As another year of living the “new normal” ends, as an industry, we take stock of the challenges endured— but also overcome.
The wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines, test kits and anti-viral treatments have lessened the strain on the healthcare system and our front-line healthcare workers.
Continued expansion of telemedicine and in-home care benefits have allowed patients to access care quicker and without having to leave home.
Investments in quality improvement programs and the inclusion of pharmacists, social workers, care coordinators and other health professionals as part of the care team have strengthened primary care practices and enabled them to focus, not only on the physical health of patients, but also on their emotional, mental and financial health– whole-person care.
And while we cannot predict if and when another public health crisis may occur, we do know that by remaining nimble and innovative, payers and providers alike can lean in on the capabilities of value-based care delivery organizations to strengthen primary care and provide comprehensive, quality care to members and patients.
We have seen these successes first-hand in value-based care practices across the country.
Looking ahead, we anticipate continued growth of value-based care membership, and we must continue to make new investments in capabilities and technology that strengthen primary care and address all aspects of a person’s health.
At least 2 areas should remain in focus to achieve this.
The first is addressing the lack of any meaningful social risk adjustment in patients that may exacerbate inequities. By adopting methods that account for all factors, including social risk factors, that influence a patient’s risk, we could help create a more equitable healthcare payment system to better serve all patients.
The second is continued interoperability efforts coupled with the update of current privacy regulations. To make social determinant of health data actionable for healthcare providers, data formats need to be standardized across all platforms and systems.
This is especially important for value-based care providers as it will allow them to coordinate care for patients and help them to tap into other social supports. Value-based systems can be strengthened by the adoption of legislative revisions that would permit the sharing of some personal health information with social services agencies, community-based organizations and other similar third parties that provide health-related services for care coordination and case management.
Back in the Humana headquarters, that wooden ship still sits, a reminder that no person or team alone can achieve the sustainable changes needed to improve the health of a population.
Value-based care is not a fad, but rather the future of our healthcare system. The value-based health ecosystem is both built upon and relies on strong primary care and a roster of players, each playing a specific and equally essential role in the whole-person care of members and patients.
Much like the crew who rows the ship across the sea with ease.