Colorado Beacon's annual report documents successful marriage of technology and health care transformation

Jan 10, 2013, 12:33 ET from Colorado Beacon Consortium

Videos offer physician point-of-view, demonstrate value of health IT investments for community

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo., Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Colorado Beacon Consortium's 2012 annual report, released today, tells the story of how a dedicated group of health care innovators is fostering better health by meaningfully using health information technology (health IT) to transform health care delivery. Videos included in the annual report reinforce this message. This video describes the CBC, while this one offers the physician's perspective.

The story features 51 primary care practices located on the Western Slope of Colorado; the seven-county community has 320,000 residents across 17,500 square miles. Although the story is far from over, significant improvements have been achieved during the past two-and-a-half years.

CBC is a collaborative, community-based initiative, which operates with a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. It is designed to demonstrate how health care organizations, including physician offices, can improve population health through the use of health IT. CBC has worked closely with primary care practices to help them use quality improvement tools, streamline how they work as a team and improve their processes to enhance patient care.

CBC has achieved community-wide engagement in this largely rural area populated by independent physicians and hospital organizations. They share critical information via a community-wide health information exchange and participate in collaborative learning efforts, but remain autonomous and self-directed.

The improvement in health metrics reported by the practices is substantial, which indicates greater health care value for patients now and lower costs in the future. Colorado Beacon practices saw dramatic improvements across several measures, including the following:

  • Screening for depression in patients with ischemic vascular disease rose from 54 percent of patients at baseline to nearly 90 percent by the final three months of the intervention. That represents a nearly 70 percent increase.
  • The rate of asking patients about tobacco use increased from 64 percent to 92 percent. That's a more than 43 percent increase.
  • Screening for depression in patients with diabetes rose from 68 percent to 93 percent--an increase of more than 36 percent.

These results aren't just for a narrow band of well-insured patients, explained Patrick Gordon, program director for the Colorado Beacon Consortium. "Because of the Beacon investment, we have access to sophisticated population health management tools that promote more effective care for the entire community--including the uninsured, the impoverished and those living in rural areas." Gordon said it is not just access to data and tools that creates measurable change; it is also having the skills to incorporate those resources in daily practice that makes a difference. 

About the Colorado Beacon Consortium
The Colorado Beacon Consortium is made up of executive-level representation from four mission-driven, not-for-profit, Western Colorado-based organizations, all of which have nationally acknowledged track records of coordination to achieve superior outcomes. They are Mesa County Independent Physicians' Practice Association, Quality Health Network, Rocky Mountain Health Plans and St. Mary's Regional Medical Center. The Colorado Beacon Consortium's mission is to optimize the efficiency, quality and performance of our health care system, and integrate the delivery of care and use of clinical information to improve community health. The geographic focus of the Consortium's activities includes the Colorado counties of Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Garfield, Gunnison, Pitkin and Rio Blanco. To learn more, visit

SOURCE Colorado Beacon Consortium