Lack of interoperability a major barrier to value-based care transformation, hospital finance executives say

A lack of interoperability hinders the growth of value-based care, according to an HFMA survey of financial executives. (Image: Pixabay)

Healthcare leaders are increasingly on board with the trend toward value-based care, but barriers to interoperability are hampering the movement, they say. 

The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) surveyed 117 financial executives at U.S. hospitals about how ready their organizations are for value-based care. Few said their organizations are "highly capable" in areas crucial to success in these new payment models.  

External interoperability was of particular concern, with 24% saying their organization is not capable of sharing data with other providers and payers. More than 70% said the industry must make interoperability a top priority. 

Financial executives have grown more concerned about systems interoperability (or the lack thereof) since HFMA first conducted its value-based care readiness survey in 2015, it said in an announcement. In that survey, 68% said that interoperability would be a significant requirement in the future.

RELATED: Less than one-third of hospitals are fully interoperable and even fewer use outside data 

"Collaboration among health systems, physicians and health plans is the key to growing value-based payment," Joseph J. Fifer, HFMA's CEO, said in the announcement.

"Technology and other obstacles can be overcome if all stakeholders commit to working together for the benefit of the people we serve." 

Other barriers to success in value-based care include limited resources, inconsistency between different insurers and lack of physician support and engagement, according to the survey.  

Physicians are lukewarm on value-based care, so further engaging them in care transformation will be crucial. A recent survey found that few see value-based care as a way to lower costs, with 22% saying they believe accountable care organizations will reduce costs. 

Physicians also feel largely left out of discussions on value-based care and are more likely to embrace change if they're included.  

The financial executives who participated in the HFMA survey also widely said that ongoing regulatory uncertainty poses a significant challenge to continued adoption of value-based care programs. More than half (53%) said that updates including the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) has a slightly negative influence on their ability to forecast success in value-based care, and 23% said it has a substantial negative influence. 

RELATED: Re-examine value-based care models to better include rural providers, report suggests 

Despite challenges, the use of value-based payment models has grown over the past several years, according to HFMA.

Insurers' use of value-based care has increased from 12% in 2015 to 24% in 2017. And providers are seeing positive financial results, according to the survey. Seventy-four percent said they saw the benefits of value-based models, compared to 51% who said the same in 2015.