2010 marked the beginning of a seismic shift in the healthcare industry. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed, ushering in a new healthcare payment model. The model, value-based care, links payment for care to provider performance, not patient volume.
Ten years later, COVID-19 exploded on the scene, upending life — and healthcare — as we knew it. But the disruption has only served to accelerate healthcare’s transition to value-based medicine.
Why is that? And what does the shift mean for marketing value-based care? Let’s break it down.
What is value-based care?
Value-based care is a type of reimbursement model that rewards doctors for helping people lead healthier lives. The emphasis is on improving patient outcomes and lowering overall costs.
In this model, doctors are rewarded for providing care that helps keep people well and out of the hospital. That includes preventive care to keep chronic conditions like diabetes from developing.
The traditional healthcare delivery model, fee-for-service, pays doctors for the number of services they provide. Doctors are motivated to schedule more tests and procedures. And to increase their number of patients.
Why is value-based care important?
Value-based medicine puts patients at the center of their care. Patients and providers act as partners. They work together to develop a treatment plan that best meets the patient’s needs and goals. They also prioritize quality of life.
Providers work as comprehensive teams in this care model. Members may include care managers, doctors, nurses and others, such as physical therapists and nutritionists. Everyone on the team collaborates to share patient data, coordinate treatments and measure outcomes.
Benefits of value-based care include better patient outcomes, lower costs for patients, greater provider efficiency, and a healthier overall patient population.
What was COVID-19’s impact on value-based care?
COVID-19 sped up the healthcare industry’s adoption of telehealth. When the virus forced many health systems to pause non-essential services, the industry had to adjust. Virtual health visits served as a lifeline — a way for doctors to meet patients where they were. Often, that meant in patients’ homes.
Today, the industry’s reliance on telehealth is waning. While 32% of office and outpatient visits took place via telehealth in April 2020, the number has since ranged between 13% to 17%. Now, many health systems are embracing a hybrid approach to care, one that combines both virtual and in-person visits. That includes at-home services like blood draws and testing. It also includes retail health clinics that give patients more in-person care options closer to home.
The industry’s current focus is helping providers deliver high-quality, comprehensive care — in lower-cost, more convenient settings. Sound similar to the goals of value-based healthcare? We thought so.
Marketing value-based care
Now let’s get back to what all this means to you as a healthcare marketer.
The value-based care model is designed to improve patient outcomes and meet patients where they are. So, naturally, marketing value-based care should follow suit. But what does that entail?
Here are five ways you can showcase your health system’s value-based care initiatives: