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Gaining Momentum in Portland

By IHI Open School | Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Portland State University & Oregon Health and Science University IHI Open School Chapter has been incredibly successful, both inside their respective schools and in their surrounding community. Led by Kelsey Priest, an MPH: Health Management and Policy Student student at Portland State, the Chapter has grown to include two schools, has sent three students to the IHI Open School Student Quality Leadership Academy, and has hosted two successful events.

In addition to these accomplishments, Kim Lepin, the Chapter’s Learning Coordinator, is leading a sub-group of leadership team members through a quality improvement project that incorporates methodologies into OHSU’s M&M series. Meanwhile, the Chapter is in the process of developing its by-laws, sending five Chapter members to the 24th Annual National Forum, and developing and advancing many other growth strategies. Can we just have a quick round of applause?! Thank you. Now, I would like to highlight one of their events in particular.


On October 8, the PSU & OHSU Chapter hosted an event titled “Realizing the Triple Aim in Oregon.”  Priest and her leadership team were very prepared, very welcoming, and excited to bring people together to discuss this important movement in their state. Forty students, faculty, and members of the community filled the room. The team recruited strong speakers who were followed by a thoughtful and well orchestrated Q&A. The take-home message, with which Liz Baxter, Executive Director of We Can Do Better, concluded, is that Oregon is a leader in achieving the Triple Aim: improving the quality of care and the health of the population, while reducing per capita cost.


Triple Aim Presentation

Photo taken by Chapter Communications Coordinator Karri Benjamin


The first speaker from the expert panel was Dr. Evan Saulino, a family physician who works in a “safety-net” clinic in Portland. He began by using real patient stories to illustrate the cost issue in our health care system. The root of the problem is that cost does not equal value. He also reminded us that health care is only 10% of what determines our health. The other determinants are environment, social circumstances, genetics, and behavioral patterns. There is a proven method for improving health (not just health care) and simultaneously reducing cost.

Rebecca Ramsay followed Dr. Saulino. She is a leader at CareOregon, which has worked to develop and implement an innovative, nationally recognized team-based case management program, targeting the plan’s highest risk and costliest members. She spoke to the Medicaid budget problem in Oregon (and everywhere). The total projected spending reduction through 2015 is $1.57 million. In other words, Oregon is projected to spend $1.57 million over its target in the next three years. Oregon has a solution: CCO (Coordinated Care Organization). This uses a three-pronged approach: risk and payment, administrative transformation, and clinical transformation. The third piece, clinical transformation, is the largest and includes investing in social determinants of health in addition to health care. The plan is to tackle this clinical piece in different levels, depending on scale and ROI. In order to address social determinants, they are using a “hot spotting” method of targeting high cost users through community outreach workers.

Finally, Baxter emphasized the power that we have by just understanding these concepts. We need to utilize this power to not only find ways to get involved in this change, but also to teach others. There is a need for all members of the community to understand these concepts on some level to then be a part of the solution.


The Chapter is looking forward to further growth and interest in the IHI Open School as they incorporate student & faculty led seminars and a cumulative event about CCO’s as part of their winter 2013 programming. To hear more about these events and local happenings visit the Chapter Website, like their Facebook Page, or follow them on Twitter @ihiohsupsu.

If you are heading to the Forum and want to learn more about the PSU & OHSU Chapter, they have poster presentations on both their Chapter development and MM&I Quality Improvement project. Definitely check it out!


I was honored to be a part of this event! Thank you so much for reading and please help me congratulate this Chapter for their efforts this year and beyond.

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