by Dianne Kiehl
Working in concert with our strategic partners an update
From the Executive Director

Our health care organization strategic partners are integral to our ability to bring significant change to the delivery of health care in southeast Wisconsin. We have been actively involved and supportive of their efforts since our founding. I sit on the boards of directors of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ), the Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO) and the Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network (WISHIN).

In this edition of The Catalyst, I will provide you a brief update on the important work these strategic partners are engaged in to positively impact our health care delivery system. Without the collaboration among our organizations, success for each of us independently  would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ)

WCHQ, ( a voluntary state-wide provider driven organization, has been working to improve the quality and cost of health services in our state since 2003. Through its public reporting of members’ performance data and sharing of best practices, it has driven measureable improvement in the quality of care delivered in our state.

Last year WCHQ launched a substantial advancement in its public reporting by identifying provider performance down to the site level (also known as the clinic level). Heretofore, WCHQ only reported data at the group level. While this group level data was valuable, it lacked the granularity necessary to provide detailed performance data. In reviewing this more detailed site level data, I had several takeaways:

  • Site level reporting is a major step forward, allowing consumers to access actionable data specific to where care is being delivered every day.
  • There is considerable variability within systems. For example, one site for a specific system may do an excellent job controlling blood pressure of their diabetic patients, while another site in the same system needs to improve their performance on this measure.
  • There is considerable variability between systems on many measures. No health care system is good at everything; they all have strengths and weaknesses. This suggests that the BHCG and our employer members must be able to contract with providers providing the highest quality of care at the best price. Additionally, we need to incent our employees to seek care from the best performers.
  • We need to encourage our employees to use this WCHQ data (and other available data sources) when making decisions about where to seek health care for specific conditions/services.

Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO)

WHIO ( is a voluntary, not for profit public-private partnership with a multi-stakeholder board which includes payers, providers, business and the state government. WHIO has developed a statewide data mart of health care information. By aggregating data from multiple large payers, the WHIO data mart creates a robust data set that providers, administrators and other interested parties can use to compare performance and improve care.

Now consumers will also have access to this data, allowing them to make more informed health care decisions. WHIO is putting the final touches on its new consumer web site – The site, which should be available to the public in mid-March, will rate primary care physicians in 619 clinics across the state. Physicians will be scored based on how they compare to their peers on approximately 150 quality measures and on their use of resources to treat conditions typically seen in a primary care setting. Considerable additional information will be available on the site, including the ability for consumers to determine if their physician is a participant in a particular health plan.

WHIO continues to make significant progress in acquiring Medicare claims data to add to its already vast database of claims data. WHIO is working with other All Payer Claims Database (APCD) organizations across the country to expand access and use of Medicare claims data that to this point is unduly restricted by current regulations.

Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network (WISHIN)

WISHIN (, an independent nonprofit organization, is Wisconsin’s State-Designated Entity for Health Information Exchange (HIE). WISHIN is charged with bringing the benefits of widespread, secure and interoperable health information technology to patients and providers throughout Wisconsin by building a statewide health information network to connect physicians, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, clinical laboratories and other providers. More readily available patient data across health care systems is critical to higher quality care, a better patient experience and reduced costs.

WISHIN has made significant progress on several initiatives recently. All the major health care systems and numerous community health centers in southeast Wisconsin are in the process of adopting the WISHIN Pulse product – a community health record that provides an aggregated summary view of a patient’s health information from all providers who have seen the patient. A complete listing of providers in the process of adopting WISHIN pulse is available at WISHIN Pulse Participants.

Working with Wisconsin’s Medicaid program, WISHIN is expanding functionality by:

  • Bringing Medicaid pharmacy data into the WISHIN Pulse product
  • Enabling notifications to health plans when a Medicaid plan member has a hospital encounter to ensure the immediate commencement of case management
  • Assisting providers in submitting and accessing a Medicaid patient’s immunization status via the Wisconsin Immunization Registry

WISHIN is also actively working with its counterpart organizations in border and “snowbird” states to enable health data queries across state borders. Patients move freely between states, sometimes seeking care in other states. It is critical to build mechanisms to securely and swiftly share data between providers in different states.

The support and critical work done by these strategic partners is absolutely instrumental to our efforts to drive meaningful change in our market. We commend them for their efforts!


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