Lessons for physicians
The survey takeaways all point to an important question: How should independent physicians approach hospital leaders to encourage greater transparency in data sharing? Here are three steps to get started.
Health systems must ensure that data is organized and presented in a way that is clinically meaningful and emphasizes high quality patient care.
Asking physicians to simply reduce costs can end a conversation before it even starts. To get physicians more involved, analyze cost drivers within the clinical context of improving patient care — that’s the language physicians speak best.
The truth is, many health systems don’t know where to start. Between various data collection systems, varied stakeholder requests and the overwhelming amount of available information, building a robust mechanism for data sharing can be a daunting task. By simply opening the lines of communication, you can begin to overcome any lack of knowledge and institutional awareness about communicating data. Ensuring that physicians have a strong voice in determining which data to share will help create systemwide alignment.
Set benchmarks to help keep you focused on your goals.
Care quality, patient outcomes and cost data should be benchmarked on current evidence-based guidelines and captured in a consistent and usable format. Organizational transparency matters: Health system leaders should acknowledge physicians’ recognition of the relationship between continuity of care and quality of care. Everyone will gain an advantage by openly and transparently engaging with physicians and fostering a culture that uses data analytics to improve the value of care.
Be prepared to collect and manage more data with increasingly sophisticated analytics.
Many health systems are just beginning the journey of managing the abundance of data involved in improving the care they provide. While initial experiences with collecting and analyzing data has been cumbersome, this will improve. Cost and quality data have the potential to dramatically change how physicians practice medicine, since having access to that data leads to improved treatment choices and better outcomes. Meanwhile, patients will have a greater choice in their care and a clearer understanding of what is the best option, both clinically and economically.
As healthcare moves toward value-driven care, physicians and health systems must collaborate to increase care quality and drive cost effectiveness. Taking active steps now to increase physician involvement to meet these goals will only help health systems and physicians do all they can to meet these quality improvement goals together.
John Cherf, MD, MPH, MBA, is chief medical officer of Lumere, a provider of utilization management, physician practice-pattern analysis and pharmacy management solutions.