Are we there yet? The journey from volume to value
Health care is not what it used to be or where it used to be anymore. Traditionally, the focus of healthcare has been on healing the sick, implementing new treatments and celebrating the victories of science and technology over the burden of disease and sickness. Since the passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the focus in the healthcare landscape has begun shifting to highlight outcomes of care. Metrics like 30-day all cause readmissions, complications, hospital acquired infections, patient experience and many more, have been defined, simplified, and converted into measurable data points as much as possible. For leadership, the distance from the bedside to the boardroom has shortened but become more complicated. Through the "carrot vs stick measures" that are today's reportable quality metrics, penalties and incentives attached to the various actions and non-actions (reducing avoidable interventions), healthcare leaders have embarked on a path to lead their organizations towards successful models of care delivery. Many ask - are we there yet? And what does "there" look like? Is it defined by a relentless and ongoing focus on quality and outcomes of care with every patient interaction - every consumer, every time? Or a continuous effort to fill the gap across continuums of care, bringing healthcare to the community, where most of the population resides (aka population health management)? Better yet, will or should healthcare outcomes also be defined by the consumer's ability to make informed healthcare decisions and drive person-centered care as true and real option?
Healthcare leaders today face unprecedented challenges as value-based care continues to be defined and metrics for measurement and reimbursement continue to evolve at the same time as care is being delivered. In other words, leaders today are expected to be building the plane as they fly it. The journey is long but consider yourself "there" at every instance that quality is maintained, processes are scaled and replicated, patients say "thanks", our heroes in the workplace celebrate small wins, and most of all - unnecessary interventions are avoided through effective communication and partnerships.