The healthcare industry’s ongoing shift to value-based reimbursement is affecting healthcare organizations of all sizes and specialties. How to best transition to value-based care is a challenge for many healthcare leaders, with 37 percent of healthcare CEOs reporting that they are still in the “investigative” stage of transitioning to value-based care.
From improving communication to conducting financial analyses, here’s what industry leaders say about important first steps to take as healthcare organizations implement value-based care initiatives.
Improving communication among staff, as well as with patients and their caregivers, is a crucial first step, according to Christina Thielst, FACHE healthcare administration consultant. She says that moving toward value-based care requires effective communication to reduce the risk of adverse events and errors, improve patient safety and improve the self-management of patients’ chronic conditions.
“Think about the potential impact of improved communication on readmission and hospital-acquired infection rates on the patient experience,” says Thielst. “But also think about how today’s technologies can facilitate better and more efficient communications – during transitions in care or anytime patients and caregivers have questions or need support.”
Focus on Health-Related Goals
Author and speaker Dave Chase recommends that healthcare leaders get their staff focused on helping individual patients achieve their health goals as organizations adapt to a value-based care environment.
“After all, individuals (a.k.a. patients) make most of the decisions that most significantly influence outcomes for where we spend 80 percent of healthcare dollars – chronic conditions,” says Chase. “If your organization thinks layering on a veneer of ‘patient engagement’ is simply something that’s nice to have, you are positioned to fail in this new environment.”
Develop a Customized Financial Plan
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all payment model that healthcare organizations can follow as they implement value-based care initiatives. Organizations will have to invest in customized analyses to determine a payment model that’s sustainable.
“The devil will be in the details of balancing investment in new capabilities, speed of transition to value-based care (VBC) and managing financial risk,” writes Mitch Morris, M.D., Vice Chair and Global Healthcare Leader at Deloitte. “Organizations can start now by understanding their market position, assessing their capabilities, conducting a financial analysis and aligning around opportunities.”
Consider Going Mobile
Mobile strategies can help health organizations better support patients, particularly those with chronic conditions, says Geeta Nayyar, M.D., M.B.A., former AT&T CMIO & assistant clinical professor at George Washington University.
“Value-based care will require more touch points with patients that the traditional model of healthcare delivery will be hard pressed to deliver on,” says Nayyar. “In addition, start thinking about implementing care transitions and care coordination tools for high risk patient populations. This will become very critical as you prepare for the future, since value-based healthcare is about keeping your patient healthy by preventing critical conditions and educating them in a timely manner.”
Pressure is on healthcare leaders to determine how their organizations will implement value-based care strategies. For the one-third who are still investigating how to proceed, there are goals to work toward beginning now. From improving communication to conducting financial analyses, healthcare leaders can take their first steps toward value-based care initiatives.
Read more “next steps” for value-based care in 2015, along with insights on how to control cost of ownership and deal with regulatory challenges, in the eBook 13 Insights for Conquering Healthcare Challenges in 2015 From the Experts.