The shift to value-based care is moving full steam ahead. Delivering the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim—higher quality, lower costs and better outcomes—is more important now than ever.

How do we as physicians meet these goals, while most importantly, keep the patient at the center of our model? By encouraging interoperability of systems through open health IT platforms, we can deliver better care to our patients, at a lower cost, and ultimately foster healthier patient populations.

My practice, Holston Medical Group (HMG), now has several years’ experience using open platforms and establishing value-based initiatives. HMG is a multi-specialty physician group that sees an average of 40,000 patients per month across 41 offices in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Physician-owned and physician-led, HMG manages a diversified group of more than 150 primary care physicians, specialists and mid-level providers.

We’ve used technology to help us deliver high-quality care for more than two decades and know firsthand the importance of sharing data across disparate groups. Healthcare organizations need one place they can access a single patient record from all providers managing the patient’s care plans, regardless of their native EHRs.

From primary care physicians to surgeons to specialists—every patient has an abundance of data that clinicians need to manage. With so much data traveling in and out of patients’ records, and without a central spot to manage the data, the risk of incomplete patient care is high. Healthcare practices need to consistently capture data for individual patients and across patient populations to assess progress toward achieving better outcomes.

HMG has embraced interoperability and strives to incorporate it as a cornerstone of our the several value-based initiatives in which we participate. In one of these initiatives, we helped form a physician-led Accountable Care Organization (ACO), Qualuable Medical Professionals. HMG was one of the founding members that engaged other independent physician groups in the region to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), forming the certified ACO in 2013.

Forming an ACO was not without challenges. We had to help medical groups with different systems work together. We needed a way to normalize the data from the various EHRs so all caregivers could have access to patients’ complete care histories, something that is critical to providing the best possible care.

Seeing this need, HMG participated in another collaborative effort to launch a health information exchange (HIE) under OnePartner, a technology and healthcare transformation company that specializes in providing consulting and data solution services. The HIE’s Community Record enables secure, safe and actionable access to information across the continuum to improve patient care and enable value.

One of the organizing principles of the ACO was that all physicians who chose to participate would also participate in the HIE to share their data with the community of providers. Now, there are more than 600 physicians in Qualuable that connect and share information with the HIE. This makes a huge impact on the ability to effectively and efficiently report on quality measures.

We’re also seeing more unity among our physicians—more access to patient data means that, as a group, we make more intelligent and timely decisions to keep costs down and quality up. With better access to patient records through the EHR, HMG is better able to effectively treat patients, avoiding unnecessary and costly trips to the emergency room. Our physicians find tremendous clinical value in being able to view patient information through the OnePartner HIE.

No matter the organization size or where it is in its journey, we’re all part of the community of health that is working at the intersection of innovation, imagination and information. Collaboration is the only way to accelerate solving problems and achieving the Triple Aim—and open platforms enable the brightest minds from all corners of the industry to work together.

The goal in providing value-based care is to take better care of our patients. Open technology that enables the sharing of critical data can help practices keep patients at the center of their model while lowering the cost. Together, healthcare organizations can improve the overall health of the communities they serve by championing this patient-centered, data-driven approach to value-based care.

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