How to Evaluate Technology Solutions that Enable Value-Based Care

The shift from fee-for-service to value-based care can feel overwhelming. Resources are scarce, success seems uncertain, and navigation of regulations, policies, and reimbursement models is complex. Various technological innovations have attempted to make the implementation of value-based care more efficient and effective. However, it can be difficult to determine the viability of these technological solutions. Here, we will explore various criteria by which new technologies that enable value-based care can be evaluated.

How are Resources Managed?

One important criteria for evaluation is whether each technological solution addresses issues related to limited resources and administrative burdens. Providing quality care requires intelligent management of resources, especially during the pandemic, and technological advancements that aid in this cause provide tremendous value. One way to accomplish this would be to enhance the existing capabilities within value-based care to identify inefficient and unnecessary treatments and procedures, thereby conserving limited resources for the most effective types of care. This in turn would reduce costs and improve patient outcomes. Any innovation being considered should ease the administrative burden carried by healthcare systems as well. Technologies that improve the efficiency of communication within and between healthcare providers would fall under this category.

Can it be Customized to Specific Needs?

New technologies should also allow providers to design a customized approach tailored to the needs of the patient. The U.S healthcare system, while robust in some areas, is not directly designed with the patient in mind. The percentage of GDP spent on healthcare is currently over 19%, and tens of millions of Americans remain uninsured. The primary challenges for patients participating in the healthcare system are access and costs. Innovations in technology that address these issues will directly bolster the viability of value-based care. Value-based care agreements would also benefit from advancements in personalized medicine. Technology that creates opportunities for more individualized treatment could greatly enable value-based care plans by increasing patient satisfaction and compliance as well as reducing redundancies and unnecessary treatments.

Can Relevant Data be Collected and Analyzed?

Technological innovations should empower healthcare payers and providers to prioritize evidence-based therapies. These innovations should be evaluated on their ability to enable healthcare experts to collect and analyze the latest data on best practices in the field. This requires two parts: collecting a substantial and accurate dataset and analyzing it to extract the most useful actionable information. With these two criteria met, healthcare providers will be able to either affirm or adjust their treatment plans to best optimize outcomes for their patients.

Is there Opportunity for Real-Time Learning?

Finally, technology solutions in the value-based care arena should allow us to learn from those with experience. Ideally, these solutions should create opportunities for real-time learning. It should reduce barriers to communication between healthcare providers and those who understand patients as customers and consumers. Connecting healthcare payers and providers with app developers, supply chain specialists, and information technology experts would allow knowledge and expertise from different fields to coalesce within the healthcare industry, providing significant return on investment. Value-based care would also be served by technologies that equip healthcare providers with the ability to understand and implement social and behavioral science to increase patient compliance and satisfaction.

In summary, in order for new technologies to have staying power in the value-based care space, they should contribute to increasing the quality of care and/or reducing the costs associated with healthcare. Innovations that succeed in these endeavors will improve outcomes for patients and create value for key healthcare stakeholders, encouraging future innovation. The American healthcare system is constantly and rapidly adapting to the ever-increasing rate of technological innovation. It is vital that we are capable of evaluating these advancements to better understand their benefits and the challenges they can help overcome.

References 

CDC reports on uninsured in first six months of 2021

What Does the CPS Tell Us About Health Insurance Coverage in 2020?

Redesigning Health Care: Keeping the Patient Connected and at the Center of a System That Learns in Real Time

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