ONC, CMS offer roadmap for continued shift to value-based payments
- As the U.S. prepares for the incoming Donald Trump administration, the heads of HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and CMS offered a six-point plan for supporting the move to value-based care.
- While significant progress has been made with the digitization of healthcare, barriers to data sharing and frustrations among some clinicians remain, National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. Vindell Washington and CMS acting Administrator Andy Slavitt wrote in a blog post.
- Washington and Slavitt believe the industry is in need of “21st century information technology, enabling ready and secure data access, to support a modern, value-based healthcare system."
A value-based payment depends on good data, enabling providers to continuously build on patient experience to improve the next patient encounter. Almost all U.S. hospitals (95%) had adopted certified electronic health records (EHRs) as of 2015, according to ONC. However, Washington and Slavitt believe vendors "put up barriers to sharing data." Those barriers have sometimes thwarted efforts to continue to increase adoption.
The bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, enacted last month, includes provisions to advance interoperability in several ways (e.g. creating a "trusted exchange framework") and bar information blocking with HHS' Office of the Inspector General's new authority to resolve claims about the issue. The Quality Payment Program implemented by MACRA also includes tools to address these areas.
One challenge going forward is the multi-payer environment physicians face today, Washington and Slavitt noted. In a best-case scenario, clinicians could get “actionable, reliable and comprehensive feedback data” regardless of who is paying for the patient’s care. Reporting of quality data would be streamlined and easily available to any authorized party, and the financial and administrative burden of collecting and reporting information would be held to a minimum.
Washington and Slavitt cite six key elements to support a "data-rich, patient-centered, and value-based" system:
- Improving interoperability by using tools like standard application program interfaces;
- Increasing the use of third-party companies that can help providers meet reporting requirements;
- Aggregating and linking data with "low-cost shared services";
- Increasing data transparency and consolidation;
- Standardizing data central to measuring quality; and
- Aligning quality measures across all payers.