With digitization, automation, and 'app-ification' slowly taking over everything, what will healthcare look like in 2025? To kick-off, a new wave of change in the sector has already begun – a paradigm shift from the age-old, volume-based care system (fee for service) to a new and innovative value-based healthcare approach (fee for value).
Why is value-based healthcare (VBHC) important?
The pace of population aging around the world is increasing dramatically. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 125 million people are aged 80 years or older today. Thanks to newer treatments coming on to the market, people worldwide are living longer – and the world’s population of people aged 60 years and older is expected to total 2 billion by 2050, up from 900 million in 2015.
As the burden of aging populations continues to rise, most countries with developed economies are nearing the limit of what they can afford to spend on healthcare. Consequently, providers and payers are shifting their focus and leading the transition from volume to value.
They’re leaning on value-based healthcare (VBHC) – a concept coined by Harvard’s Michael E Porter a decade ago to ensure patients obtain better value for every penny spent on health care. According to Porter, the essential outcome of medicine is health – not treatment. Therefore, he argued that the focus of healthcare output should change from treatment volume to health measured in terms of patient value.
Redefining care delivery with VBHC
Value-based care is a framework for delivering health care services worldwide, where rather than funding health care providers based on the number of treatments or services delivered for each patient, the new model aligns payments with patient outcomes, such as years of survival or completeness of recovery. As per the VBHC model, rather than paying product and service providers for the amount of treatments they provide, they should be paid based on the patient and health system outcomes they achieve.
The transition aims at:
- enhancing the overall patient experience - in quality and satisfaction
- improving the health of populations, and
- reducing the cost of healthcare
Policy changes and tech innovations in recent years have effectively encouraged the adoption of value-based care by tying financial incentives to the performance and quality of healthcare providers. The idea is: providers work to ensure optimal care when they have 'something on the line' in the form of losing reimbursements.
However, the path to get there may not be easy for many healthcare providers. One of the most commonly cited barriers to adapting to the shift and embracing the concept of VBHC is the lack of interoperability in health IT systems.
Interoperability: a fundamental enabler for the success of value-based care
Interoperability is critical for value-based care. A Deloitte survey of 100 healthcare tech executives and 21 experts conducted last year highlights that the move to value-based care is one of the main drivers of healthcare interoperability. This is because value-based care requires an unprecedented amount of health information exchange among patients, providers, and payers. Coordination and collaboration among these three parties across the cycle of care is key to maximizing the achievement of value-based care.
The quality and availability of health data significantly impact the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of care delivery. Data exchange gets complicated because many times health information is stored in multiple IT systems in different formats. By breaking down traditional silos between departments and systems, interoperability facilitates greater integration of health data between different departments and teams, to enable care to be delivered consistently and efficiently at every stage of the patient’s care cycle. It increases data access and sharing capabilities, thereby helping in the adoption of VBHC models.
Healthcare interoperability enables various members of the care team, including clinicians and physicians reliable access to up-to-date, accurate, and comprehensive data no matter where the patient receives care. Along with facilitating appropriate, secure, timely, and reliable delivery of care, achieving interoperability also improves the cost and quality outcomes regardless of where treatment is provided. Information exchange as a result of interoperability also supports patient engagement activities such as home monitoring and other patient-reported outcomes – thus enhancing the overall care delivery process.
As establishing higher quality patient-focused care becomes the priority for the entire healthcare industry, interoperability will clearly continue to grow as a part of the overall drive in digital health in the coming years.
Load balancing helps establish interoperability and facilitates medical data sharing
Load balancers play a major role in ensuring seamless healthcare interoperability. A load balancing solution facilitates the exchange, interpretation, analysis, and accessibility of health data stored in isolated databases, incompatible systems, and proprietary software spread over multiple locations. For establishing interoperability and data sharing between multiple health IT systems – secure and insecure – a load balancer supports data exchange in both HTTP and HTTPS formats, thus facilitating the communication between older and newer health IT systems and allowing consistent access to data.
Configuring a load balancer ensures guaranteed uptime – crucial for any mission-critical health system. It enables data to be distributed among multiple servers – helping IT systems scale up to handle larger workloads. A load balancer routes network traffic in a way that it becomes sustainable – with no one server having to manage all requests. This balances the traffic inflow and prevents a particular server from getting overloaded and applications from breaking down – helping patients, providers and payers enjoy uninterrupted data access.
Seize the opportunity now by installing bespoke load balancing solution within your health IT infrastructure. To learn more about making the right IT investment for improved patient outcomes, read our white paper on value-based healthcare.