The trend from volume-based to value-based medical care is intended to change the focus from individual units of care to the overall health of a patient or a patient population. In very simple terms, value-based care is intended to bring cost and quality together.
For payers, it means moving from traditional fee-for-service reimbursement to an environment where claims data can be analyzed to help identify redundancies or gaps in care – an approach we have employed for years.
For primary care physicians (PCPs), value-based care should help them focus on improving the patient’s well-being, rather than concentrating on checklists or spreadsheets. Again, the goal is to link evaluation and compensation to clinical outcomes rather than volume.
For members, basing payment on value means changing measurement from a visit or diagnosis to how all aspects of care affect a patient or patient population. The bundled payment experiment instituted by CMS for Medicare-funded joint replacements is a familiar example.
While there will be many bumps along the road to value-based primary care, the benefits should include increased cost transparency and greater employee engagement. If everyone involved – patients, physicians and hospitals – has access to the right information at the right time, better decisions about cost, quality and risk should result.