Improving value-based primary care with technology

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It is inevitable that the healthcare system is changing. A major shift is from the current fee-for-service (FFS) model to a value-based model. This aims to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs. This is a major change in the system, and is challenging the way many primary care providers are thinking about healthcare. How can we rethink healthcare, how do we position ourselves, and how should we operate in this new environment? 

Many leaders in primary healthcare (thankfully) are realizing that this shift is taking place. The advent of the retail clinic is an example of a major change in the primary healthcare spectrum. A recent Accenture study found that the amount of retail clinics in the USA would have risen by 47% from 2014 till 2017, exceeding 2800 clinics. This shows a shift in many patients’ mindset about retail clinics. They seem to prefer the convenience, and with many uninsured Americans, this could be a solution to the heavily burdened primary care system.

Data is very important in the new healthcare business model. The amount of patients, re-admittance rates, tracking of conditions, treatments and diagnostics are all-important in optimizing the healthcare system and in tracking costs and patient outcomes. A paper-based system is not going to make the cut. Technology, especially cloud-based services, is going to become even more prevalent in the new way of delivering primary healthcare. Trying to deliver better care at a lower cost will require a few new business strategies. Providers will have to improve operating costs, increase patient volumes and effectively track and monitor patients to ensure that their health is improving. These could all be addressed with the use of new health technologies.

To improve operating costs, low-cost screening tests and preventative healthcare technologies will reduce referral rates and limit patient discomfort. This means a better service is delivered to the patient. To increase patient volumes these clinics must be able to differentiate themselves with their services, level of quality, or by ensuring they have the most satisfied patients. Cloud-managed software services could improve the way patients are tracked, and mobile applications could increase monitoring of conditions, as well as create a valuable patient feedback loop. 

There is definitely a shift in the way that healthcare is being provided. The transition to a value-based care model will place strain on healthcare providers. I believe various technologies will be able to mitigate these changes, and ensure satisfied and healthy patients.


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