Make Triple Aim measurement a priority

Make Triple Aim measurement a priority

Leaders who prioritize Triple Aim measurement send a strong message about the importance of monitoring progress in health, patient experience, and costs to the organization and patients. In turn, community health center staff can focus on value—improving health and patient experience while maintaining or even decreasing costs—and preparing for value-based payment. Finally, measuring the Triple Aim fosters learning and quality improvement within community health centers and helps you fulfill your mission to put patients first.


The Triple Aim, as first defined by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, is a framework with three goals: improving the individual experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing per capita costs of care for populations.

As Dr. Amy Boutwell explains in the following video, you should measure the Triple Aim because increasingly you will be held accountable for improving health, patient experience, and the total cost of a patient’s care no matter what the setting.

The implications of Triple Aim measurement can be profound. Generating and analyzing performance data are critical to tracking results and continuous improvement. Data analysis can help you determine what needs more attention or even a different approach, helping to ensure improved patient care and health.

Measuring and tracking the Triple Aim could, for example, help you improve blood pressure readings in patients whose hypertension chronically exceeds guidelines. Similarly, improving patients’ experience of care might mean providing extended hours. At the same time, tracking costs can help you identify how to streamline care and to improve efficiency.

Measure the Triple Aim to prepare for value-based payment

If you start measuring the Triple Aim now, you can show payers and other stakeholders the value of the patient care you provide and be ahead of the curve as payment shifts toward value-based models that require performance improvement to maximize reimbursement.

Recently, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Burwell announced that by 2018 she wants 90% of Medicare fee-for-service payments linked to quality or value and 50% tied to alternative payment models, such as accountable care organizations (ACOs) or bundled payments. Likewise, one of California’s longest running pay-for-performance programs now holds payers and physician organizations accountable for both the quality and cost of patient care.

See what your colleagues are doing

North County Health Services measures the Triple Aim for two reasons: (1) to reinforce their role as a patient-centered medical home (PCMH); and (2) to position the center for alternative payment models. For the past two years, North County has been “building toward a Triple Aim infrastructure” to set the right people and systems in place to get ahead of the payment reform curve.

Committing to measure and analyze the Triple Aim may mean it’s the right time to invest in new staff. Hire a data analyst if you don’t already have one, said leaders at Neighborhood Healthcare. An analyst can gather and analyze data, set up and run reports, and educate care teams about how to view data to make value-based improvements.

Open Door Community Health Center also advises community health centers to add analytic staff as “the most efficient way of getting improved outcomes.”