Janice McCallum, Managing Director of Health Content Advisors, the healthcare division of the InfoCommerce Group, Inc. (ICG), is a leading blogger and contributor to healthcare IT conversations on social media. We spoke with Janice about her predictions for care collaboration, value-based purchasing, and meaningful use in the coming year.
What do you see as the biggest developments in HIT in the next year?
We’ll begin to see the emergence of models for leveraging the secondary data produced by electronic health records (EHRs). Healthcare analytics companies will find more opportunities to analyze aggregate data compiled from data recorded in EHRs. The most interesting development area is in mining longitudinal EHR data to create inputs for clinical decision support (CDS) systems. While this was not the primary purpose of health records, there is a great opportunity to feed outcome analysis into clinical decision support systems to aid decision-making and create CDS systems that have the ability to learn from experience and improve over time.
What factors will shape care collaboration in the coming year?
The big factors shaping care collaboration are the shared-savings reimbursement and accountable care organization (ACO) models. Small ambulatory practices will need to closely associate with larger provider networks—to support the transition to the ACO/shared-savings model, and also for IT and administrative purposes. Small practices will need to share resources in order to support IT and administrative changes and advancements.
What is value-based purchasing (VBP)? How does VBP fit into the care collaboration model? What does VBP mean for providers, and how does it change their workflow?
VBP is a step-wise program to achieve pay-for-performance versus pay-for-service. One of the first steps was to create a system for measuring quality, but consistent data was not available. We started with some very basic metrics like patient satisfaction surveys (the CAHPS program). With adoption of EHR systems, we are approaching a point where there is more meaningful and consistent data to use to evaluate outcomes and quality.
Practically, employers and other purchasers gather and analyze information on the costs and quality of various competing providers and health plans in a value-based purchasing model. They contract selectively with plans or provider organizations based on performance or anticipated performance. The aggregated data output is a combination of quality and cost indicators. As a result, the highest-performing plans and providers are rewarded with more members or patients.
What is an example of a healthcare organization that has benefited from VBP? What best practices have surfaced so far?
The top integrated delivery networks--such as Geisinger, Intermountain Healthcare, and Kaiser Permanente--are obvious examples. They’ve demonstrated that a focus on patient-centric care yields cost and outcome benefits.
Recently on your blog, you discuss how meaningful use lays the groundwork for bringing “content and technology together.” What industry milestones in the past year have marked an integration improvement? Ultimately, what does better integration mean for the industry?
Stage I meaningful use is the key milestone, and stages II and beyond will solidify the benefits of integrating content with technology. In essence, meaningful use is a test of the utility of EHR systems. If the software does not offer the uses that providers need to meet their clinical and business goals, then the software isn’t very useful, is it? At a recent conference, Pat Kenealy, former CEO of International Data Group (IDG), said, “Software and content are pretty much the same thing.” I agree. Once content is digitized, it can be organized, programmed, and analyzed.
Thank you, Janice, for your insights on the opportunities and challenges facing healthcare stakeholders. What changes are you anticipating in clinical workflow as the industry transitions to a collaborative care model? Share your thoughts on our blog or by connecting with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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