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Healthcare executives should invest in value-based care technologies now, Deloitte says

The consultancy advises hospital executives to ramp up technology initiatives to support new payment models now.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

New research from Deloitte found that hospitals leading the charge to value-based contracts are adopting emerging technologies for population health and care coordination, data aggregation and management, as well as reporting and analytics.

While that sounds obvious enough, the Deloitte report also determined that as hospital revenue tips more toward payments based on outcomes and risk, and more consumers show an interest in taking their care into their own hands, healthcare systems -- even those mainly working in traditional payment environments -- really need to move beyond the electronic health record to meet the demands of the new market.

WHAT HOSPITAL EXECUTIVES NEED TO KNOW

Understanding the impact of the shift in payments on margins is important because many health systems may need the capital to invest in new technologies.

Today, many hospitals appear to be in a holding pattern, waiting until the tide shifts to begin the journey toward new payment models. Waiting to invest, however, could put organizations at risk of falling behind on the adoption curve, Deloitte cautioned.

The authors said health systems should consider accelerating investment strategies now while fee-for-service revenue remains a strong contributor to margins. Once the industry reaches a tipping point, revenue based on outcomes and risk could exponentially increase, leaving fewer resources for new investments.

THE BIGGER TREND

The analysis looked at data from 4,500 hospitals and divided them into two groups: those with no incentives (meaning they don't have revenue from value-based contracts), and those with incentives (so at least a fraction of their total revenue comes from such contracts).

Between 2012 and 2016, quality and value incentives were strongly associated with the adoption of certain data-related technologies, particularly the ones listed above. Hospitals with and without incentives, however, were roughly equivalent when it came to adopting patient and provider engagement technologies, or even supply chain and revenue cycle tech.

Hospitals with incentives were more likely than hospitals with no incentives to have adopted population health management technologies, but less likely to have adopted case mix management technologies. There was no significant difference between the two groups in the adoption of patient acuity, outcome and quality management, and clinical decision support technologies.

Overall, the data shows most health systems' technology adoption strategies are focused on organizing clinical data and information, and adopting EHR systems and analytics capabilities to interpret the data. These technologies will likely continue to be critical.

But the analysis also shows that many health systems -- even ones that are farther along the road to new payment arrangements -- may still lack critical technologies. This suggests health systems should go beyond the EHR to focus on patient and provider engagement technologies, such as virtual care, and core operational and financial applications.

Value-based care is on the rise, and statistics are trickling in that detail to what extent this is true. In fact, an October report found the percentage of healthcare payments tied to value-based care reached 34 percent in 2017, up 23 percent from 2015.

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com

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