A Message from Past Qualidigm President & CEO, Tim Elwell… 

For over 37 years, Qualidigm has been a leading national healthcare consulting and research organization, providing quality improvement and patient safety services to transform care delivery and improve outcomes.  As a result of business slowdown due to COVID-19, a shift in the federal administration’s focus, dramatic delays, and reductions in federal funding, Qualidigm’s operations are no longer sustainable. After much careful consideration, the Board of Directors made the responsible action to dissolve the company on October 1, 2020, announced in a press release on September 8, 2020.

While we are saddened by the direction of the organization, we are proud of our history, accomplishments, and our long-standing reputation as a high-performing Quality Improvement Organization.  Thank you to our partners, friends, and employees who are committed to transforming the quality, safety, and value of healthcare by leading, collaborating, and aligning improvement efforts.

We have successfully transferred many of our programs and workforce to other like-minded healthcare organizations to continue Qualidigm’s important contributions to the healthcare industry into the future.

While Qualidigm will fade away, its legacy remains. Thank you for your partnership, trust, and support.

Historical Timeline

Explore Qualidigm milestones, achievements, and impact on the healthcare industry over the past 37 years. 

1974
1983
1988
1988
1989
1992
1993
1993
1994
1994
1995
1995
1995
1996
1996
1996
1996
1996
1996
1996
1998
1998
1998
1998
1999
1999
2000
2001
2001
2001
2001
2002
2006
2006
2010
2011
2011
2011
2012
2012
2013
2013
2013
2013
2014
2014
2014
2014
2015
2015
2015
2017
2019
2019
2019
2020

1974

Hartford County Professional Standards Review Organization (HCPSRO) established.

Established as a not-for-profit organization by the Hartford County Medical Association to contract with Medicare to implement a program to determine the necessity, appropriateness, and quality of medical care provided to Medicare beneficiaries in the county. It was one of four organizations in the state established to cover the entire state.  It served as the precursor to Qualidigm.

1983

CT Peer Review Organization, Inc. (CPRO) incorporated.

CPRO was sponsored by the Connecticut State Medical Society as the statewide successor to the four PSROs in the state. Marcia Petrillo was named the Executive Director of the new not- for-profit organization.

1988

CPRO awarded its first Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) contract.

CPRO became the state’s designated Quality Improvement Organization, the largest federal program dedicated to healthcare quality improvement.

1988

CPRO awarded expansion to Medicare contract.

CPRO was one of six peer review organizations to assist Medicare in developing a screening process for the collection of predetermined data elements of the clinical characteristics of patients at hospital admission during process of care and final outcome. This work resulted in the Uniform Clinical Data Set System (USDSS) to be implemented nationally.

1989

CPRO awarded CT Medicaid contract, its first non-Medicare contract.

CPRO provided preadmission review and retrospective review for the Medicaid CONNCUR program under contract to the Connecticut Department of Income and Maintenance, now known as the Department of Social Services (DSS).

1992

Medicare contract with CPRO expanded to explore strategies with health care leaders to improve quality of care in hospitals.

CPRO convened a meeting of these leaders to explore the possibility of improving quality of care. The leaders determined that data collection and analysis should be conducted to identify if that approach would yield identification of opportunities to improve care. CPRO conducted medical record data collection and analysis in several volunteer facilities resulting in the identification of opportunities to improve care.

1993

Medicare contract expanded to authorize work on the pilot test of a model (Health Care Quality Improvement Initiative – HCQII) to reshape the approach for caring for Medicare beneficiaries.

CPRO was one of two peer review organizations selected to work on the project. HCQII is based on the teamwork concept adopted by many businesses to improve quality. It focused on bringing about collaboration among physicians, facilities and peer review organizations to improve care.

1993

M.O.R.E. (mammography  optimum referral effort) project initiated.

This was the first partnership among CPRO, primary care physicians, and community groups to improve the rate of mammography among Medicare beneficiary in the state. It resulted in a 15% relative rate of increase of mammograms in these women.

1994

CPRO receives the Health Care Financing Administration’s (HCFA) “Administrators Award”.

CPRO was recognized for the design and development of the Cooperative Cardiovascular Project to improve the quality of care for patients experiencing a heart attack (Acute Myocardial Infarction – AMI). It is the highest award given by HCFA recognizing commitment to assure high quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries.

1994

1994

First formal collaboration with CT Hospital Association to improve quality of care.

