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Analysis

4 Top Areas For Value Investments

By Philip Betbeze  
   July 13, 2018

A survey suggests that developing measurement tools and aligning physicians and other clinicians are among the top keys to success as value-based care makes up an increasing share of revenue.

The shift toward value in healthcare reimbursement may appear to be happening slowly, but the industry's leaders seem to know investing in this dramatic change in the way they're paid is paramount.

They're investing in the tools and skills needed to make the transition more smoothly as patients, employers, and payers grow more insistent on quantifying the value healthcare organizations provide in their work, according to a HealthLeaders intelligence report: "Staying the Course on Value."

Lead researcher Jonathan Bees says hospitals, health systems, and other care providers are particularly focused on improving care coordination and patient engagement. They recognize these areas are critical to transforming care delivery toward prevention of high-acuity interventions, a 180-degree shift from the incentives that have driven healthcare services consumption for decades, and which still exert a huge influence on utilization.

The shift in incentives, measuring tools, and training may be difficult, but it's also difficult to change infrastructure needs to accommodate a shift toward value, according to Karen Hanlon, executive vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer at Highmark Health, and the lead advisor for the report.

"You have to figure out, how do you repurpose that asset base to be aligned with what your approach to care is in a value-based model—one where you're trying to keep people out of the hospital," she says.

Four areas the survey of nearly 100 top healthcare executives reveals as current top targets for investment include:   

  1. Developing value-based performance metrics: 79% consider their ability to develop these competencies as somewhat strong (54%) or very strong (25%). Such investments can include expensive measurement tools and initiatives, but they don't have to.
     
  2. Care coordination/guiding patients to appropriate care: Many organizations have made significant investments in guiding patients to appropriate care. 71% of respondents rated those capabilities as somewhat strong or very strong. Increasingly, those efforts represent labor costs in the form of care coordinators.  
     
  3. Aligning physicians and providers: Money isn't the key here, necessarily, but lining up incentives is a key challenge. For example, while 73% of respondents rated their employed clinician alignment as somewhat strong or very strong, they had challenges with independents, where only 42% rated alignment as strong or very strong.  
     
  4. EHR standardization: Some 64% of respondents rated their EHR standardization among care partners as strong or very strong, but there's still plenty of work to be done to make sure these expensive investments yield results in value generation. For example, only 34% rated their predictive analytics capability as somewhat strong or very strong.
     

Download the free full survey and analysis here.

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.


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