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What about the cost continuum?

May 1, 2018

Mark Weber, senior vice president of development, Infor Healthcare

We often talk about the care continuum and how to manage information across that entire patient and staff experience. At this year’s HIMSS, though, we discussed another continuum: the cost continuum. And it has a lot of challenges.

A group of providers, payers and pharmacy leaders took advantage of the HIMSS experience to join an informal discussion about operating in the era of value-based payments. More specifically, how healthcare can continue to create sustainable cost models.

As you would guess, the conversation took a lot of interesting turns, and we talked about everything from operating in a rural vs. urban environment to innovations in care delivery.

At one point, we shared how our industry has built-in barriers to tracking costs across the care continuum and how that makes it hard to quantify for value-based care models.

For example, one person in our group runs an independent radiology group. We started talking about the built-in barriers to tracking what they do in terms of “value.” He said they get the information on the image, but never receive feedback on the impact of the reading, nor the patient’s condition. How do you quantify their value, then?

Another discussion centered around how many physicians do not know what happens to patients after transfer or admission. Other examples of information gaps or vacuums that prevent us from truly identifying true costs, or realizing savings, are complete disconnects between care venues. Someone from the payer side said they struggle since patients are geographically mobile, which creates holes in claims data. Another person mentioned the challenges of job and insurance changes.

Talking about these common concerns, and brainstorming how to fix them, was especially helpful as we get ready to launch Infor TrueCost in June of this year. Infor TrueCost will help allocate expenses, such as lab tests, within each patient servicing department. It will build and provide models that break those costs down by resource type. It’s a breakthrough in cost analysis, targeting and predictability. And as I listened to my healthcare colleagues talk about their challenges, I began to realize even more about its potential and possibilities.

Issues around costs and care are always top of mind for all of us. With the advent of TrueCost and other technologies, we will continue to look at how we can streamline the cost continuum that leads to financial strength. Collaboration like we experienced at HIMSS is an important first step.

 

 

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