Archive for the ‘Physician Practices’ Category

2017 Healthcare Success Formula: Care Management Sophistication and ‘Patient Stickiness’

November 29th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

HIN's 13th annual planning session provided a roadmap to key healthcare issues, challenges and opportunities in 2017.

Whether concerned with healthcare delivery or reimbursement for services rendered, providers and payors alike will need to be nimble in the coming year to survive and thrive in a sharply shifting, value-based marketplace, advises Steven Valentine, vice president, Advisory Consulting Services, Premier Inc.

"Be aware: the competitors you've had in the past are changing, and you're seeing more competition with various Internet providers, CVS, Apple, Watson. It's all going to change," said Valentine during Trends Shaping the Healthcare Industry in 2017: A Strategic Planning Session, a November 2016 webinar now available for replay.

But what healthcare shouldn't panic about, at least for the immediate future, is the demise of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

"[The ACA] is not going to be canceled any time soon," Valentine emphasized during the thirteenth annual planning session sponsored by the Healthcare Intelligence Network. "We would expect it would take two years, at least, to begin to put in some kind of a replacement program."

Assuring participants that within all this industry flux are opportunities, Valentine suggested they follow the lead of retail pharmacy CVS. "CVS envisions itself as a full service healthcare organization with a goal of 'patient stickiness.' In other words, CVS is saying, 'I need patients to rely on me as their source of getting started for healthcare.'"

Later in the program, he offered participants a four-point plan for improving patient stickiness.

As for care management sophistication, Valentine pointed to the pairing of hospitals with a case manager, with incentives for care managers and hospitalists to manage down length of stay, or manage resource consumption.

"We're probably gravitating more toward care management models that are outside the four walls of the hospitals...which will give us better economies, better outcomes, people more specialized in the areas they're in that could really help provide better quality at a lower cost."

And while the healthcare thought leader believes Medicare will remain essentially untouched by the incoming presidential administration, he did identify nearly a dozen areas where President-Elect Donald Trump's 'Better Way' might eventually make its mark on healthcare, including more price transparency and the sale of insurance across state lines.

Moving on to sector-specific forecasts, Valentine outlined four expectations for health plans, including a push for more access points like telehealth and urgent care centers and added pressure to reduce chronic care costs.

Healthcare providers should focus on population health and immerse themselves in data analytics to better prepare for MACRA and the narrow, quality-based provider networks that will result.

Both sectors should expect more consumer demand for accountability, Valentine said, since patients and health plan members are fed up with rising costs and armed with more transparency information and health awareness.

Valentine concluded his presentation with eight guiding principles for 2017 success, including collaboration between health plans and physicians.

And in the Q&A that followed, Valentine offered guidance on a number of issues, including how providers can grow their population bases; identifying and addressing social health determinants; succeeding in value-based healthcare, and offering efficient, integrated behavioral healthcare services.

Click here to listen to advice from Steven Valentine on employing technology for patient engagement.

Infographic: MACRA Pathways

November 16th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

Under MACRA, 2017 will be the first performance year physicians will be scored to determine payment adjustments in 2019. Physicians will choose between two payment tracks: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or the Alternative Payment Model (APM), according to a new infographic by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

The infographic highlights the path options physicians can choose.

Infographic: MACRA Pathways

No matter which level of participation physician practices choose for the first Quality Payment Program performance period beginning January 1, 2017, CMS's "Pick Your Pace" announcement means practices should proactively prepare for the impact of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) on physician quality reporting and reimbursement.

MACRA Physician Quality Reporting: Positioning Your Practice for the MIPS Merit-Based Incentive Payment System delivers a veritable MACRA toolkit for physician practices, with dozens of tips and strategies that lay the groundwork for reimbursement under Medicare's Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), expected to begin in 2017 and one of two payment paths Medicare will offer to practices.

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Infographic: Overcoming 5 Data Challenges Preventing Effective Physician Alignment

November 14th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

Achieving physician alignment, critical to the success of health systems, requires a view into physician activity and referrals, according to a new infographic by Evariant.

