Atrius Health is delighted to report that we achieved a strong 2017 financial performance while also advancing innovative clinical programs that will better serve our 720,000 adult and pediatric patients across eastern Massachusetts. These results move us closer towards our vision of transforming care to improve the health of our patients and communities.
For 2017, ending December 31, Atrius Health finished with a $24.4 million operating surplus or 1.3% margin, representing a turnaround of approximately $56 million from 2016 that positions us well to continue our leadership in high quality, affordable care. These results reflect the collective energy of everyone in our practice as we collaborated on a three-part plan for financial success that included:
Innovation in delivering better care to our patients was advanced in three key areas: increased use of predictive analytics to support population health management, moving care to lower acuity sites (ambulatory, home, and virtual), and continued transformation of behavioral health.
Algorithms and programs have been developed to better target care. One predictor algorithm identifies the adult patients who are at the highest risk of hospitalization. These patients are flagged in the electronic medical record, so that the practice can bring them in for care right away if they call, and also offer them proactive outreach. Other analytics help us provide care facilitation in support of high-risk children, identify patients who may benefit from palliative care, and highlight patients who are at highest risk of a hospital re-admission. We continue to develop associated programs for keeping the identified patients as healthy as possible.
We know that patients prefer the comfort and convenience of receiving care at home. Our Care in Place initiative sends home health nurses from VNA Care to provide urgent care for frail elders who cannot make it into the practice. This initiative has saved $1.9 million since its inception in 2016, and has helped over a third of program participants avoid the wait and anxiety of an emergency department visit. Our hospital at home program with Medically Home Group and VNA Care has been successfully treating patients through acute and post-acute issues, and will be a model for scaling to a national program that meets patients’ needs and lowers the cost of care as compared with an inpatient visit.
We’re also supporting our patients through telehealth to improve access to care. We’ve started to offer behavioral health video visits for follow-up therapy, and urgent care video visits through our evening telephone service, even seeing patients during recent snow storms for conditions such as conjunctivitis, cellulitis, upper respiratory infections, sinusitis and UTIs. Our teledermatology consult program has done over 10,000 visits, with about half treated without need for an in-person visit, freeing up valuable dermatology capacity for other patients.
As a leader in integrating ambulatory behavioral care treatment with primary care, we continued to build our model for triaging those patients with more acute needs into the practice. These patients are participating in weekly visits supplemented by group skills classes, with patient-reported outcome measures describing the progress made.
It is an exciting time to work in healthcare as new technologies provide opportunities to change how and where patients receive care. We are committed to continuing this journey and collaborating with patients, communities and like-minded organizations to provide affordable, convenient and proactive care that enhances health and enriches the lives of those we serve.