What are the first steps toward transitioning to value-based care for independent physicians?

What are the first steps toward transitioning to value-based care for independent physicians?

The move toward value-based care, and away from fee-for-service reimbursements, may be a change in thinking and approach for many independent physicians. It may also be a welcome change, as it encourages the provider to spend more time focused on the patient and on delivering quality outcomes, rather than counting the number of patient visits throughout each day. How does the independent physician prepare for this transition?

The American Medical Association (AMA) STEPS Forward provides practice improvement strategies, including five steps for the independent physician who is preparing to transition to value-based care.

Identify your patient population and opportunity

The AMA says that “Knowing your patients is the foundation of value-based care.” When the independent physician sees patients with chronic or complex conditions, those patients will need coordinated care, which has a tendency to increase the cost of their healthcare services. Understanding the patient profile thoroughly will enable the physician to provide higher quality, more cost-effective care.

Design the care model

Once the patient population and payers are identified, health outcomes for those patients can also be identified. The independent physician can then “design the workflows required to provide the desired care to the selected patient population.”

Partner for success

Coordinating with other providers and healthcare facilities can enhance the provider’s ability to offer quality care on a number of levels. Resources can be combined, increasing the level of care and reducing redundancies.

Drive appropriate utilization

The independent physician should review the practice management strategies and determine ways to provide higher quality care at a lower cost to the practice and to the patient. Optimizing the use of tools such as electronic health records (EHRs) enable the physician to spend more quality time with each patient and less time on paperwork.

Quantify impact and continuously improve

As the independent physician transitions to value-based, the model should be reviewed and assessed for the impact it has in terms of reaching goals for the practice and for patient outcomes.