This was the first time that CPRO and the CT Hospital Association partnered to improve hospital care. It focused on the care of pneumonia patients

1995

Quality Partners of Rhode Island (QPRI), the Quality Improvement Organization for Rhode Island incorporated.

CPRO consulted with the Rhode Island Medical Society to help in their establishment of QPRI (now known as Health Centric Advisors). Marcia Petrillo served as the organization’s first Executive Director.

1995

1995

Groundbreaking effort to improve Myocardial Infarction care for all patients – the MIP II Project initiated.

This project was unique in that its goal was to improve the quality of care for both Medicare and non-Medicare patients.

1995

Beneficiary Liaison Committee established.

This committee of beneficiary volunteers assisted CPRO to continuously improve its education outreach efforts.

1996

The Rhode Island Department of Human Services (Medicaid) awarded contract to CPRO.

Under this contract, nurse case reviewers performed utilization review services for Rhode Island fee-for-service Medicaid recipients for over 24 years.

1996

1996

CT Beneficiary Outreach Coalition established.

Its mission was to educate beneficiaries about their rights and benefits. The coalition included 11 organizations which contracted directly or indirectly with Medicare/Medicaid to provide education, quality monitoring, claims processing and payment and legal services.

1996

CPRO partnered with Beth Israel Hospital researcher.

CPRO was engaged by Lisa Iezzoni, M.D. to test an approach to identify patients who may be at risk of complications while they are in the hospital. The ultimate goal was to minimize the risk for those patients.

1996

CPRO/CT Thoracic Society developed first state-wide clinical pathway in the country.

CPRO worked with the Society to develop a list of protocols which physicians, nurses and other health care professionals should consider when treating pneumonia patients.

1996

CPRO engaged in a unique public/private partnership to improve care.

Working with 12 hospitals and VHA of Southern New England, Harlan Krumholz, M.D., led this effort to improve care of patients hospitalized with congestive heart failure. The results included a significantly higher measurement of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) in patients and a significant drop in 30-day and 6-month readmissions from 1995 to 1998.

1996

CPRO awarded 3-year contract by Rhode Island Quality Partners (RIQP).

CPRO provided project management, data collection/analysis, human resources, accounting, and telephone review services for this newly established quality improvement organization.

1996

Medicaid contract expanded to work with managed care organizations.

CPRO conducted quality improvement projects with the 11 Medicaid managed care plans, audited their operations, and developed a data base to facilitate quality improvement activities, future planning, and overall program design.

1998

CPRO announces name change to Qualidigm.

This change reflected the organization’s focus on identifying and implementing innovative approaches to improving quality of care and the expansion of its work beyond Connecticut.

1998

1998

Qualidigm expands efforts to build a healthy community.

Building on the effort to improve the influenza immunization rate for Medicare beneficiaries, CPRO recruited over 56 mass immunizers including VNAs, Medicare Managed Care Organizations, the CT American Lung Association, and the CT Department of Health to work together in this effort. Over 50 of the mass immunizers offered pneumococcal pneumonia immunizations during their flu clinics. This effort resulted in 2,800 pneumonia vaccinations in 1998. In 1999, that number increased to 10,400 representing a 371% increase from the previous year.

1998

Abt Associates, Inc., sub- contracts to Qualidigm to support national long-term care project.

This five-year contract developed innovative ways to measure long-term care quality to support the Medicare Survey and Certification process, and internal quality improvement in nursing homes nationwide.

1998

RAND Corporation awards sub-contract to Qualidigm.

This national project was funded to encourage healthy aging among Medicare beneficiaries. It focused on working with physician offices in seven states to promote a smoking cessation program to test its effectiveness, feasibility, and cost effectiveness.

1999

Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) awards general support contract to Qualidigm.

This contract was to support the development of a public reporting system for clinical and patient satisfaction measures for all settings of care.

1999

Medicare selected Qualidigm as the National AMI Clinical Support PRO (CASPRO).

Qualidigm’s Medicare contract was expanded to include the design and implementation of its national initiative to improve care for patients who have experienced a heart attack.

2000

Medicare expanded contract with Qualidigm to support its national effort to improve heart attack care.

Based on eight years of work with Medicare to improve the care of patients hospitalized with heart attack, Qualidigm was chosen to coordinate this effort including providing on-going support to all PROs and developing partnerships with heart-related national and state organizations. The formal program name for this effort was Quality Improvement Organization Support Center (QIOSC).

