Shift to value-based care is slow, hampered by lack of IT, data

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Progress toward a value-based care reimbursement system is slow, with clinicians hampered by a lack of information technology that could help them, according to a new survey of healthcare executives.

Two-thirds of respondents to the survey on the value-based healthcare ecosystem, which was conducted earlier this year, say the country still is primarily operating on a fee-for-service reimbursement basis.

The study, from Quest Diagnostics, queried 300 primary care physicians and 151 health plan executives.

The results offers a slight contradiction from a similar Quest Diagnotics survey conducted last year, when a majority of health plan executives said they believed doctors had the information technology and data to cope with the new pressures imposed by a value-based care system.

Three out of four doctors agree with that updated assessment, reporting this year that they don’t have the information they need on their patients—that’s an increase of 12 percentage points from last year. In addition, only 39 percent in 2018 say their electronic health record system provides the data necessary for patient care.

The gulf in perceptions about value-based care between insurers and providers is measureable. While 80 percent of health plans say investments in technology have improved the quality and the value of care, only 68 percent of physicians agreed.

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While the study suggests a long journey until value-based care becomes mainstream, there are ways to speed the process, says L. Patrick James, MD, chief clinical officer at Quest Diagnostics.

“Measures that optimize EHRs, make data more accessible and insightful and reduce complexity of quality measurement are much needed steps to accelerate this transition,” James adds. “First, however, it’s clear that health plans and physicians need to better align around a shared vision of how technology and data can improve patient care.”

There is one area where doctors and payers agree on value-based care—that’s on the potential for new technologies, such as bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning and the FHIR interoperability standard, to improve the shift to value-based care. It is encouraging that physicians and insurers both recognize these emerging technologies, says Lidia Fonseca, senior vice president and CIO at Quest.

“That’s a positive sign, because it means our industry may be more open to harnessing the power of technology and insights from data to spur important transitions like the shift to value-based care,” Fonseca says.

The study is available here.

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