opioid prescription expands upon the State of Minnesota’s Department of Human Services (DHS) newly

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ICSI’S Quality Improv(e) program complements traditional quality improvement methods with a unique framework for teamwork and collaboration The Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI) announced the formal launch of its Quality Improv(e) program, an adaptive approach that blends the science of improvement with the art of improvisation. The Quality Improv(e) framework provides a new way for healthcare leadership, clinicians and staff to approach change management and achieve more effective ways to develop, test and implement quality improvement. The program includes dynamic keynote sessions, workshops and customized training programs aimed at revitalizing healthcare change efforts by using improvisation techniques and associated collaborative communication tools to complement existing quality initiatives. “Real change in healthcare today requires a mindset of collaboration and continuous learning.  Improvisation provides a framework for exceptional teamwork and actionable tools that allow for more agile and adaptive problem-solving. This in turn makes improvement seem much more achievable,” said Sarah Horst, ICSI Healthcare Consultant and creator of the Quality Improv(e) framework. “These techniques help healthcare practitioners use safe experimentation to find newer, more innovative ways of doing things. People who attend the program typically leave feeling much more inspired to test new ideas.” Quality Improv(e) is comprised of several components:
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This week we are grateful that the work of MN Health Collaborative was featured in a news story by mental health reporter Andy Steiner. The MinnPost story describes how MN Health Collaborative partners have developed and implemented standards for suicide prevention and intervention in Emergency Departments (EDs) to improve care for people experiencing mental health crisis and support the people who serve them in EDs. It's important to note that while the article speaks to universal screening only, the Collaborative recommendations also support the approach of conducting targeted screening with higher risk populations instead of universal.  Each organization should choose the method that makes sense given its unique resources and population needs. The MinnPost article includes interviews with Suzanne Witterholt, MD of Allina Health and Christopher Palmer, MD, medical director of North Memorial Health Hospital’s ED. Both Dr. Witterholt and Dr. Palmer were instrumental in creating the new shared standards among others in the MN Health Collaborative working group.  Read the full Call to Action for Suicide Prevention and Intervention in the ED here.  The following is an excerpt of the article and a link to the full article for your convenience. New set of emergency department standards may help identify patients at

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New initiative seeks to improve care for patients and support Emergency Departments (EDs) with evidence-based guidance for screening, assessment and intervention, transitions and follow-up The MN Health Collaborative announced today they have developed new evidence-based recommendations for suicide prevention and intervention in EDs.  The shared standards, developed by physicians and other leaders from both emergency departments and psychiatry, are based on MN Health Collaborative members’ expertise, shared learnings regarding tools and current or planned practices in use, and review of existing relevant literature. The goal of the initiative is to improve patient care as well as strengthen support for ED staff and others involved in supporting patients. “In Minnesota, the suicide rate has increased by 40.6% since 1999, with 783 deaths by suicide reported in 2017.  In addition, visits to the ED in our state for mental health and substance abuse have increased by 75% in the last seven years,” said Dr. Chris Palmer, Medical Director for the Emergency Department at North Memorial Health Hospital, a MN Health Collaborative member. “Clearly, there is a need to address these alarming statistics by reinforcing and strengthening how we screen, assess and intervene with patients at risk of suicide, both during the visit and afterward.” Healthcare leaders of MN Health Collaborative have a strong focus on ensuring the use of evidence-based tools and practices. The group’s recommendations on suicide prevention and intervention in the ED provide guidance that is adaptable to a local context and in alignment with CMS and new 2019 Joint Commission requirements. The Suicide Prevention and Intervention in the ED Shared Standards include recommendations in several key areas of care:
  • Determination of patient populations in which to conduct screenings.
  • Use of evidence-based, validated screening tools for suicide risk.
  • Risk stratification to assist decision-making for safety precautions, rooming and resource needs
  • Recommendations for comprehensive assessment and intervention tools for patients with a positive screen or presenting with suicidal ideation/attempt.
  • Disposition suggestions based on the assessment that might include admission, observation or discharge.
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THURSDAY, JAN. 4, 2018 - Twelve of the largest health systems in Minnesota have come together to address major health issues in a new effort called the Minnesota Health Collaborative. These systems provide care and coverage for 80 percent of the patients in Minnesota. Together they are tackling major health topics that affect all communities, starting with the opioid epidemic and mental health crisis.  Convened by the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI), this unique collaborative approach creates the opportunity to rapidly test best practices and develop new approaches to implement shared standards for care.  “Minnesota has a rich history of health care organizations collaborating to address some of the greatest challenges faced by our patients and members,” said Andrea Walsh, President and CEO of HealthPartners, one of the participating organizations. “Together we can make a meaningful impact on issues such as curbing opioids and increasing access to mental health care.” Minnesota Health Collaborative’s first call to action is for these systems to implement shared community standards for first opioid prescriptions related to acute and postoperative pain. The objective is to decrease the population at risk for developing substance use disorder by assuring the smallest needed quantity of opioid medication is prescribed to

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Bloomington, Minn. – November 20, 2018 - The Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI) Board of Directors today announced that Claire S. Neely, MD has been named President and CEO, effective immediately. Dr. Neely has served as ICSI’s Chief Medical Officer since 2015, and has been with the organization since 2009. Along with her work as a healthcare leader over the past three decades, Neely maintained a practice in Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine for over thirty years and has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics since 1995 and a board-certified Pediatrician since 1985.   “Claire Neely represents the type of leadership that healthcare needs today to continue to transform and adapt to our changing industry,” said Paula Santrach, MD, ICSI Board of Directors Chair and Chief Quality Officer for Mayo Clinic. “In her roles at ICSI, HealthPartners, and as a physician responsible for the care of children and adolescents, she has had a significant impact on the lives of individuals, on the organizations she’s served, and on the overall quality of healthcare in Minnesota. I cannot wait to see what she is able to accomplish in her new position as President and CEO of ICSI.”   Neely will assume

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Surgeons across major healthcare systems collaborating on effort to create stronger, patient-centered prescription practices for opioids Bloomington, Minn. – June 19, 2018 - Representatives from the MN Health Collaborative, a group of 14 Minnesota healthcare systems, announced they are currently developing an innovative approach to prescribing opioids for post-operative pain. The new approach addresses the unique needs of patients based on their past health histories, current diagnoses, and required surgical and post-operative treatment needs. Changing current post-operative prescription standards is a critical step to ensure that patients do not receive more than the required number of pills needed for pain management as overprescribing opioids may lead to side effects and potential dependence for some individuals. Surplus opioid medications also increase the risk of these drugs being diverted from intended use and distributed illegally within the community.  To combat these potential problems, surgeons within the MN Health Collaborative have begun a collaborative effort that uses a specific, nuanced approach to post-surgical opioid prescription. Developed in part as an answer to the lack of evidence-based guidelines for post-operative opioid use, the approach is based on available literature, expert consensus and community data relevant to the effort. These best practices and learnings will also be distributed

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