Shannon Medical Center of San Angelo is one of nine Texas health systems joining forces to share clinical data to improve quality and efficiency, lower healthcare costs and accelerate medical innovation in patient care.
Texas Care Alliance (TCA) was founded by Baylor Scott & White Health (BSWH) and Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics in March 2013 to facilitate the coordination and delivery of healthcare services that are patient-centered and physician-driven to improve the overall health of a defined population. TCA also includes Community Hospital Corporation, Plano; Hendrick Health System, Abilene; Medical Center Health System, Odessa; Midland Memorial Hospital, Midland; God Shepherd Health System, Longview; and United Regional Health Care System, Wichita Falls.

The systems' service areas cover 193 Texas counties. TCA members have 20 percent of the state's hospital beds with more than 6,800 employed or affiliated physicians.

“Shannon Medical Center has collaborated with most of these hospitals over the last 30 years in various groups including VHA Texas and most recently the Texas Purchasing Coalition as we worked together to gain cost savings and operational efficiencies,” said Bryan Horner, President and CEO of Shannon Medical Center. “This new organization takes this collaboration to the next level as we will be sharing quality and clinical data with one another to help discover the best practices in delivering quality, affordable care for our patients. As a locally-owned healthcare organization for the past 80 years, this information will be valuable in helping navigate the changes of healthcare reform so we can locally serve our residents for the next 80 years.”

Several Shannon Clinic physicians will serve on the TCA Best Care Committees.  These groups will be examining data and practices to optimize models of care in each market.

“These groups will somewhat serve as ‘Learning Labs’ where our physicians can engage and learn skills essential for population management as our organization prepares for payment reforms and other changes in healthcare,” said Horner.  “This valuable insight can then be shared with our other providers and help shape our local decisions in providing care for our patients.”

"The triple aim of healthcare is to improve the quality of care delivered to our patients, improve their experience of that care, and reduce per capita costs," said Robert Pryor MD, MBA, chief medical officer and chief operating officer of BSWH. "TCA will be the platform for physicians to adopt common metrics, measure performance, and share clinical and administrative best practices with its membership."

The practice of paying hospitals and physicians for quality of care rather than for the amount of care is spreading at a rapid rate. According to a recent survey, quality-based payment will account for two-thirds of healthcare revenue in five years, compared with one-third today.

To qualify for payment based on value, providers are employing powerful analytical tools for population health and risk management. TCA will be using Explorys, a data platform that is a spinoff of the Cleveland Clinic. The Explorys network includes more than 310 hospitals and 220,000 practitioners.  Explorys will facilitate data sharing between practitioners, payers and health systems. The data will allow healthcare providers to build a composite view of a population's health to meet care needs, improve quality and assess risk of disease.

TCA will be able to harness data from tens of millions of patient encounters and compare to the TCA experience as a whole, as well as the individual hospital level and practitioner level, to minimize uncertainty and potential study bias as better care and improved health at a lower cost is achieved.