For years, Be There San Diego has brought together all the major physician organizations, hospital groups and community clinics in San Diego County to work toward one goal: Prevent heart attacks and strokes.
A new study published in a prestigious journal shows that this collaboration works.
The study shows that the collaboration contributed to 2,735 fewer hospitalizations for heart attacks in the county from 2011 to 2014, a 16.5 per cent drop compared to the previous four years, saving $61 million in healthcare costs.
Further, the study’s authors projected that if the rest of California had experienced the same rate of reduction, there would have been 20,201 fewer hospitalizations, an 11.6 per cent drop, saving $453 million.
The study did not find any robust relationship between the collaborative’s work and hospitalizations for strokes.
The healthcare system should consider forming this kind of learning collaborative elsewhere to manage the risk factors for heart attacks because it works, the study concluded.
“Our partners usually compete with one another but they are united in their tireless pursuit of cutting the number of heart attacks,” said Dr. Anthony DeMaria, Chair of Be There San Diego. “This study proves what we’ve been saying all along: It’s possible to significantly cut the number of heart attacks if we work together.”
The study was published Oct. 13 in AJMC.com, the online site for the American Journal of Managed Care, the leading peer-reviewed journal that explores managed care.
Brent D. Fulton, PhD, MBA, at UC Berkeley, led the study, the first to examine the impact of a learning collaborative working in the highly competitive managed care environment to reduce the risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.
The study traces the history of the collaborative since it began in 2011 as part of the California Right Care Initiative. It was initially called the University of Best Practices, or UBP, since it brought together all the major players in the county’s healthcare system to share their best practices to reduce heart attacks
Today, the collaborative goes by the name of Be There San Diego, yet maintains its focus to save lives.
Its partner members, which represent 80 percent of the county’s patients, study and utilize a variety of approaches – such as a medication bundle, technology applications and pharmacy interventions – to reduce heart attacks and strokes. They share their results with each other in monthly meetings, known as “UBP,” and at an annual health summit.
Be There analyzes the data yielded by this work and makes clinical recommendations to the broader clinical community.
“Heart attacks are devastating for patients, for their families, for their community,” Dr. DeMaria said. “And they can be very costly. We’re working to spread the message: You don’t have to die of a heart attack. There’s a better way.”