How to Create Value While Improving Cost-Effectiveness in 2017

tedchan-200By Ted Chan, Founder & CEO, CareDash
Twitter: @caredash

As the healthcare industry becomes increasingly dependent on technology, does your practice have the necessary tools to keep up?

In 2017, the U.S. healthcare system will largely incentivize the utilization of value-based medical practices. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is encouraging a new framework that emphasizes quality of care through programs like MACRA, MIPS, and APMs.

The most effective way to create sustainable value within your practice will be through the implementation of healthcare technology. While the investment in medical technology will be an initial expense to your practice, the eventual ROIs and benefits from utilizing these systems ensure their place as long-term assets within the healthcare industry.

Here are three critical tools that your practice needs to meet the growing technological demands of the U.S. healthcare system:

Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
The MACRA Quality Payments program will significantly impact how practices think about electronic health records (EHRs), driving a major reassessment of approaches to EHRs. Reward and punishment payment schemes, including MIPS and the Advanced APM targets, will accelerate the adoption of value-based healthcare metrics and data collection centered around EHRs.

In 2017, healthcare providers will be particularly focused on gaining ROIs from implementing the use of electronic health care records (EHRs). Although EHRs pose an upfront expense to providers, they lead to eventual long-term gains in revenue by increasing the accessibility of patient information. EHRs can streamline a provider’s workflow by easily generating complete records of patient encounters as well as other care-related activities.

As the CMS attempts to move away from fee-for-service provider payment systems, we can expect to see EHR users gain ROIs through incorporating IT services into EHRs to better determine patient diagnoses and coverage.

Online Presence
With more than 80 percent of patients preferring virtual options over traditional doctor visits, it’s evident that patients are seeking better mobile access to their healthcare. High interest in virtual services is beginning to dictate how patients choose their doctors. A recent Harris Poll found that 59 percent of all insured patients and 70 percent of millennials report that they would prefer a PCP who has a mobile app over one who does not.

With patient-doctor relationships going virtual, it is essential for providers to establish an accessible online presence. Healthcare consumerism has made patients key decision-makers in the healthcare industry as they are easily informed about their care options through information available on the internet. Millions of patients use doctor review websites to read patient testimonials when searching for doctors. It is important for providers to be aware of their online presence as patients deem transparency to be an essential factor of their healthcare decisions.

Patient portals are another impactful mode of virtually interacting with patients. Mobile-enabled portals allow providers, staff and patients to communicate on the go. Telemedicine often prevents unnecessary hospital visits, saving both patients and providers from spending valuable time on unproductive visits. Using mobile-enabled portals also save executives money by consolidating administrative tasks such as appointment scheduling and patient registration.

Cloud Technology
Despite initial costs, more than 83% of healthcare organizations now rely on cloud-based data services. Using cloud services will allow your practice to easily store and access IT infrastructure like EHRs and imaging systems.

Utilizing cloud services to access and analyze current data will provide better insight into the quality of care provided by your organization. This data can be analyzed to better understand where and how cost-effective practices can be implemented within practices.

The future of healthcare is dependent on technology. Stay ahead of current trends and programs in 2017 by incorporating these technological tools into your practice.