Harnessing Health Data in Pursuit of Triple Aim

May 28, 2018 08:00 am David Mitchell

Being first is nothing new to Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts, M.D.

When Osbourne-Roberts, 40, was elected president of the Colorado Medical Society in 2013, he was the youngest person and the first black physician to hold the office. Osbourne-Roberts was also the first black president of the Colorado AFP and recently completed his term as Board chair of that chapter. He also is a delegate to the AMA House of Delegates and an alternate delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates.

Now, Osbourne-Roberts is helping break ground in a new area.

"It's very rare as a physician that you have a chance to help create an entirely new field," he said. "That's what I'm doing, trying to help create this thing that can make the world a better place."

Osbourne-Roberts is the chief medical officer for the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC),(www.civhc.org) the independent, not-for-profit administrator of the Colorado All Payer Claims Database. With access to 75 percent of the claims information from the state's public and private insurers -- covering 4.3 million patients and 750 million claims data sets -- CIVHC provides data analysis related to cost, quality and utilization.

CIVHC's goal, he said, is to advance the triple aim of better health, better care and lower costs.

"Data is powerful, but in health care, no one really knows just how to use it yet," he said. "Within the health care industry, data use is in its 'Bronze Age.' Our job at CIVHC is to try to illuminate things and bring them into the light."

For example, in partnership with a local community health organization,(www.civhc.org) CIVHC conducted groundbreaking research using data from more than 1,400 patients to prove that specific interventions in social determinants of health (specifically, nutrition and diet) improved outcomes and reduced costs.

In addition to his role with CIVHC, Osbourne-Roberts is an associate medical director for a hospice and palliative care service, as well as a float physician for several primary care and urgent care facilities. He and wife, Camille, have a 9-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter.

"Just today, I was telling a group of physicians, 'You're all juggling a lot of balls. Think of it as if some are rubber and some are glass. Don't drop the glass balls,'" said Osbourne-Roberts, who also is a member of the AAFP Commission on Quality and Practice. "For me, my family and my health are the glass balls. I have to protect them and prioritize them, and only then do I know how much time I have left for everything else. It's a lot of scheduling and organization and the occasional dropped ball. You make it work."