Healthcare News & Insights

Value-based purchasing: How your hospital can prepare now

A new survey of hospital execs conducted by Forbes Insights indicates that, while a vast majority believe value-based purchasing (VBP) is the wave of the future for the healthcare industry, changes are needed to implement this system.

More and more hospitals are moving toward a VBP model, with cost and quality being weighted equally. With the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) working to phase out fee-for-service reimbursement, private carriers are bound to follow suit.

In fact, according to the study, nearly 40 percent of execs think that, in five years, at least a quarter of their hospital’s revenue will come from VBP.

So what needs to happen on the hospital side to make VBP a reality?

Getting doctors on board may be a huge hurdle. Close to half of those surveyed said fully engaging doctors was seen as the biggest battle to creating a VBP system.

The report makes several suggestions to get doctors on the same page in anticipation of VBP. One big one: Hospitals should emphasize the fact that VBP focuses on improving patient care, which should be of utmost importance to any doctor.

Seamless communication will also be required to implement VBP. Hospitals will need to communicate quickly with care partners and other care delivery systems. To that end, 49% of participants in the study have devoted their hospital IT spending to system integration across all applications, and 47% are working on their health information exchange systems.

Shifting the focus of patient care is also important to transitioning to VBP. Sixty percent of execs surveyed chose “effective use of intervention strategies for chronic disease patients” as one of the most important strategies to get hospitals ready for the switch.  Improving patient education and engagement also ranked highly, with 55% of execs selecting that option.

According to the report, execs can focus on three strategies to prep their hospitals for VBP:

  1. Invest in knowledge acquisition. Hospitals need to gather as much info as they can about their patients, and use that data to improve patient care. They must also be able to use this info to track their performance to see how it measures up with other hospitals. And besides getting info on patients, they must also get info about their payors and how they plan to approach VBP.
  2. Distribute responsibility. Involve everyone in the hospital in the changes, from the top level down. Staff should be given the right tools and training to make patient care a reality, and patients should be as actively involved in their treatment as clinicians are.
  3. Lead culture change. Now’s the time to shake up the status quo so your hospital doesn’t lose out on revenue in the future. Make changes in your hospital environment so employees view meeting quality measures as achieving success.

Is your hospital preparing for VBP? Share what it’s doing in the comments below.

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