What IT advancements are needed to improve value-based care?
VBHC is focused on providing high-quality care that is tailored to the individual patient. Technology is a key driver of its success.
Value-based healthcare (VBHC) is a healthcare delivery model that aims to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs. The concept is not new. Health systems have been working to improve value-based care since the early 2000s. However, the Affordable Care Act has advanced the adoption of VBHC models, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has set a goal of tying 100% of Medicare payments to value-based care models by 2025. In other words, value-based healthcare is now both trending and vital to health systems’ long-term success.
Healthcare IT plays a critical role in driving VBHC by providing the tools and infrastructure needed to collect and analyze data, streamline workflows, and support patient-centered care delivery. Now, demands for VBHC require more than implementing or upgrading an EHR. Health systems must look at their overall technology landscape and assess its effectiveness and user experience – for both provider and patient.
If you are interested in moving toward a VBHC model, these are some of the key IT advancements to consider:
1. Modernize your IT department.
First and foremost, your organization must see technology as both an enabler and equal contributor to business strategy. That starts with a modern IT department. IT must work collaboratively across the entire health system, but oftentimes this is not the case. An IT department moving from back-end support to proactive enablement typically struggles with process standardization, defined governance, and formal change management. Modernizing an IT department is a significant journey and usually requires a trusted guide from outside the organization to reach full IT maturity.
2. Gain better control of your organization’s IT assets.
Many experts will cite interoperability of patient data between health systems as a critical enabler of VBHC.3 While this is true, health systems must first improve the interoperability of their own technology systems. For example, a finely tuned Configuration Management Database, such as ServiceNow, should help you deliver on your business strategies. With all processes and systems on one dashboard, health systems can automate processes and act on needs across departments and platforms. The CMD will act as a baseline foundation for future interoperability.
3. Enable analytics to track social determinants of health.
One of the newest trends in VBCH is a focus on addressing social determinants of health, such as poverty, housing insecurity, and food insecurity. Providers are recognizing that these factors have a significant impact on health outcomes and are looking for ways to address them. Advanced analytics, such as machine learning and predictive modeling, can help providers identify patients at high risk for adverse outcomes and tailor interventions to their specific needs.2 Analytics can also be used to track outcomes, measure the effectiveness of interventions, and identify opportunities for improvement.1 Acting on analytics will require an IT team with developing talent that continuously meets the industry’s latest advancements. Consider how your current talent pipeline meets those demands.
4. Assess the quality of your patient engagement tools.
Patient engagement is critical to achieving the goals of VBCH. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of telehealth as a means of delivering care and improving outcomes. Patient engagement should not be limited to just telehealth, though. Your organization should use technology to assist patients with the complete lifecycle of their health journey. Patient portals, mobile apps, and other IT tools can enable patients to access their health information, communicate with their providers, and participate in their care.
5. Advance your system security.
Health systems will have an ever-growing IT footprint. Gone are the days when security could be managed within the brick and mortar of the hospital. CISOs now must account for PHI interfacing with many ancillary systems and platforms. To be successful, health systems require strong controls and security audits. Are you confident that your security system is impenetrable to threats?
New trends in VBCH reflect a growing recognition of the importance of addressing social determinants of health, adopting new technologies, and shifting payment models to incentivize value over volume.
For many health systems, this will mean focusing on transforming their own IT culture. Transformation involves building the case for change, moving barriers, and following best-practice methodologies. When selecting a technology transformation partner, health systems must consider both sides of the equation – healthcare and IT.
Optimum Healthcare IT is one of the only healthcare-dedicated technology, security, and cloud advising firms. We understand the industry’s unique requirements and draw upon the subject matter expertise across our full-service range. Our approach is all-encompassing, so our partners gain solutions that work for today and tomorrow.