Maureen Bonatch

3 Ways Value-Based Care Is Evolving in 2019

You want your employees to be happy, healthy and productive. You just don’t want to pay more than you need to in order to make it to happen. Value-based care shares similar goals, providing quality, cost-effective, patient-centered care.

The change from fee-for-service to value-based care is gaining momentum. It may not happen overnight, but while things might not look so different tomorrow, these three value-based care trends are set to move the needle over the course of 2019.

1. Improving the Patient Experience

How knowledgeable are your employees about their health? The knee-jerk response might be “not enough,” but the truth is, with health care apps and websites, they have a vast amount of information at their fingertips. They might not necessarily be masters at navigating that information, but as your employees become more involved in their health care, they’ll get a better idea of what they want their health to look like, and they’ll search for the personalized care to make it happen.

This is one reason providers are focusing on building and sustaining patient loyalty, in part with the help of digital tools.
But access to personal health resources and the ability to schedule appointments online are just a few pieces of a much larger puzzle. From wearable devices that can monitor health data such as blood pressure, heart rate and diet to apps that support employees with various chronic conditions, the patient experience is evolving on a number of fronts — and it all adds up to a seamless experience from providers.

Value-based care supports these developments by encouraging providers to focus as much on prevention and wellness as they do on reacting to health concerns patients already face. Personalized tools and interactions make the patient-provider connection more effective; instead of taking a back seat when it comes to their own care, employees can start to feel like their provider is a partner who’s there to help them reach their health goals.

2. Incorporating Telemedicine

Statistically, there’s at least one person in the world who still believes that all of this modern technology and internet stuff is just a fad. But the rest of us know better. Technology has transformed health care, and it’s here to stay — and improve. Case in point: telemedicine.

Telemedicine offers patients an alternative to traveling to their doctors to seek care, allowing them to address health concerns and receive prescriptions via video chat. The benefits of this are clear — telehealth simplifies the patient experience by taking unpredictable factors out of the picture for people who have trouble accessing care. No specialists in your area? They don’t have to be. Does traffic seem to make you late to every appointment? You can meet with your doctor from your home.

Business owners can save money on health care costs when employees take advantage of telehealth — about $100 every time an employee schedules a virtual appointment. This may be one reason why up to 96 percent of employer health plans are expected to include some kind of telehealth option. Instead of taking a day off of work to drive out and see a doctor, employees can speak with their doctor and be back to work within the course of a break. More generally, giving employees better access to care tends to benefit both them and their employer. Employees without a reason to put off treatment are less likely to sit idly by while health concerns like chronic conditions develop and get worse over time.

3. Increasing Care Coordination

Employee care works best when it’s built on a foundation of collaboration. In 2019, the emphasis on collaboration — between employees, insurers and providers — is set to grow as more funds are directed toward value-based models.

Providers can use this opportunity to increase care coordination, whether it’s by sharing data aggregated from electronic health records or by taking advantage of predictive analytics. Either way, tearing down the barriers between different aspects of a patient’s care has the potential to support health care trends and offer better insight into employees’ needs. Patients who are actively involved in their health care decisions are more likely to be accountable for their care and understand their conditions, something that spells better results and lower costs for employers and employees alike.

Even as health services continue to evolve, there’s one thing that won’t go out of style: quality patient care. These value-based care trends are driving changes in health care, and every part of the industry is teaming up to reduce costs and encourage the development of a healthier, more empowered workforce.