ASHA’s Strategic Pathway and You: Focus on Objective 1 Did you know ASHA has a roadmap for achieving the association’s vision and mission? The association’s “Strategic Pathway to Excellence” identifies eight strategic objectives to do just that through the year 2025, when ASHA will be 100 years old. The Envisioned Future document describes this centennial vision. Members are integral ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   June 01, 2016
ASHA’s Strategic Pathway and You: Focus on Objective 1
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ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   June 01, 2016
ASHA’s Strategic Pathway and You: Focus on Objective 1
The ASHA Leader, June 2016, Vol. 21, 58-59. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.21062016.58
The ASHA Leader, June 2016, Vol. 21, 58-59. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.21062016.58
Did you know ASHA has a roadmap for achieving the association’s vision and mission? The association’s “Strategic Pathway to Excellence” identifies eight strategic objectives to do just that through the year 2025, when ASHA will be 100 years old. The Envisioned Future document describes this centennial vision.
Members are integral to working toward the strategic objectives and realizing the Envisioned Future: 2025 outcomes. For the past seven months, culminating with this one, the Leader has examined an objective and how a member is addressing it.
Objective 1: Expand data available for quality improvement and demonstration of value
Rob Mullen, director of ASHA’s National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders and staff “owner” of the objective, describes it:
This objective focuses on the increasing demands for data from stakeholders outside of communication sciences and disorders—as audiology and speech-language pathology services come under increasing scrutiny—as well as from ASHA members who need data to help clinicians, supervisors and administrators improve the quality of those services.
For more than a decade, ASHA has administered the National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS). Under Objective 1, NOMS will increase in both breadth and depth. NOMS currently captures outcomes data on adult clients and children ages 3 to 5 who receive speech-language services. Additional data-collection systems within NOMS are being or will soon be developed for adult and pediatric audiology clients, school-age children who receive speech-language services in school settings, school-age children who receive speech-language services in health care settings, and children who receive services in early-intervention settings.
All of these data-collection systems, whether new or old, will include not just the established clinician-reported functional outcomes on which NOMS has been based, but also:
  • Patient-reported outcomes addressing quality of life and social/workforce participation.

  • Process-based quality measures.

  • More granular descriptors of treatment targets, goals and ingredients to better understand what works best for which clients under which circumstances.

  • Eventually, cost-benefit/cost-effectiveness modeling.

Tamala Sammons of Ensign Services, Inc., describes how this post-acute care continuum provider is using the NOMS outcomes database to demonstrate value and improve quality.
Tamala Sammons, MA, CCC-SLP, therapy resource and NOMS subscriber, Ensign Services, Inc.
At Ensign Services, Inc., we made the organizational decision to participate in NOMS system-wide in 2014 to better prepare for current and future health care models. As health care shifts from volume-based to value-based reimbursement, we wanted to make sure Ensign had accurate data to reflect the value of our speech-language pathology services.
Incorporating evidence-based functional outcome measurement tools, such as NOMS, was one component of our goal for facilitating coordinated care to ensure that our patients receive high-quality care with fiscal accountability. NOMS participation allows us to share data with our health care partners and third-party payers.
At Ensign, we have a number of facilities participating in alternative payment models: bundled payment for care improvement, accountable care organizations, and the Medicare Advantage Program. NOMS data allow us to evaluate our outcomes for neurological and respiratory patients specific to these payment models and compare ourselves to the national benchmarks.
We also have a variety of managed care providers in our markets. Having accurate outcomes data has helped us in two key areas—negotiating our managed care contracts and supporting our speech-language pathologists’ requests for treatment authorizations at the facility level.
In addition to using outcomes data to demonstrate the value of our speech-language pathology services, our organization also uses data for quality improvement initiatives. ASHA’s NOMS dashboard allows us to quickly gather data to review and analyze how our facilities and organization are doing overall. Sometimes the data provide us with unanticipated information.
For example, based on the analytics, the data may identify where our outcomes are not optimal. We use this as an opportunity to improve our clinical programming to ensure that our patients are engaged in the right services that will allow for functional improvement. It’s important for our clinicians to understand clinical outcomes of the services they provide, and where they can continue to make improvements in their patterns of care.
We recognize that we are in the early stages of information-gathering and analysis of our NOMS data, but we feel we are much further ahead by having this initiative in our organization and are grateful for the opportunity ASHA has provided through this collaborative partnership.
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June 2016
Volume 21, Issue 6