It is fair to say that the Olympics and supporting the greater Olympic community is a family passion. During The Games, we follow the athletes in their events, celebrating and commiserating through victory and defeat. We treasure our own Olympic moments and cheer on close friends who are still working to achieve their dreams.

For the past two weeks, I have been on the edge of my seat, enjoying my favorite sports and rooting for the athletes as they put themselves to the test. It doesn’t matter if it is the winter or summer Olympics, I love watching the smiles after they realize they have won the race or beat their personal goal. I empathize with those that missed their dreams by mere seconds and are now looking to the next four years. In particular, I appreciate learning the personal stories that led to an athlete’s success. Usually, it is not one specific item but a combination of family support, hard work, and, most importantly, a series of incremental steps and small successes that paved the way to reaching the top step of the podium.

Annually, as CIVHC’s fiscal year ends on June 30, we evaluate how far we came over the last year and mark our progress toward our goals. We 1) identify our successes and benchmark them to our five-year strategic plan; 2) assess new trends that impact our direction; 3) determine continued challenges and where we fell short; and 4) revise our focus accordingly.

The CIVHC team is already looking forward to the coming year. As we shifted our attention on the next 12-24 months, we made minor tweaks to our strategic plan, addressing changes in the health care landscape and ensuring that we’re still providing value to Colorado and the nation. We know that we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us in order to climb the podium and achieve our ultimate vision of improved health, health care and lower costs -- but it is also important to smile and celebrate as we look back on our successes from the last 12 months.

Let me share some highlights from our five major strategies:

Strategic Initiative I: Continue to build a high performance organization.

  • Strengthened foundation of data management and analytic resources with improved upfront submission processing and business rule management; strengthened data discovery reporting with increased understanding of analytic implications; and data validation reviews.
  • Development of online portal for provider pricing preview periods, custom data recipients, and grant deliverables, allowing for quicker data delivery and streamlined information dissemination. Public launch fall 2016.
  • Creation of CO APCD Standard Reports, creating a lower-cost and quickly executed product for stakeholders. Reports will be available in fall 2016.
  • CIVHC conducted a successful national search for new vendors for data warehouse management and analytics reporting. Ultimately, we selected HSRI/NORC and are excited to bring their expertise to the CO APCD.  In particular, we are excited to be moving to monthly data processing and the benefits this will bring to Colorado stakeholders.

Strategic Initiative II: Expand beyond existing data.

  • The CO APCD now contains over 510 million claims, representing 4.3 million unique active insured lives and over 80 percent of covered Coloradans.
  • Payers began submitting dental claims and discussions are underway as to how best to use it to address public health concerns.
  • The addition of approximately 50% of the self-insured employer business was a big win for Colorado.  
  • Several projects investigating combining CO APCD claim with other data sources such as clinical and behavioral health are underway.

Strategic Initiative III: Provide data and analytics to stakeholders consistent with our mission and vision.

  • CIVHC achieved an 18 percent increase in non-public releases of data to stakeholders over last year.
  • With over twenty awardees, there was a 21 percent increase in the number of Scholarship awardees compared to the last fiscal year, demonstrating the need for access to the data by organizations large and small.
  • As part of our work for the State Innovation Model and using specifications from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, CIVHC developed a ground-breaking method to create clinical quality measures based on CO APCD data. These claims-based proxy measures give stakeholders the opportunity to study certain aspects of a specific population’s health and allow for targeted, meaningful interventions that can improve care, lower costs, and drive us all toward a healthier Colorado.

Strategic Initiative IV: Become an integral part of Colorado’s health care ecosystem.

  • CIVHC released four impactful Spot Analyses (Avoidable Emergency Department Use, Payer Price Variation, Free-Standing Emergency Departments, and Snapshot of Hepatitis C in Colorado) identifying health care cost drivers and opportunities to save money. These publications help inform stakeholders across the spectrum and provide concrete examples of the power and value of the CO APCD.
  • The Healthy Transitions Colorado campaign hosted a series of three symposia centered on Cultivating the Network in Colorado. These events were well attended and connections were made between local resources and those in need.
  • Conducted three Palliative Care Town Halls attended by over 100 stakeholders to discuss a statewide palliative care effort and determined next steps for Colorado.
  • CIVHC continues to partner with key Colorado based organizations to inform opportunities for improvement and ways to further support key initiatives.

Strategic Initiative V: Make a meaningful impact nationally.

  • CIVHC, the CO APCD, and all played large roles in garnering Colorado an "A" grade for price transparency by the Catalyst for Payment Reform.
  • As part of a grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the National Bureau of Economic Research, CIVHC has begun working with Harvard researchers and the Colorado cancer registry to explore opportunities to combine data and perform analysis to support the overall project.
  • The Center for Advancing Palliative Care conference accepted CIVHC's poster summary of the Palliative Care in Colorado white paper published in 2015. The summary was also published in the May issue of the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

As we look back, we are proud of what the CIVHC team and our partners have accomplished. We have not yet reached our ultimate destination or vision, but we are achieving the incremental steps necessary to climb the podium.

The next year and its challenges will move us farther along on our path and we now focus our eyes on the future and the next set of steps and small successes. We thank those who support us on this journey and we welcome any who wish join us as we continue to chase our dream of lower costs, better care, and a healthier Colorado.

About the Author: Ana English is CIVHC's President and CEO. Contact her at

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