MHA Partners with ArborMetrix to Analyze Readmissions, Improve Care

The Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA), which lobbies the state and federal government on behalf of healthcare providers, said this month that its nonprofit Keystone Center will form a partnership with ArborMetrix to analyze state hospital data in order to find where providers can improve care and cut costs.

ArborMetrix is an Ann Arbor, MI-based healthcare IT startup spun out of technology developed at the University of Michigan and Dartmouth. It has created a cloud-based analytics database called EpisodeMetrix that the MHA will combine with its all-payer claims database to examine discharge data and measure the quality of care. Of particular concern is hospital readmissions, which has become a key data point as Medicare and Medicaid increasingly focus on performance-based payments to healthcare providers.

“This will allow us to understand what kind of patient is getting readmitted,” says Sam Watson, senior vice president of patient safety and quality for the MHA. The MHA began looking at this data a few years ago, but Watson says incorporating ArborMetrix analytics will allow a much deeper dive. “We’ll analyze readmission rates for common conditions like joint replacement, acute myocardial infarction, pneumonia, and heart failure. By having that data, we’ll have a greater ability to help hospitals target patients that need extra support as they transition home, or understand what the community needs in terms of resources, like outpatient follow-up.”

The Keystone Center will also use the analytics database to look at the rates of in-hospital mortality, surgical complications, unplanned reoperations, and composite quality scores according to procedure for each of the 134 participating hospitals.

“The MHA sits on top of an incredible amount of data,” says ArborMetrix CEO Brett Furst. “Part of that involves transparency, so hospitals can see what their peers’ rates are and if big clinical variations affect readmission rates.”

This is the second time the MHA has joined forces with ArborMetrix. Earlier this year, the Keystone Center announced it would use the RegistryMetrix analytics database at roughly 60 hospitals statewide to capture obstetrics data to help improve outcomes for mothers and babies.

It’s been a busy year for ArborMetrix, which recently moved to a new office in downtown Ann Arbor. In May, the company closed a Series B funding round, bringing its total amount of capital raised since 2011 to $9.8 million.

Furst says ArborMetrix is also expanding and hiring as quickly as possible; he expects to nearly double his staff of 38 within a year. “As we get closer to pay-for-value reimbursement models, healthcare providers are looking for better tools to understand what’s driving clinical variation,” he adds.

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