CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2012 - (Page 23)

CMSA View from Capitol Hill Research and Politics – Do They Mix? BY MARGARET LEONARD, MS, RN-BC, FNP W hat does research have to do with politics, you may ask? Well the answer is, a great deal. Unfortunately, this notion has not always been clear to case managers. I believe this is partly due to their education. You see, the majority of health care professionals practicing case management today are nurses. The average age of today’s nurse is 47. Therefore, it is safe to say that most nurses practicing in the field today never took a course in research. It was not part of their curriculum. Research courses traditionally were offered in graduate programs and since most nurses have been educated at the baccalaureate level or below, they were never exposed to a formal education in research. It was just not one of the components of a basic nursing school’s curriculum. Whatever these nurses have learned about research, they learned “on the job” and in many cases, it was not learned well. Often, when an entity took on a research project, I would hear the following from the case managers involved: “They are asking us to collect more data, complete more surveys, fill out more forms, and in fact just do more paper work.” These scenarios were very commonplace until a decade or so ago. Institutions participating in Quality Improvement Organization Studies (QIOS) or Joint Commission Surveys, and organizations applying for URAC or National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) accreditation, limited access to requested surveys, data collection etc. to only high level administrators. Little attention was paid to the curiosity or the need for the nursing staff to understand why the studies and data collection were necessary. In some instances, studies were designed to look at work flow, patient safety, and staff productivity without ever inviting the nurses doing the work to the table to discuss the reason for the study, the process or the desired outcomes. Today, we all know that if you don’t bring the key stakeholders to the table or into the discussions from the beginning of the research process you are making a big mistake. The literature shows successful research studies have input from all the stakeholders who are involved in the design, which usually begins with identifying your goals and desired outcomes. So needless to say, research has long been a weak link in the nursing chain – a virtual kink in our health care advancement armor. Today, increasingly more case managers understand the importance of research. It is the foundation upon which good national health care policy is built. There is nothing more valuable than evidence-based data. Whether case managers are lobbying their institutions or their legislators and regulators for actions that will help patients and their In some instances, studies were designed to look at work flow, patient safety, and staff productivity without ever inviting the nurses doing the work to the table to discuss the reason for the study, the process or the desired outcomes. care givers, their positions are made stronger when they are based on sound, evidence-based data. When institutions and care coordination collaboratives are looking for funding for patient-centered projects, their applications are much more viable and fundable when they are based on evidence. CMSA has established itself as a respected partner in the health care arena through its work building an organization of more than 11,000 case managers and its work as the convener of the National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC). Both organizations are supportive of research in the areas of case management, care coordination, patient safety, and safe transitions of care. Through these organizations, significant work has been done and is being done in the areas of medication reconciliation, patient and provider education, integrated care coordination, telehealth, and safe transitions of care. Many of these research projects are producing favorable outcomes such as decreased inpatient admissions, decreased readmissions within 30 days, reduced numbers of emergency room visits, decreased costs, and greater patient and caregiver satisfaction. As CMSA continues its work in the public policy arena, it has come to rely more heavily on research data. It is evident to the case managers visiting with their legislators that it is much easier to grab and maintain their representatives’ attention when they are able to cite successful outcome data. At the CMSA Public Policy Summit (PPS) earlier this year, we received very positive feedback from attendees on the beautifully prepared information packets developed by CMSA as “leave behinds.” These packets were given to the case managers for continued on page 24 CMSA TODAY Issue 6 • 2012 • DIGITAL 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2012

VA Connecticut Healthcare System Improves Cancer Care
Operation: We Care
The Path to Payment for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs

CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2012