value based healthcare

Value-based healthcare, the 5 basic principles that will change the world of medicine

Table of Contents

    Introduction

    The world is in a dire need of creating a more sustainable and efficient healthcare system that delivers value to its patients and improves the overall wellbeing of the entire community it serves.

    Value-based healthcare may seem like a novel idea, but it has been around for more than twenty years, helping medical centres, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies to have the greatest impact on patients while improving cost-efficiency in health care services.

    What’s Value-Based Healthcare?

    Value-Based Healthcare is a transformational concept whereby health care providers are compensated for the health and well-being of their patient population rather than for services rendered.

    This paradigm shift began in the heavily privatized healthcare landscape of the United States of America, but has spread around the world over the past couple of decades, adapting to different systems and philosophies. 

    To put it shortly, value-based healthcare puts the positive health outcomes of the patients at the top of the pyramid of priorities.

    value-based healthcare
    What’s a Health Outcome?

    Health outcomes are an interrelated set of attributes that describe the consequences of disease for an individual. These include impairments, symptoms, functioning, participation in activities and social roles, and health-related quality of life.

    Positive health outcomes include being alive; functioning well mentally, physically, and socially; and having a sense of well-being. Negative outcomes include death, loss of function, and lack of well-being.

    Speed up the pathology reporting process and improve the patient’s quality of life.

    The paradigm shift made real

    Although this may seem counterintuitive to many, traditional approaches to healthcare assume the task of improving patient wellbeing as a given and let it rest on the shoulders of doctors and other professionals. 

    By putting all the focus of the system on curing the disease and forgetting about any other part of the healing journey, traditional healthcare systems often ignore the importance of rehabilitation or prevention in an effort to maximize profit or reduction of costs. 

    Ironically, this approach often forgets about the added cumulative cost of a bad rehabilitation program or the lack of prevention campaigns in the population. 

    However, the paradigm shift that comes with value-based healthcare is not a mere theoretical concept still far away from our reach, but a reality in many medical centres and systems that are putting into practice some of the following principles:

    1. Speed up the connection between scientific progress and patient care

    The main goal of value-based healthcare is to improve the community’s overall health. To achieve this, it is of vital importance that, while keeping the necessary safety procedures in place, we speed up the application of cutting edge scientifical advances to the medical field. 

    There is a plethora of knowledge being generated by our best researchers that is either being under-utilised or totally unknown, as most medical professionals don’t have the time to keep up to date with the progress made in their field

    A good example of this phenomenon is artificial intelligence, a field that has been experiencing exponential growth over the last couple of years and which is finding  incredible applications for these developments in many areas of medicine.
    Yet despite this, many doctors, driven by fear, complacency, or lack of knowledge, refuse to add this new tools to their toolkit. 

    artificial inteligence helps value based healthcare
    Artificial intelligence helps value based healthcare

    2. Re-think the traditional profit-focused model of the pharmaceutical industry

    The pharmaceutical industry is one of the main pillars of our modern healthcare system, and  plays an essential role in ensuring the safety and health of the population. Trying to build a value-based healthcare without the cooperation of these companies is a futile endeavour.

    This is why, the current profit focused business model of many pharmaceutical companies must change in order to achieve a fully sustainable yet competitive value-based healthcare.

    While this is particularly evident in the US market, where drugs such as insulin have become prohibitively expensive for patients, insurance companies and health centres alike, it is a reality that extends to all the corners of our globalized world. 

    Focusing on positive health outcomes will allow pharmaceutical companies to maintain their profit margins while helping to build a more healthy future for all of us.

    Do you want to see the Automatic SCORAD algorithms in action?

    3. Align the interests of patients and health care providers

    One unsustainable reality of our current healthcare system is that having a patient is more profitable for the medical centre than not having one, while obviously the patient is better off not being sick at all. 

    This ambivalence needs to end in order to achieve a value-based healthcare. And until we can make all diseases and health problems magically disappear, we must make sure the interests of the health care providers are properly aligned with the patients’ needs. 

    The principles of a patient-centred medical care are closely related to those of a value-based healthcare, and combining both into the same actions is undoubtedly the way of the future.

    4. Reduce the cost, improve the quality of care

    One of the big paradigm shifts for most medical centres is transitioning away from filling hospital beds to creating a healthier community. 

    With this cost reduction, it must be borne  in mind that medical centres should focus on providing better care, not more care. Getting rid of redundancies, streamlining the derivation process, speeding up the diagnosis and reducing the rate of misdiagnosis are key goals of the value-based healthcare roadmap. 

    Additionally, the pandemic has shed a light on the idea of telemedicine and its potential benefits to both the public and the healthcare community. Those who take advantage of these emerging technologies will be at the forefront of developing sustainable and profitable value-based healthcare.

    5. Focus on the social determinants of health

    Lastly, it is important to keep in mind the social determinants of health. Problems such as  obesity, tobacco addiction, alcoholism, or opioid abuse cause most health issues, especially in the long term. Preventing and controlling this kind of factors, not only through conscientization campaigns but also through the day-to-day fieldwork of the doctors, is a key step towards ensuring a healthier population.

    We cannot forget about other social issues that plague our modern society and might impact the health outcomes of the patients, such as unemployment, poor housing conditions, lack of nutritional and health education or difficulties in accessing certain technologies. 

    While our healthcare system cannot solve all these kinds of issues, it is important that doctors, insurance companies and medical centres are mindful of them in order to provide value-based healthcare that benefits us all.

    Speed up the pathology reporting process and improve the patient’s quality of life.

    In conclusion

    The paradigm shift of value-based healthcare is already happening on multiple fronts across the world, and the current debate is not so much about whether its principles should be applied, but  how to apply them. 

    The healthcare community continues to work towards a brighter future where the well-being of the patient is the top priority of all parts involved in the care cycle. And it is our duty as professionals in this sector to continue working to improve the systems that take care of our health.

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