As the fee-for-service payment system for health care services in the United States continues to raise costs and decrease efficiency, analysts are looking towards the cost of patients of the future – namely, the aging Baby Boomer generation, nearly 30% of which is or will be affected by osteoarthritis, the most prevalent musculoskeletal disease.
By 2030, when the last of the Baby Boomers turns 65 years old, 20% of Americans will be eligible for Medicare. For taxpayers, this has far-reaching implications if the fee-for-service payment system is perpetuated. As digital health and bundled payments become the new norm, dollars spent on health care will decrease, countering what would otherwise be a massive increase in spending within the next fifteen years. Luckily, Boomers are more tech savvy than they are given credit for – In fact, older patients (those over 50) want digital healthcare services nearly as much as their younger counterparts. The question is, how can we take advantage of this generation’s ability to use technology to decrease health care spending?
A recent report by the Commonwealth Fund has ranked the United States Healthcare system last among 11 Western countries. Among the 11 nations in the report- Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.- the U.S. has continued to score the lowest ranking in the four prior studies conducted since 2004.
Mobile health is bringing an entirely new approach to health care, referred to as “the biggest technology breakthrough of our time” by previous U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Mobile health, commonly referred to as mHealth, refers to the use of mobile devices in the collection of health data, the delivery of medical information, and the remote delivery of care. The implementation and widespread usage does not replace the roles of doctors and hospitals, but rather enables patients and providers to navigate remotely and efficiently.
1. The Integration of Mobile Devices in Our Daily Lives
Today we discuss the final tenet of the “value agenda” from the Harvard Business Review’s, The Strategy That Will Fix Health Care, Build an Enabling IT Platform.
The five other components of the value agenda previously discussed: (1) organizing into IPUs, (2) measuring outcomes and costs for each patient, (3) moving to bundled payments for care cycles, (4) integrating care delivery across separate facilities and (5) expanding geographic reach are made possible by an integrated information technology platform.
In an IPU, IT platforms must span across the various facilities, departments, and services that a patient might encounter throughout their entire episode of care for a given condition. For organizations who have not yet organized into IPUs – or who are still in the process – IT systems must transition from the siloed platforms of today.
The authors highlight six essential elements necessary to create a valuable IT platform:
In our most recent posts, we have discussed the first four components of the “value agenda” from the Harvard Business Review’s, The Strategy That Will Fix Health Care: (1) organizing into IPUs, (2) measuring outcomes and costs for each patient, (3) moving to bundled payments for care cycles, and (4) integrating care delivery across separate facilities. Today we continue our discussion with our key takeaways from the fifth component in the agenda: expanding geographic reach.Once an organization has created an IPU to specialize in a medical condition throughout the entire episode of a patient’s care, expansion of these organizations outside of their home market becomes a necessary next step. Two forms of expansion discussed include the hub-and-spoke model and the clinical affiliation model.
In our last few posts, we have highlighted some of the key takeaways from the Harvard Business Review’s, The Strategy That Will Fix Health Care. The implementation of the first three components of the author’s “value agenda”: (1) organizing into IPUs, (2) measuring outcomes and costs for each patient, and (3) moving to bundled payments for care cycles, enables the fourth component that we will discuss today: integrating care delivery across separate facilities.
Today over 60% of all hospitals are part of a multisite health care delivery organization. However, as these systems exist today, many organizations operate as stand-alone units resulting in inefficiencies generated from duplication in services and fragmentation in overall care delivery.
With much room for improvement available, the authors suggest four key components to help enable true integration: