Greater availability of data is one of the key drivers in the transition to value-based care. With a better flow of information, it’s possible to eliminate redundancies and unnecessary testing. It also gives physicians greater context for diagnoses which helps them deliver the right level of care.
To enable this kind of data flow, health systems need to make imaging and other patient data available across the enterprise. Regardless of where the data is created or where it needs to be accessed, the process should be seamless.
Health IT made great strides forward in 2016, providing the critical infrastructure to support interoperability and cross-communication. True enterprise imaging — the availability of images beyond traditional departments, across and between health systems — is closer now than ever before.
There are still obstacles to overcome, however. Some are the natural growing pains that come with any major change. Some challenges arise directly from solving another problem. For example, greater interoperability leads to more security vulnerability. These challenges and many more will continue to drive innovation in health IT and enterprise imaging in 2017 and beyond.
Vendor-neutral archives (VNAs) were originally conceived as central repositories that connect multiple systems and eliminate the need for costly and disruptive data migrations. But as they have evolved, it’s evident that their value to a health system is well beyond that of a “store and forget” repository. When VNAs are deployed in the service of a comprehensive enterprise imaging strategy they become more than a data aggregator and are able to powerfully—and positively—impact clinical operations.
In April 2015, Congress passed the landmark bipartisan legislation MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act) which introduced two new payment tracks for physicians and guidelines to move compensation from a fee-to-service model to a value-based one. Ultimately, the legislation is intended to improve the quality of patient care in America by driving health care payment and delivery system reform for clinicians.
MACRA, or Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 is bipartisan legislation that was signed into law in 2015. In order to begin implementing the provisions in this legislation, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposal in April 2016 to align and modernize the way Medicare payments are tied to the quality and cost of patient care.
This proposal would replace the existing Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a new reimbursement plan for Medicare clinicians called the Quality Payment Program. The intention is to promote better care, smarter spending and healthier Americans.