Value-based care is more than a trend: It’s arguably the future of healthcare delivery in the United States. And, as Care Innovations® Chief Clinical Officer Julie Cherry (RN, MSN) Julie explains in a recent article for ADVANCE’s Health System Management, it also represents an opportunity for healthcare systems to embrace the potential of consumer technology to control both healthcare costs and the quality of care.
“When used correctly, technology has the potential to dramatically streamline workflows and reach greater populations,” writes Julie. “It’s not just about the technology that’s implemented; rather, technology is merely the tool that can help facilitate the delivery of unmatched care, improvement of outcomes and reduction of costs.”
Based on a simple premise, value-based care means achieving the best outcomes at the lowest cost. This is done by focusing on the patient’s path through the health system, rather than on the system itself — i.e., the not-always-organized collection of specialists and care delivery models that are built with an emphasis on volume rather than the quality of patient care.
What’s more, health systems that have yet to embrace value-based care may soon find their hand forced by market pressures: The industry is already moving towards bundled payments and a patient-centric care model. (The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services already has a series of value-based payment programs designed to “link provider performance of quality measures to provider payment.”)
“Emerging payment models and a rapidly evolving industry place increased pressure on hospitals and health systems to drive improved health outcomes while reducing costs,” as Julie Cherry writes in the ADVANCE article.
Technology in the form of remote patient management (RPM) can serve as a powerful resource to relieve that pressure and “help clinicians deliver high-quality care and empower patients to take a more active role in their health,” Julie adds.
How Technology Enables Value-Based Care
So how do healthcare systems achieve this new model of care? In a defining look at value-based carepublished in the Harvard Business Review in 2013, Professor Michael E. Porter and Dr. Thomas H. Lee lay out six key steps:
- Re-organizing the care continuum to focus on the patient's needs
- Measuring outcomes and costs for each patient
- Implementing bundled payments that reward successful care completion (rather than a stage-by-stage approach)
- Integrating care delivery to eliminate duplication and fragmentation
- Expanding geographic reach to improve efficiencies inherent in multisite delivery
- Building a technological foundation that can enable each of the above steps
And that last point is where RPM comes in, as Julie explains in her ADVANCE article.
“The promise of Health Information Technology (HIT) lies in the use of data to better connect patients and their clinicians,” she writes. “Technology serves as the foundation for hospitals and health systems to gather data to help manage populations for whom they are going at risk, ensuring lower costs and better outcomes overall.”
And RPM is perhaps the technology that best exemplifies this ability. Already widely used to help clinicians to “manage populations more effectively,” RPM helps achieve value-based care by:
- Effectively monitoring populations remotely
- Helping accomplish measurement efficiencies
- More efficiently connecting patients and clinicians
3 Ways to Achieve Value-Based Care
Julie goes on to describe the three principal ways in which RPM-based technology can be leveraged to help healthcare systems “maximize success in a value-based care environment.”
1. Define Your Goals. Technology improvements like RPM are more successful when they accompany “clearly defined goals and business plans,” Julie writes.
Where are your strengths, and where are your weaknesses? If you need to increase satisfaction and patient loyalty, you’ll want to seek out technology that’s “user-friendly and requires little setup for the consumer,” Julie writes. But if your focus is on reducing readmissions, you may to choose a program “developed to support behavior change,” she adds.
2. Gather and Use Data. Measuring your outcomes is as important as defining your goals, Julie notes. This means gathering and tracking data after you’ve implemented any new solution.
“Hospitals and health systems must be able to look at outcomes and adjust aspects of the program that aren’t aligned with reaching key goals,” she writes. “An organization needs to be ready to look at the data and use it to adjust clinical programs accordingly to improve outcomes.”
3. Embrace the Power of Customization. Like patients, every healthcare system is unique. With that in mind, your technology partner should not only be able but committed to customizing a solution that fits your specific needs.
“Managers shouldn’t expect a one-size-fits-all, off-the-shelf solution to solve all their clinical problems. It’s not enough to purchase and implement technology in a plug-and-play scenario. Adopting a new technology should involve a complete shift in the care paradigm to allow for adequate customization.”
Looking for more information on how to leverage remote patient management in your transition to value-based care? We invite you to contact a Care Innovations representative for more information.