Claims data is the best source of information to help analyze and identify referral patterns to move toward achieving physician alignment, but analyzing this information does not come without its own unique set of challenges. The infographic examines five data challenges preventing effective physician alignment and how to overcome them.

Overcoming 5 Data Challenges Preventing Effective Physician Alignment

6 Value-Based Physician Reimbursement Models: Action Plans for Alignment, Analytics and Profitability In today's value-based healthcare sphere, providers must not only shoulder more responsibility for healthcare outcomes, cost and quality but also align with emerging compensation models rewarding these efforts—models that often seem confusing or contradictory. The challenges for payors and partners in creating a common value-based vision are sizing the reimbursement model to the provider organization and engaging physicians' skills, knowledge and behaviors to foster program success.

6 Value-Based Physician Reimbursement Models: Action Plans for Alignment, Analytics and Profitability examines a set of provider compensation models across the collaboration continuum, advising adopters on potential pitfalls and suggesting strategies to survive implementation bumps.

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Breaking Down UTSACN Advanced Care Coordination: “Data Analyst Is Your Best Friend”

October 6th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

advanced care coordination

Data is useless unless transformed into actionable information, notes Cathy Bryan, UTSACN director of care coordination.

Although the care coordination director for UT Southwestern's Accountable Care Network (UTSACN) insists there's no secret sauce that ensures ACO success, Cathy O'Brien readily proposes eight ingredients to season care management initiatives.

It's a recipe heavy on data analytics, and one destined to fail unless extracted data is transformed into actionable information, emphasized Ms. Bryan during Advanced Care Coordination: Bridging the Gap Between Appropriate Levels of Care and Care Plan Adherence for ACO Attributed Lives, a September 2016 webinar now available for replay.

For that transformation, the Year Three Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACO relies heavily on its data analyst. "Your analyst is your best friend. You need someone who is skilled and knows how to analyze large, complex data sources like you get with ACO claims data and other sources," Ms. Bryan said.

To better manage its nearly 250,000 ACO-attributed lives (up from 19,000 in 2014), UTSACN leverages data from a number of sources, including paid claims data from CMS and commercial payors; more than 100 disparate electronic medical record (EMR) systems; and ADT feeds. This data mining has helped UTSACN to identify and bridge care and quality gaps, manage transitions in care, and risk-stratify its population for care management, including 'risking risk' patients exhibiting signs of struggle with adherence to care plans.

It's also provided a starker picture of utilization, especially on the home health front. When data indicated UTSACN home health use had risen to levels more than twice the national average, UTSACN's analyst created an internal efficiency index to categorize the more than 1,200 home health agencies in use. The use of this claims-based, risk-adjusted score ultimately pared the home health network to a manageable twenty agencies and saved approximately $6 million in home health utilization costs in the first quarter of 2016 alone.

To engage physicians, UTSACN supported the rollout of this narrow network with a large-scale reeducation effort. Presented with the rationale for this change, providers now better understand Medicare's home health utilization rules and their accountability to the ACO for their share of costs, utilization and outcomes, notes Bryan.

"You’ve got to create buy-in. You don't just take providers a list and say, here's your problem. You've got to take a solution to them."

Another solution designed to support providers is UTSACN's primary-care-centric model, in which care coordination teams are paired geographically with eight to fifteen physician practices. Composed of embedded care coordinators (as well as field staff that do in-home work), the care coordination teams reach out to the practices' patients on their behalf.

"We really see our team as an extension of the primary care practice, and we function as such. As we introduce ourselves to patients, we say we're with the UT Southwestern Accountable Care Network calling on behalf of Dr. Smith, your primary care physician."

As that extension, embedded care coordinators help physician practices to address barriers to patients' medical plans of care, from lack of transportation to medication costs to the presence of falls risks in the home.

Click here to listen to an interview with Ms. Bryan.

Infographic: 10 Things To Know About MACRA

October 3rd, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act provides a new framework for the drive toward value-based reimbursement for physicians, according to a new infographic by athenahealth Inc.

The infographic provides physicians with 10 critical steps to prepare for MACRA.

