In my most recent post about your journey from volume to value, we discussed how organizations can improve their technology and processes around patient access points and medical necessity. Today, my focus will be on clinical technology.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are the primary interface for clinicians to capture and manage information from patient encounters. As the repository of valuable patient information, EHRs should be considered a starting point for value-based reimbursement. EHRs house clinical data that can support comprehensive prevention and chronic care, as well as the data needed for quality and population reporting.
Another essential capability is the sharing of data among professionals in the health system via a Health Information Exchange (HIE). These systems and technology facilitate movement and consolidation of data between the various accountable care partners.
Other technologies that facilitate the flow of data, information, and communication include Personal Health Records (PHRs) and patient portals. PHRs help organizations gather patient-supplied data and engage patients in their own health maintenance. Patient portals also engage patients, provide health management tools and gather data, and allow for secure clinician-to-patient communication.
Care within a fee-for-value setting thrives on data, but getting quality, actionable data from multiple internal and external systems is a constant challenge. As separate organizations create ACOs and other value-based arrangements together, integrating data into a virtual or central data warehouse is a must to manage costs and improve quality.
In these arrangements, HIEs make health care data more useful by enabling real-time data integration. But this is a big undertaking, demanding full consideration of security and privacy protocols and source data compatibility. The data needs to be normalized using standardized clinical nomenclature, defined data relationships and comprehensive quality controls. All of this requires thoughtful planning.
With good data as a foundation, ACOs will want to apply analytics and predictive modeling tools to help them support population health management capabilities. These tools, which we will further address in later posts, help health professionals identify current high-risk patients, predict with a high degree of certainty whether a patient could become high risk, determine the most effective interventions for a given population, and analyze clinical performance.
One suggestion I want to emphasize: involve practicing physicians in your procurement and implementation of any and all technology related to your move from volume to value. Physicians are critical to the success of your value journey, and physician acceptance and adoption of the technology associated with your journey will help ensure that you meet your objectives.