Value-based care: A collaborative approach is the only approach according to HIMSS17

By Dodge Communications (not verified) on March 2nd, 2017

If you went to HIMSS17, value-based care was likely at the center of your experience. The big hitter focuses, like quality, interoperability and patient engagement, have been and will continue to be key drivers in the way that industry stakeholders approach healthcare – clinically, financially and technically. But as a PR professional in the space, and a HIMSS first timer, my question going into the show was this: what’s the value-based care story and why is it important to my clients? 

This is a question the industry still has a long way to go in answering, at least tactically. We still need to iron out regulatory details, like how to apply, measure and standardize quality. Though there’s no “one size fits all” approach to a market fueled by fee-for-value, there are certainly legislative and technical stepping stones in place that have kick-started the shift. At HIMSS17, I got to experience some of healthcare’s “brightest minds” firsthand, through the work of my clients, and other organizations like them, who are starting to figure these components out, one step at a time.

Below are just a few examples of how I witnessed the transition to value coming to life:

  • Health IT’s role in quality. Proving quality care at a lower cost – two areas the industry is holding physicians to high standards in achieving. Truly, this can’t be done without the right technology, meaning reporting quality must be a team effort among vendors and providers. At HIMSS17, I heard from one end-user in particular who is one step closer to better care because of HIT. She shared how the customizable analytics tools, provided by their vendor partner, allows physicians to access patient data in an easily understandable, actionable way to reach more successful financial and clinical outcomes. This vendor was helping to reduce administrative burdens through more relevant and usable health information – answering a common cry for help from doctors. This type of collaborative mindset is one that the industry would be wise to mirror as the industry shift progresses.
  • Breaking down data barriers. During the show, I spent some time at the CommonWell Health Alliance booth to dig a bit deeper on how vendors are putting their competitive differences aside to provide patients and providers better access to health information. It was encouraging to see the widespread collaboration of vendors physically represented in little blue dots scattered across a map of the U.S. Today, over sixty members are working, across more than 4,700 provider sites, toward better interoperability by building a network that shares comprehensive, accurate and actionable patient-centered data across care systems, and at a reasonable cost. Growing partnerships, like that between CommonWell and Carequality, is a promising step toward nationwide health IT connectivity.
  • MACRA as the industry’s mantra. In my opinion, the release of the final MACRA ruling may have been some of the biggest healthcare news in 2016 – and initial reactions were far from positive. Some uncertainty still exists around how to practically apply the four MIPS components, comprised of cost, quality, advancing care information and clinical improvement activities, or how to develop a successful reporting framework. However, it rang clear at this year’s show that many organizations are embracing the legislation and striving toward quality, and are focused on working with their vendor counterparts this year for help.

My overarching HIMSS17 takeaway? It’s clear that value remains king– even despite uncertainty looming from the new administration. But going back to my initial question, what does the value story look like? As of now, it’s commitment, from all stakeholders, to the one constant in healthcare that’s driving the industry’s transition to value – the patient. It was inspiring to see the strides vendors, providers and other industry professionals alike are making in providing better care – I look forward to going back to HIMSS in 2018 and seeing what another year of growth brings.

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