The Future of Value-Based Care

For many decades, we’ve been following the fee-for-service care model in the United States. If you get sick, you can go to the doctor and get tested and/or treated, then pay for those services. At face value, this seems logical: you don’t pay until you get sick. Unfortunately, though, this model doesn’t incentivize preventative care and makes illness profitable.

Value-based care, on the other hand, rewards physicians for providing quality care and helping patients achieve good outcomes. This model incentivizes early intervention and prevention over expensive tests and treatments.

For patients, the shift towards value-based care is very positive. But most people have no idea what to expect from this new philosophy and way of operating. With big data making personalization and remote monitoring more common, we’re likely to see value-based care surge in popularity over the next few years. Here’s what we can expect to see in the near future.

Smart Hospitals Will Allow for Improved Patient Care 

Nobody likes to spend time in the hospital if they can help it. Aside from visitors and quick visits from the nursing staff, many patients are bored, uncomfortable, and lonely during their stay. They may have unanswered questions or might not know what’s going on with their health.

Smart hospitals can’t make the experience of going to the hospital completely pain-free or positive, but the advanced technology that powers them empowers medical professionals to provide patient care. By automating many routine tasks and tracking people and resources with sensors, smart hospitals allow doctors and nurses more time to spend with patients.

Additionally, smart hospitals of the future won’t offer as many services as they do today. They will be streamlined and optimized to help patients with inpatient needs like major surgery or trauma. Preventative, routine, and outpatient care will take place in other, less stressful facilities.

Triage Nursing Will Continue to Spread 

Sitting in the waiting room of the emergency department is standard in the fee-for-service model. The most urgent cases are taken first, but everyone else has to wait. There isn’t really a good way around this, but at services become more efficient, the role of triage nurses will grow. Technology will also help by sending patients to emergency rooms that may have shorter wait times.

Triage nurses monitor patients waiting to be seen, take their medical histories and vital signs, and ensure that people get in to see a doctor as soon as possible. They provide patient care and make quick decisions about who needs to be seen first. Many patients waiting in emergency departments are scared, stressed, and frustrated, and a skilled triage nurse can help make their experience better.

Payment Reform 

One of the biggest hurdles in the transition to value-based care has been the payment structure. How to properly compensate doctors for providing patient-focused, personalized, and value-based services? It’s a dilemma that is slowing down the adoption of this model and favors a team-based approach over small, independent providers.

Currently, different types of payment reform are being explored. In the end, alternative payment models, such as subscription-based concierge healthcare, may end up being part of the answer to funding a value-based model.

Increased Optimization Means Increased Value 

We’re learning more about different factors that affect our health all the time. More data collection and analysis using big data tools have allowed researchers and doctors to gain more insight into why and how some people are affected by certain health problems. This is allowing for greater optimization and patient wellness programs, increasing the value that healthcare organizations offer patients while lowering overall costs.

Telehealth Will Play a Major Role

In the shift toward value-based care, we can’t overlook the role that telehealth will play. Telehealth, which involves virtual visits and remote care, is convenient for doctors and patients alike. Of course, not all services can be provided remotely, but with a greater focus on preventative care, patients might be able to take care of many healthcare questions and concerns without coming into the office for an exam.

Telehealth will allow doctors to spend more time with patients while reducing long wait and travel times. With better access to their healthcare providers, patients might not put off mentioning any health concerns until their next appointment and have the opportunity to get early treatment.

We still have a long way to go in switching over to value-based care. But with today’s technology and understanding of human health, we’re on our way toward creating better value in a system that has historically capitalized on illness, rather than wellness.

 

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