The idea of performance-based compensation has its roots in the corporate world, where sales and service teams are often paid commissions based on performance outcomes. Value-based medicine is simply another application of that model. Payment based on patient health outcomes rewards medical providers for improving patient health.
So, how does one measure the success of an ambiguous goal like “improvements in patient health”?
The success or failure centers on the word “improvement.” Doctors need benchmarks and key performance indicators so they can determine the net effect of care. They also need evidence-based care standards that can be shared across the industry if they hope to succeed.
As more and more doctors adopt the practice of evidence-based medicine, these standards will lead to the systematic review of best practices, thereby giving doctors the tools they need for clinical decisions based on data.
Why does the healthcare industry need evidence-based care standards?
The ultimate success of the value-based care model is lower healthcare costs, higher recovery rates, and better patient experience. All of these outcomes contribute to higher-quality healthcare over time.
High-quality healthcare implies care that is consistent with the best evidence. An evidence-based clinical practice analyzes the potential for alternate diagnostic tests and treatments based on data. To get that data, trained clinicians need to test, evaluate, and apply the best quality of evidence. Doctors will have to take it one step further and decide which of the evidence-based treatments hold the most promise for the treatment of their patients.
How can a doctor use evidence-based healthcare standards to improve outcomes?
Evidence-based treatment plans can’t be made if a physician is not staying on top of cutting edge technologies and evidence-based patient care guidelines.
According to the CDC, “Clinical preventive strategies are available for many chronic diseases; these strategies include intervening before disease occurs (primary prevention), detecting and treating the disease at an early stage (secondary prevention), and managing disease to slow or stop its progression (tertiary prevention). These interventions, combined with lifestyle changes, can substantially reduce the incidence of chronic disease and the disability and death associated with chronic disease.”
Regular monitoring of asthma and other chronic conditions should not only drive better outcomes but may also increase practice revenues from billable office visits and testing. At the same time, it reduces the cost of asthma by reducing hospital visits and time spent in recovery, away from school or work.
How can a doctor make the transition to value-based care?
First and foremost, value-based care requires physicians to embrace a team-based approach to patient management. That team is made up of both medical personnel and patients.
If remote monitoring or preventative care for asthma leads to better outcomes or accessibility to care, then doctors should establish proactive outreach programs to their patients. Encourage the use of emerging technologies for remote asthma monitoring. Use data from remote monitoring to prescribe treatment rather than solely relying on “how a patient feels.”
Evidence-based care should never remove the human element from the doctor-patient relationship. Instead, it can give new insight into those patients’ “feelings.”
Is value-based healthcare here to stay?
It appears that value-based care is disrupting the healthcare industry. Medicare now incents providers who track quality activities and demonstrate quality performance. Accountable care organizations also tie reimbursement to quality activities. With evidence to back up treatment, value-based care has the ability to transform how doctors practice medicine and improve health, lower health costs, and improve the overall quality of care.