Once again our blog topic for this week was all-but-overshadowed by news out of Washington. The GOP released their secretly-developed alternative to the ACA, and experts are forecasting its potential ramifications. While the Senate continues to wrangle over voting on this landscape-altering bill, we’d like to take shift focus for now to the tricky business of balancing fiscally healthy practices with delivering the best possible value-based care.
In particular, two articles posted over the past week caught our attention:
from Patient Engagement HIT nearly knocked us off our chairs. Heritage Provider Network President Mark Wagar is quoted as saying that the healthcare industry can trust the patient to thoughtfully and effectively inform some value-based care measures. “Gone are the days of a paternalistic patient-provider relationship. Opening up this relationship to a partnership will help drive quality in healthcare,” he said.
According to the article, research reveals that mandated clinical quality measures rarely portray an accurate picture of the patient experience.
Patients Always Have Something to Say – It’s Worth Listening To
“We still come from a long history of believing that healthcare is too complicated for patients to fully understand,” said Wagar. “While that may be true of many of the sophisticated scientific things, patients aren’t stupid. They can tell if they are being well served, if someone is attempting to be responsive to their questions in a reasonable and educated manner.”
“It’s healthy for patients to understand that doctors, nurses, and social workers are held to a set of expectations that overall drives a higher likelihood of a better outcome and good service aspects and a higher likelihood of better costs over time,” he said. “We should be open and transparent about the fact that we will get paid more or less for both clinical effectiveness and patient experience.”
That’s refreshing. We’ve certainly come a long way from the “dark ages” – when patients weren’t allowed to even view their own medical records.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital Gets It – Patient Opinion Matters
A second article to catch our eye offered a similar perspective on the too-often-overlooked value of listening for patient input throughout the care process.
Over the last three years, Phoenix Children’s has bought more than 100 independent practices into their organization and the priority has been to make sure that the culture of quality care remains consistent. According to Chad Johnson, Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the Phoenix Children’s Care Network, they want to ensure that physician practices entering their network “…have the chance to get involved and stay engaged with the process of defining the quality measurement roadmap.”
“Not everyone understands all the details of interoperability or data standards, but they are very passionate about outcomes and developing those care pathways to help their patients,”Johnson said. “When you put those two halves of the equation together, you can come up with some really good ideas,” about quality measurements and improvements for patients.
Two Hospitals – One Philosophy
That leads us to the connection between value-based care and listening to patients that Wagner talks about. Phoenix Children’s is employing the same philosophy.
“People won’t accept a hospital using strong-arm tactics on them,” said Johnson. “That isn’t what value-based care should be. The idea is to create better medicine and better outcomes across the whole community, and the only way to do that is to include the whole community by developing new strategies together.”
“There are a lot of great ideas out there that that might never come from a hospital environment. You need to go after these different perspectives and really listen to them,” Johnson explained. “You need to use these perspectives to work towards the betterment of the whole healthcare delivery system. That is how your network and your patients will truly thrive.”
We think this news is much more refreshing – and ultimately, proactive – than the swirling uncertainty out of Congress.