The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), one of the nation’s largest cost-based healthcare systems, is well experienced in value-based healthcare delivery and management. Value-based healthcare became a more substantial focus for healthcare providers following the introduction of the first pay-for-performance incentives by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2008.
That year, HHS – and more specifically CMS – changed payment practices focused on incentivizing hospitals to improve cost performance by lowering the incidence of hospital-acquired conditions. Given the effectiveness of the initiative, CMS introduced a more formidable pay-for-performance system aimed at improving both quality performance and patient satisfaction as part of the Affordable Care Act.
The rationale behind the model was that the costs of healthcare were rising rapidly at the same time patient outcomes and the perception of value were declining. By introducing value-based healthcare and pay-for-performance systems, data showed that patient outcomes improved, the average length of stay decreased, readmission rates declined, and the costs of providing care were lowered.
Today, many health systems are leveraging technology, process improvement and population health strategies to increase efficiency and advance performance in this value-based healthcare environment. One of the most promising strategies has been the transformation to a more interactive patient care delivery model. Interactive Patient Care (IPC) is an innovative approach to care delivery based on the premise that the more engaged the patient is in their care, the better the patient experience and the better the patient outcomes.
The Veterans Health Administration views IPC as one of its core patient-centered care strategies. An increasing number of VA Medical Centers are turning to IPC as a core strategy for performance improvement, partnering with GetWellNetwork to integrate IPC into daily clinical practice.
“Today, 34 VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) and Clinics use our interactive patient care platform to enhance patient-to-caregiver communication and better prepare Veterans to care for themselves following discharge,” said David Wright, MPH, senior vice president of Government Services at GetWellNetwork.
“These VA Medical Centers are using this technology solution to proactively engage Veterans and their families in their care, with the goal of activating and empowering them to take greater responsibility in managing their own health status.”
The IPC platform acts as an important bidirectional communication tool. It empowers Veterans with information they need to better care for themselves when they leave the hospital, while also providing clinicians Veteran-generated data – such as health goals, preferences, and the completion of prescribed care. Most importantly, IPC provides valuable decision support data that can be used to customize and better personalize care plans for each Veteran. In an in-patient encounter at a VA medical facility, the real-time feedback provided through the interactive patient care platform facilitates rapid response, resulting in a more satisfying experience for the Veteran as well.
Central to the GetWellNetwork platform is a workflow technology known as Patient Pathways. These workflows help involve and empower Veterans and their families in important areas of care through prescribed automated interventions – including education about their condition and medications. “Pathways such as the Fall Prevention Pathway teach the Veteran about what could cause a fall, their risk of falling, and what they can do to prevent a fall from occurring,” Wright said. “The Pain Management Pathway, which prompts the Veteran to rate their pain at a set time following the administration of a medication, brings value to clinicians by providing meaningful data to guide care planning.”
Wright noted that “VA Medical Centers can choose from more than 50 different Patient Pathways to address specific performance focus areas. As VA Medical Centers prioritize key metrics to focus on – including SHEP (Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients) and SAIL (Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning Value Model) – we are able to work together to align the right interactive patient care pathways, tools and resources to support advanced performance in those areas.”
The need to provide exceptional care within budgets will only increase as the demands on Veterans’ healthcare increase with an aging population, soldiers transitioning from active duty to retirement, and the ongoing impact of war-time injuries. Innovative IT solutions like GetWellNetwork’s Integrated Patient Care platform enable Veterans to receive the care they need – in the exemplary manner they deserve.