High-Value Health Care

Vital Signs: December 2013/ January 2014

Getting the most value-per-dollar-spent has become a key focus for the U.S. health care system. Policy­makers will continue to tie cost containment efforts to improved quality of care for the foreseeable future. The latest innovations in health care delivery are pointed toward this unified goal: providing high-value, patient-centered health care.

“High-value health care” and “value-based care” are the latest buzzwords in health policy, reflecting the myriad of delivery system changes taking place and health care delivery innovations proliferating around the country. Accountable care organizations (ACOs) exist in all 50 states, global budgets and financial risk arrangements make up an increasing portion of payer contracts, and patient-centered medical homes have become a focus for primary care physicians. In 2014, these innovations will continue to evolve.

With national and state-based health reform rapidly changing the dynamics of the health care system, physicians have started to experience firsthand the shift away from a reimbursement system based on volume (e.g., global budgets, where physicians are being asked to efficiently manage the care of their patient population within a spending target, while meeting quality benchmarks). As health reform progresses, physicians will increasingly need to be active participants in order to ensure that new models of care are delivering true value-based care for patients.

In 2014, the focus on value-based care will result in physician practices continuing to adopt strategies to become more patient-centered, take on risk-based contracts (or more risk-based contracts), consider clinically integrating, and adopt new care delivery methods. Physicians should consider how the components of value-based care work in their practice and what initiatives they are already working on that might support and fit into the increasingly popular concept of value-based care. Delivering low-cost, high-quality care is a win-win for patients and physicians alike.

—Leif Brierley
MMS Health Policy Analyst

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