How physicians define value-based care versus patients

What do independent physicians and their patients think of the trend toward value-based care? How do they view the meaning of value in healthcare? The answers are different, depending on who is answering those questions. A survey commissioned by University of Utah Health and conducted by Leavitt Partners found that patients and physicians view the value of their healthcare from very different perspectives.

In the results of the survey, conducted nationally and involving 5,031 patients, 687 physicians, and 538 employers, “several key misalignments, as well as surprising points of convergence, were revealed.” Essentially, while patients were concerned with cost and availability, physicians focused on patient relationships and outcomes.

Cost was the clear priority for patients when asked about their top value statement. Patients were also concerned about the time they had to wait to schedule an appointment and the time they spent waiting to be seen when at the physician’s office.

Only 32% of the patients participating in the survey chose “My health improves” as their top priority. This result is somewhat counterintuitive for physicians who are trained to focus on their patients’ health as their top priority. In fact, the majority of physicians participating in the survey held themselves accountable for their patients’ health outcomes, seeing quality of care as a significant indicator in value-based care.

When asked who is responsible for value-based care, physicians “overwhelmingly hold themselves responsible for ensuring that a patient’s health improves while patients equally hold themselves and physicians accountable.” Coordinated care thus becomes even more important as physicians find they need to “align themselves more closely to patients’ vision of value, and consider all stakeholders—systems, payers, employers, patients and providers—as jointly responsible for ensuring high value care.”

As the emphasis on value-based care continues into 2018 and beyond, often impacting independent physicians’ financial incentives, the study concludes that “providers will have to better address access, convenience service and cost when determining value.”