5 areas primed for healthcare innovation

With accountable care organizations (ACOs) achieving mixed results at best and population health management not yet attaining the desired results, efforts to improve accountability and drive innovation in the still-evolving healthcare world must embrace the ongoing transformation, two healthcare experts write in H&HN Daily.

"(W)e have much to learn about the mature organizational forms, provider capabilities and associated reimbursement models that ultimately will lead to higher-quality, less-expensive and more-accessible care," John Glaser, Ph.D., CEO of Siemens Healthcare's health services business unit, and Neeraj Chopra, director of strategic consulting, health insight and reform for Siemens Health Services, argued in their article.

Five areas "ripe for further exploration and innovation," they say, include:

  • Nontraditional collaborations and business model innovation between different healthcare players including pharmacists, providers and payers.
  • Use of novel information technology that goes beyond transaction-oriented IT, with big data, technology innovation, lifestyle choices and economic evolution sparking "endless creativity."
  • Deeper relationships with patients based in part on the idea that healthcare requires service excellence to foster those relationships.
  • A view of government as a collaborator rather than simply a regulator.
  • More extensive use of a wide range of health professionals from "multiple venues of care."

"Ensuring that the accountable healthcare system of tomorrow delivers on our collective goal of improved quality and decreased cost at the patient and population level, we will need to continue testing new ideas and adapting as we go," Glaser and Chopra concluded.

ACOs could be considered at the forefront of innovation efforts, but they differ widely in how they are managed and organized. A recent report from Leavitt Partners identified six core types of ACO structures, which the authors said can help policymakers understand how to improve ACOs in the future and help vendors develop better services and products.

"We believe that different types of ACOs have different opportunities to achieve the triple aim and that one size does not fit all when it comes to managing patient populations," the report authors said.

Meanwhile, advocates for patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) suggest that PCMHs offer the best opportunity to improve care delivery and accountability.

One example is the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation's Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, which requires participating practices to optimize health IT and provide access to and continuity of primary care and other key primary care functions.

To learn more:
- read the H&HN Daily article