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Study on Healthcare’s Journey to Value-based Care Finds Costly Gaps Remain

June 13, 2017

According to the second annual study from Inovalon and Quest Diagnostics to gauge physician and health plan executive perspectives on the industry’s transition to value-based care, physicians still lack the tools needed to succeed in a value-based care system, with many indicating electronic health records (EHRs) have yet to realize their potential to improve patient outcomes. Last year’s survey revealed similar desire among physicians for tools to accelerate value-based care.

Value-based care is here to stay

Legislative efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act have cast into question the future of some parts of the law. However, according to the survey of 452 primary care physicians and health plan executives, a vast majority (82 percent) feel that value-based care is here to stay regardless of any potential reform. Nevertheless, fee for service still dominates; only 29 percent of respondents said the current U.S. healthcare system has fully embraced value-based care, an increase of just 4 percentage points over last year’s survey.

Health plan/physician misalignment hampers adoption of value-based care

Poor alignment between health plans and physicians is often cited as a reason for slow adoption of value-based care. According to the survey, 70 percent of health plan executives said progress in alignment has been made in the past year, but fewer than half (47 percent) of physicians agree. Regardless, 83 percent of all survey respondents say alignment between the two is more important today than ever before.

Need for tools remains, but extended EHR capabilities hold potential

The study also revealed a striking gap between health plan executive and physician perceptions of the availability of tools and platforms to support value-based care. While 53 percent of health plan executives say physicians have the tools they need to succeed, only 43 percent of physicians agree. The good news is that the 43 percent of physicians who believe they have the right tools in place to succeed is a 14 percentage-point increase over last year. Similarly, 53 percent of health plan executives believe physicians have the tools to succeed, a 9 percentage-point increase over 2016.

Perhaps driving the perception gap is differing viewpoints on EHRs; 75 percent of health plan executives say EHRs have everything physicians need, while only 54 percent of physicians agree. Moreover, 70 percent of physicians say EHRs are not closing gaps and that the link between EHRs and improved patient outcomes remains unclear.

Yet 71 percent of physicians say that if EHRs could reveal insights unique to their patients, they would be willing to spend more time using the systems, and 85 percent agree that information on patient-specific quality and performance measures is key to achieving value-based care.

Health plan and physician co-investment in HIT could drive value-based care

Co-investment in health information technology (HIT) from both health plans and physicians could offer a solution for speeding adoption of value-based care. The survey results support this assertion, with 85 percent of health plan executives saying that co-investment in HIT by payers and physicians could accelerate adoption of value-based care.

Despite continued challenges, the study reveals progress toward value-based care and suggests that continued collaboration and investment in tools and technology could make significant inroads in advancement of value-based care.

To access the full study, click here.

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