No matter which level of participation physician practices choose for the first Quality Payment Program performance period beginning January 1, 2017, CMS's "Pick Your Pace" announcement means practices should proactively prepare for the impact of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) on physician quality reporting and reimbursement.

MACRA Physician Quality Reporting: Positioning Your Practice for the MIPS Merit-Based Incentive Payment System delivers a veritable MACRA toolkit for physician practices, with dozens of tips and strategies that lay the groundwork for reimbursement under Medicare's Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), expected to begin in 2017 and one of two payment paths Medicare will offer to practices.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you'd like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Infographic: Which Physician Quality Payment Program Is Right for You?

September 19th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

For Medicare physicians and groups that will be impacted by the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment Program (MIPS) and the Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) requirements, it is important to remember that planning for the Quality Payment Program is more nuanced than simply 'selecting a track,' according to a new infographic by Able Health.

To help make understanding the two Quality Payment Program tracks a bit easier, Able Health's infographic helps physicians and medical groups determine which track may be the most appropriate to prepare for in 2017.

No matter which level of participation physician practices choose for the first Quality Payment Program performance period beginning January 1, 2017, CMS's "Pick Your Pace" announcement means practices should proactively prepare for the impact of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) on physician quality reporting and reimbursement.

MACRA Physician Quality Reporting: Positioning Your Practice for the MIPS Merit-Based Incentive Payment System delivers a veritable MACRA toolkit for physician practices, with dozens of tips and strategies that lay the groundwork for reimbursement under Medicare's Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), expected to begin in 2017 and one of two payment paths Medicare will offer to practices.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you'd like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

5 Ways to Keep Pace with MACRA Momentum

September 15th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

carecompactsIn a nod to the wide diversity of physician practices, the recent "Pick Your Pace" announcement by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) clarifies the timing of reporting for year one of the Quality Payment Program and offers eligible physicians and other clinicians multiple options for participation.

But whatever participation level a practice elects for 2017, there are many ways eligible providers can proactively prepare for MACRA's ultimate impact on physician quality reporting and reimbursement prior to November 1, 2016, the date by which CMS has said it will issue the MACRA final rule.

Eric Levin, director of strategic services, McKesson, offered this advice for physician practices to prepare for Medicare's Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), one of two payment paths CMS will offer to practices.

  • First, make certain you are successfully participating in any Medicare Quality and electronic health record (EHR) programs, which would include the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Meaningful Use, and the Patient-Centered Medical Home.
  • Next, try and factor the alternative payment model (APM) participation bonus into your risk-based payment model adoption strategy to see if that might be something you can qualify for, as the rewards can be significantly higher under the APM track.
  • Third, make sure you know which track your organization is going to seek. Explore APMs; if you can do one, great. If not, then MIPS can still provide a relatively high incentive.
  • Next, start educating providers, employers, nurses, staff members, on what the payment track is going to be, what’s going to be measured, and what the outcomes will be like as well.
  • Finally, stay very close to CMS. Check their Web site, subscribe for e-mail updates and check their Twitter feed for anything that’s changed, for any proposed MACRA rules that might become final, so that you are aware of and can make any changes as needed.
  • Source: MACRA Physician Quality Reporting: Positioning Your Practice for the MIPS Merit-Based Incentive Payment System

    http://hin.3dcartstores.com/Post-Acute-Care-Trends-Cross-Setting-Collaborations-to-Align-Clinical-Standards-and-Provider-Demands_p_5149.html

    MACRA Physician Quality Reporting: Positioning Your Practice for the MIPS Merit-Based Incentive Payment System delivers a veritable MACRA toolkit for physician practices, with dozens of tips and strategies that lay the groundwork for reimbursement under Medicare's Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), expected to begin in 2017 and one of two payment paths Medicare will offer to practices.

Infographic: What Can a Nurse Practitioner do?

August 31st, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

Nurse practitioners may help to fill staffing needs at hospitals, physician practices and other healthcare organizations, according to a new infographic by Barton Associates.

The infographic looks at how nurse practitioners can practice at the top of their license.

A profitable by-product of CMS's aggressive pursuit of value-based healthcare delivery is a menu of revenue opportunities associated with care management of the Medicare population.

