Another HIMSS is behind us and, with it, the curious combination of exhilaration and exhaustion that only that event can bring. The show floor was typically expansive to the point of being overwhelming, with more than 1,200 vendors exhibiting. Our team took some time recently to synthesize our findings from the event. This blog post provides you with a quick summary of key takeaways of interest to specialty practices making sense of the era of value-based care.

Specialists are too often overlooked as the linchpin to healthcare transformation
Patients seen at specialty practices remain the most vulnerable in our healthcare system. These patients represent 35% of the costs to the system and suffer from complex conditions like cancer and cardiovascular illness. Specialists treating people suffering from costly chronic conditions drive the most care and the most cost, yet few of the 1200+ vendors exhibiting at HIMSS are focused on their unique needs.

Value-based care means new requirements for specialists
Under value-based care, specialists gain accountability for the quality and cost of care delivered to their patients across entire episodes and all care settings. They must now effectively manage populations – something that has not previously been expected of specialists in general. Not only do specialists need to learn about all of the new expectations before them, they must also ensure that they have the tools and staff to support them. Most vendors were treating MACRA requirements piecemeal, as an add-on to existing solutions – a form here, a dashboard there. Conspicuously absent? Direct, comprehensive help so specialists can optimize clinical and financial outcomes.

Patient engagement is paramount
A survey of 500 patients and 400 physicians released at HIMSS by West Corporation reported that 91% of patients say they need help managing their chronic disease, and 75% want their providers to check in with them regularly.

In the same vein of new expectations for specialists, they are now expected to take on more holistic responsibility for the care of their patients. This means that specialists must engage with patients outside of the walls of the office. To do this effectively, providers need to be able to engage with patients through effective means of communication including email, telephonic, text messaging and more.

MACRA is still misunderstood
Although MACRA was a key discussion topic at HIMSS, a lack of understanding of MACRA and MIPS among specialists clearly remained. Historically, specialists lack experience with population health management, care management and coordination, and complex reporting requirements set forth in these new payment models. These areas in the past have been the responsibility of the primary care physician, but the landscape is shifting significantly.

One thing the team all agreed on is that Integra Connect is prepared to help specialists navigate the new requirements of value-based care – with uniquely comprehensive, end-to-end technology and services for specialists to succeed in the new environment.

Check out our Practice Transformation Services offering to see how we can help your practice succeed in the new era of value-based care.