Real-Time Communication and Collaboration are at the Heart of the Move from Volume to Value

US healthcare is rapidly moving from a volume-based to a value-based model of care that measures health outcomes against the cost of delivering the outcomes. Hospital executives are looking for ways to balance long-standing priorities – including compensation and risk management – as they transition to these new models. However, even in the midst of these changes, certain fundamentals of good healthcare will remain the same. Specifically, real-time clinical communication and collaboration will remain foundational to organizational success under value-based care. In fact, it can dramatically impact three common and key healthcare scenarios:

Valuebased healthcare is derived from measuring health outcomes against the cost of delivering the outcomes
  • Quality and cost of patient care
  • Patient flow and capacity management
  • At-home programs

Enhancing patient care while reducing costs

Hospital executives have always focused on the quality of patient care and this focus will, of course, continue as we make the shift to a value-based health care model. For example, when a patient suffers a stroke, Door-to-Needle time is the key metric. The faster the care team – including the EMT, ED providers, Neurologist, and Radiologist – are able to efficiently assess, diagnose, and stabilize the patient, the better the patient outcome. They can achieve this speed using real-time communication and collaboration technologies.

This improved clinical response can also significantly impact the cost of care for a patient. The Mayo Clinic recently conducted a study program that focused on improving care coordination for distributed stroke teams. Such care dramatically improved response and communication times, helping to reduce the number of inpatient days by as much as 13 days for some patients. Under the current fee-for-service model, such a reduction would translate into a savings for hospitals. This type of savings is even more important under a value-based system, where the hospital is responsible for both the cost of inpatient stays and any post-acute care and readmissions.

Improving patient flow and capacity management

Patient flow and capacity management are another key area of focus for hospital executives. Communication and collaboration are the key to improving these situations as well. Enabling remote providers to quickly communicate and assess patients (e.g., conducting a psych evaluation) rather than waiting for that provider to come onsite for a face-to-face can improve admit decision times and ED throughput.

In a fee-for-service world, this increased throughput can help avoid penalties and increase ED capacity and revenue potential. One example is a large health system that reduced ED throughput by 48 minutes (27%) after improving these processes. In a value-based model, these same processes can lower the cost of assessing a patient. That, in turn, reduces the hospital’s overall risk for that patient while improving patient satisfaction (an ever-increasing factor of value-based programs).

Enabling at-home programs

Another emerging trend holding a lot of potential is the move to at-home programs. For example, some hospitals are experimenting with discharging certain patients home while they continue to receive acute care. Similar programs exist for discharging patients from sub-acute care (e.g. SNF’s). Real-time communication technologies now enable care teams to monitor and engage those patients directly in their home. These programs show a lot of promise in reducing costs and improving patient outcomes with faster recovery time.

Summary: Make the Move from Volume to Value

Initiatives such as these will be key to value-based care programs and reducing hospital risk. As value-based models gradually replace the fee-for-service, volume model, hospitals that do not adapt will be left behind. So, what can your organization do today to start making this move?

  1. Evaluate technologies and processes that can work in today’s fee-for-service environment and set your health system up for tomorrow’s value-based models. As illustrated above, real-time communications and collaboration can play a critical role.
  2. Prioritize and experiment with clinical/operational workflows to drive improvement.
    Streamlined workflows – supported by the right technologies and policies – can drive the success of value-based models and improve patient care.
  1. Evaluate key metrics to show progress (e.g., door-to-admit, door-to-doctor, door-to-needle, average length of stay, readmits). At its core, value-based models are about ensuring that patients receive the right care at the right time in the right place. Tracking and continually improving relevant metrics paves the way for a sustainable value-based approach.

To learn how Everbridge is helping hospitals increase ED throughput, download our new CMO’s Guide to Clinical Collaboration.