Physician Reimbursement in 2016: 4 Billable Medicare Events to Maximize Care Management Revenue and Results details the ways in which Bon Secours Medical Group (BSMG) leverages a team-based care approach, expanded care access and technology to capitalize on four Medicare billing events: transitional care management, chronic care management, Medicare annual wellness visits and advance care planning.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

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Infographic: 5 Tips to Empower Medical Practice Staff

August 26th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

Medical practice staff plays a pivotal role in shaping the patient experience, according to a new infographic by Specialdocs.

The infographic examines five key steps in empowering medical practice staff.

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2016: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare IndustryPatient-centric interventions like population health management, health coaching, home visits and telephonic outreach are designed to engage individuals in health self-management—contributing to healthier clinical and financial results in healthcare's value-based reimbursement climate.
But when organizations consistently rank patient engagement as their most critical care challenge, as hundreds have in response to HIN benchmark surveys, which strategies will help to bring about the desired health behavior change in high-risk populations?

9 Protocols to Promote Patient Engagement in High-Risk, High-Cost Populations presents a collection of tactics that are successfully activating the most resistant, hard-to-engage patients and health plan members in chronic condition management. Whether an organization refers to this population segment as high-risk, high-cost, clinically complex, high-utilizer or simply top-of-the-pyramid 'VIPs,' the touch points and technologies in this resource will recharge their care coordination approach.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you'd like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Appointment Data Opens Door to Population Health Management of Rising Risk Patients

August 9th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

The rising risk population represents a healthcare organization's "low-hanging fruit," says Dr. Adrian Zai, clinical director of population informatics at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Sometimes the most powerful population health management intervention is simply to convince a patient to make an appointment.

This is the first step Dr. Adrian Zai, clinical director of population informatics at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), would recommend to any organization hoping to better manage its rising risk population, a group the physician describes as "low-hanging fruit."

"The appointment does not require significant investment in any health IT or other resources," said Dr. Zai during Targeting High-Risk and Rising-Risk Patients: A Multi-Pronged Strategy, an August 2016 webinar now available for replay. "All you need is appointment data. The key is to identify existing data you already have in your organization and start there, so that you impact outcomes."

Dr. Zai, whose hospital has been ranked number one in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, likened the notion of an organization acquiring a sophisticated health data analytics system prior to identifying clinical outcomes to "building a house without an architect."

However, having done its due data diligence, MGH's population health management approach embraces technology. The MGH approach, which targets rising- and high-risk patients, has moved far beyond appointment-setting, constructing a safety net program with the goal of improving clinical outcomes for 300,000 patients in its entire primary care network— a network spanning MGH and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

To this end, MGH developed a new set of clinically meaningful measures, but not before soliciting physician feedback on its existing set. In response, doctors identified more than 200 challenges to the old measures that MGH addressed in its new decision support system.

With new measures in place, MGH then created central population health coordinator teams to support primary care physicians in population health management, freeing clinicians to care for patients.

The selection of technology to support MGH's primary care safety net presented its own challenges. "Frequently, the tools you end up with—for data aggregation, analytics, care coordination, and patient outreach—don't actually talk to each other. You need a system to pull all of these functionalities together. That's the strategy we took," said Dr. Zai.

The new MGH population health management system enables clinicians to identify and share gaps in care with MGH care coordinators and population health managers, so they can intervene and try and close those gaps, he continued.

The system also tracks outcomes. After using the system for only six months, MGH reported improvement in every one of its newly developed performance framework measures. Not only is the ability to review outcomes appealing to payors, but 85 percent of MGH physicians surveyed also expressed satisfaction with the system—as well as its concurrent financial incentives.

In closing, Dr. Zai reiterated the need for collaboration: between staffers doing the work and the informatics tying those efforts neatly together. "One cannot work without the other. That technology is just a tool. Just as you cannot give a hammer to someone and expect them to build a house, you need the talents working together with technology to make that happen."

Click here to listen to an interview with Dr. Zai on reducing the natural inertia of low-risk patients to move into the high-risk stratum.