October 11, 2016 | Written by: August Calhoun
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As any provider will tell you, a myriad of forces are dramatically shifting the healthcare landscape today. An aging and increasingly chronically ill population, the rapid growth of health data, and the continued digitization and consumerization of the industry are all part of healthcare’s new reality.
Additionally — and perhaps most importantly — alternative, value-based payment models are fundamentally changing how care is delivered, measured and reimbursed. Providers desperately need help navigating these new waters, and Siemens and IBM have stepped up to answer their call.
Embarking on a five-year, strategic global partnership, Siemens Healthineers and IBM Watson Health are together focused on improving population health management (PHM) in today’s value-driven healthcare environment. Our mission is to continue to be an ally for healthcare professionals as they find their footing in a time of unprecedented change and ensure they have the PHM tools to survive in a quality and outcomes-driven world.
As the largest supplier of medical technology infrastructure in the world, Siemens Healthineers plays a large role in healthcare. Medical imaging and laboratory diagnostics influence 70 percent of all clinical care decisions made across the globe. From medical devices to lab diagnostic tools, caregivers depend on our technology at all stages of care delivery. This is an incredibly important role we play in the healthcare ecosystem — for providers and payers, as well as patients and their families.
But we’re also in the information business – and it’s at a time when the need couldn’t be greater. The shift to a value-based healthcare economy is not just coming; it’s here. This requires that hospitals and health systems harness the combined power of the highest clinical expertise and most intelligent technologies that exist today, making the alliance a more-than-timely endeavor.
As our partner, IBM has sophisticated tools that allow us to pull previously disparate data sources together so that we can identify at-risk patients, stratify populations, derive insights that are useful for value-based care, and drive early interventions before an acute problem exists.
Caregivers rarely have the full clinical and operational context to make the decision. The alliance provides solutions for healthcare providers to supply that context, and the ability to meet value-driven quality measures leading to better outcomes and appropriate payments.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it hit its goal of having 30 percent of fee-for-service Medicare payments tied to value-based programs by March of this year; however, that target increases to 50 percent in 2018. No longer can a provider simply bill for a procedure — they are financially responsible for delivering quality outcomes as well. This value-driven approach to care might require more up-front costs, but it will avoid additional care interventions and even greater costs down the line. Additionally, it requires a variety of data from a variety of places, often trapped in technologies that can’t talk to each other.
If they haven’t yet, providers need to move full-speed ahead on the adoption of PHM solutions to effectively manage chronic conditions — bringing together previously siloed data for optimal care management and outcomes benchmarking, all while empowering patients through better engagement and a focus on care plan adherence.
For example, every skipped appointment is a deviation from a care plan and a missed opportunity for a care intervention – one that can have a direct impact on patient outcomes and now, providers’ livelihood. Helping chronically ill populations adhere to their optimal care paths is a requirement for quality outcomes. Value-based care and PHM must go hand in hand.
Ensuring that patients receive the right care at the right time and at the right cost is just one way the alliance is able to drive real value and make an immediate impact. Additionally, there is unmatched power in the sheer volume of information created every day. These robust data sets are growing larger by the minute and represent huge opportunities to improve care and advance PHM on a global scale.
For example, information generated by Siemens Healthineers solutions affect over 200,000 patients per hour – or over 5 million per day – each representing vast opportunities for interventions and the creation of better care paths. This information becomes even more valuable when put into a greater clinical context through the application of intelligent technologies. We know how important imaging and diagnostics information are for early interventions and optimal care path decisions – but when the power of Watson is unleashed on that information, it not only becomes actionable, but capable of transforming PHM as a whole.
The next few years are a truly pivotal time for practitioners who are increasingly making challenging decisions on their (voluntary and involuntary) participation in value-based payment programs. Hospital administrators need to deliver high-quality outcomes, and they need high-quality information to be able to do so in this value-based economy. Unless we work together, we won’t have the blended clinical and technical insights needed to deliver quality care, improve PHM, and achieve real, lasting value.
At both Siemens Healthineers and IBM, we recognize and respect our roles as clinical partners to our customers. Whether they use our technology or are involved in one of the hundreds of research collaborations in which we take part, they count on us for quality care delivery. As we transition to value-based care, they are asking for help. The alliance is both our answer and our call to action. For more information on the alliance and how your organization can benefit, please see here.