Healthcare organizations are feeling the impact of the shift from fee-for service to value-based care. By 2016, 85 percent of Medicare payments
will be tied to quality and value, rising to 90 percent by 2018. Accountable care organizations (ACOs) and bundled payment models will play a central role in this shift as demand grows for better coordination of care across the healthcare continuum. Value-based reimbursements present healthcare providers—particularly imaging providers—with another opportunity to improve care coordination and realize greater financial rewards.
When care is closely coordinated, patients are less likely to undergo duplicative or unnecessary imaging exams. Reducing the number of unnecessary exams will allow providers to focus efforts on patients who truly need imaging services, and free up staff hours for more meaningful work. As a result, patients will receive high quality care and providers will benefit their businesses.
A shift of this magnitude requires a culture change, which will take time. However, there are a number of strategies that can be leveraged now to embrace new payment models and better coordinate care:
- Review current processes and make changes
New reimbursement models will demand the adoption of new processes. Increased bundling by payers will continue shifting risk to providers who must closely manage variables in the cost of care. To prepare, providers will need to review current processes to determine if physicians can easily place orders, view results and handle the pre-authorization of imaging exams. An audit may uncover the need for greater interoperability among disparate systems. Merge’s iConnect® Network Services (iCNS), a suite of services that integrates with existing electronic health record systems (EHR) and Radiology Information Systems (RIS) will drive better coordination of patient care.
- Review and improve technology
Managing storage costs while establishing the ability to easily and efficiently share images and data with others will become paramount in the shift to value-based reimbursement. Healthcare organizations should be looking to manage costs by utilizing vendor neutral archives (VNAs) like Merge’s iConnect® Enterprise Archive and image sharing solutions like Merge’s iConnect® Access, to make storing increasingly dense datasets affordable and sharing images as easy as possible for providers. Merge’s iCNS allows disparate systems to exchange imaging orders and results electronically.
Merge Healthcare’s solution suite amplifies providers’ imaging value by solving interoperability challenges while managing costs and reducing risk. By leveraging the right tools and strategies, and preparing for payment reform now, imaging professionals can provide patients with better coordinated care and position their organizations for future financial success.
Explore Merge solutions today so you can establish better coordinated care.
Pete Nanos is Senior Director Solutions Management at Merge Healthcare. Follow Merge on LinkedIn.