2001

Qualidigm initiated project with primary care physicians to improve quality of office care.

The project included 100+ physicians to improve the care of patients with cerebrovascular disease, heart disease, and diabetes; and to encourage the use of screening and preventive services. As a result, Qualidigm was asked to work with CMS to assist in developing a national approach to improving quality of care in physician offices.

2001

CMS awarded Hospital Core Performance Measurement contract to Qualidigm.

This initiative developed guidelines for the public reporting of quality measures. The guidelines were tested in Rhode Island to support the implementation of its public reporting law. These guidelines became the prototype for the current Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program.

2001

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation awards contract to Qualidigm.

This was a unique collaboration with the CT Women and Disability Network, Inc., the ADA Coalition of CT, Progressive Attitudes, the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities in CT, and the Radiological Society of CT. Its focus was to increase breast cancer screening for women with disabilities. Qualidigm received the Presidential Award for outstanding commitment to service in the disability community from the Americans With Disability Act Coalition of CT in 2002 in recognition of the project’s success.

2001

2001

Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring (MPSMS) contract awarded to Qualidigm by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Qualidigm worked on a team with CMS leadership to create the MPSMS data collection and analysis program. Once created, AHRQ assumed responsibility for the contract. Qualidigm maintained the program for over 19 years. MPSMS is considered the gold standard for national adverse event reporting and served as the foundation for the development of the national hospital adverse events electronic measures program.

2001

2002

Qualidigm recognized in inaugural Rhode Island public report on hospital quality of care.

This report was the first of its kind in the country. It represented a four-year effort among HEALTH, The Hospital Association of Rhode Island, Quality Partners of Rhode Island, CMS, JCAHO, and Qualidigm.  (See previous contracts noted in 1999 and 2001 which supported this work). The report introduced the concept of a “composite measure” (bundling several measures for a specific condition, e.g. pneumonia). A composite measure makes it easier for the reader to understand how frequently a hospital is providing recommended care to its patients.

2002

2006

Qualidigm becomes one of the founders of eHealthConnecticut.

The not-for-profit organization was established as a collaborative approach to meeting the challenges of health information technology adoption and interoperability for the entire State. It included representation from providers, insurers, and consumers.

2006

2006

Qualidigm convened the CT Culture Change Coalition (CTCCC)

CTCCC brought together providers, regulators, consumers, families, and long-term care stakeholders to improve the culture in CT nursing homes.

2006

2010

Qualidigm launched the “Communities of Care” initiative.

This community approach to quality improvement brought together both inpatient and outpatient providers/caregivers in each community to decrease hospital readmissions in 14 Connecticut geographic regions. It resulted in a 21.6% relative improvement rate in readmissions and a 15.3% relative improvement rate in admissions over three years resulting in over $200M in cost savings.

2010

2011

Qualidigm produced and launched “Heart Talk: Living with Heart Failure” video series.

The educational video series was produced to guide health care providers, patients, and their families in managing heart failure. It is used in hundreds of healthcare facilities nationally and internationally.  www.hearttalk.org

2011

2011

Qualidigm founded CT Partners for Health (CTPH)

CTPH is a group of over 40 health care stakeholders formed to align, rather than duplicate healthcare quality initiatives in Connecticut. Its mission was to engage consumers to become active, informed partners in managing their health and healthcare. CTPH hosts an annual patient engagement forum, the Better Health Conference.

2011

2011

RI Medicaid contract expanded to include case management services (The Connect Care Choice Program).

Qualidigm nurse case managers provided comprehensive screening, assessment, coordination of care services for Medicaid recipients resulting in decreased hospitalizations and total savings of $5,445,000 over four years.

2012

Qualidigm launched Care Transitions Leadership Academy.

Qualidigm developed this series of in-person educational workshops for health care leaders who are committed to improving patient transitions across settings of care. The Academy’s 13 interactive workshops drew 350-400 CT health care leaders to each session.

2012

2012

Abt Associates subcontracts to Qualidigm for development of long-term care educational program.

The TeamSTEPPS program was developed for the hospital setting for continuing education of health care staff. Qualidigm translated the hospital-based TeamSTEPPS® text and associated training materials, language, scenarios, examples, and discussions to apply to the long-term care provider audience and produced video vignettes highlighting TeamSTEPPS®skills and techniques. All materials are accessible through the AHRQ website.

2013

Qualidigm recognized as #1 Best Place to Work.

Ranked first place as a small to mid-sized company in the Hartford Business Journal’s “Best Place to Work” competition in Connecticut.

2013

2013

Marcia Petrillo, first Qualidigm’s first Chief Executive Officer, retires.

Petrillo served in this capacity for 31 years.

2013

2013

Tim Elwell is named new President & CEO of Qualidigm.

After an extensive national search, Elwell joins Qualidigm to oversee the strategic direction of the company while spearheading the development, communication, and implementation of effective growth strategies to secure the organization’s sustainability and business development potential.

2013

2013

Qualidigm launched SMART AUDIT®, a web-based home health compliance tool.

This first-of-its-kind web-based tool audits and analyzes Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoP) compliance. It collects and aggregates data into a single dashboard for home health and hospice agencies to monitor compliance.

2013

2014

Qualidigm published “National Trends in Patient Safety for Four Common Conditions” in New England Journal of Medicine.

Using medical record data from MPSMS, the Qualidigm team found that adverse events for heart attack and heart failure declined, while improvements lagged for pneumonia and surgical patients.

2014

2014

Qualidigm serves as a partner for the New England Quality Innovation Network – Quality Improvement Organization.

This successor program to Medicare’s QIO program was reorganized as the Quality Innovation Network (QIN) program. Qualidigm collaborated with healthcare providers in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont to enhance care, experience, and outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries.

2014

2014

Qualidigm produced and launched Lung Talk educational video series.

This educational video series was produced to guide health care providers, patients, and their families in managing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  It is used in hundreds of healthcare facilities across the country. www.lungtalk.org

2014

2014

Opened New Hampshire Satellite Office.

First phase of Qualidigm’s expanded capabilities in Northern New England as part of Medicare’s Quality Innovation Network program.

2014

2015

President Obama references Qualidigm research in a speech marking the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.

The Qualidigm research cited stated that the Affordable Care Act was a major reason for the prevention of 50,000 patient deaths. This factoid earned a Geppetto Checkmark for accuracy in the Washington Post.

2015

2015

Opened Vermont Satellite Office

Continuation of Qualidigm’s expanded capabilities in Northern New England as part of Medicare’s Quality Innovation Network program.

2015

2015

Assisted in the organization of the Connecticut Choosing Wisely Collaborative (CCWC).

Group was organized to raise awareness in Connecticut about the Choosing Wisely® campaign, an initiative designed to help physicians and patients engage in conversations about the overuse of tests and procedures, elimination of low-value care, and to be a catalyst to accelerate the adoption of Choosing Wisely® in the State.

2015

2017

Relocated corporate office to 936 Silas Deane in Wethersfield.

Purchased the distressed 44,000 square foot property and immediately began extensive renovations to create a more modern, open space concept to foster collaboration and innovation among the Qualidigm staff.

2017

2019

Qualidigm merged with Maine Quality Counts

With over 50 years of collective healthcare consulting and quality improvement services, this merger consolidated the experience and qualifications of both organizations for providing comprehensive quality improvement services across New England.

2019

2019

The Maine “Caring for ME” initiative makes significant impact to address the state’s opioid epidemic.

Qualidigm (formerly Quality Counts) partnered with the Maine Medical Association to work with over 8,000 clinicians in 35 practice across the state to deliver learning collaboratives and technical assistance to address the opioid epidemic.  The project resulted in an 18% reduction in opioid prescriptions; a 27% reduction in doses; and a 16% reduction in morphine milligram equivalents in two years.

2019

2019

Northern New England Practice Transformation Network (PTN) Program exceeds national goals for clinician quality improvement and cost savings.

Qualidigm (formerly Quality Counts) led this collaborative to assist over 2,300 clinicians and directly support sites to achieve the “Quadruple Aim.” Results for the PTN include $160M savings in unnecessary hospitalizations and procedures; $81K average cost savings per clinician; and over 67K patients with improved outcomes.

2019

2020

Qualidigm partnered with the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) to launch a national study to identify key considerations for off-site testing of COVID-19.

National research to identify the key considerations for off-site testing of COVID-19 was launched by the NHRI with Qualidigm as one of its local partners. The key considerations were identified based on the qualitative analysis of interviews with leaders involved with planning and delivering tests on the front lines. Results from this four-week rapid-cycle research were shared nationally and incorporated into #OpenSafely, a campaign led by 20 national bipartisan health policy experts and leaders featured in USA Today.

2020

Qualidigm Through the Years