Healthcare should put patients at the heart of decision-making, while delivering benefits for society as efficiently as possible. This, I believe, was clear before the pandemic. However, the additional strain under which our systems must operate at present, as well as additional demands for resources, make the case for value-based healthcare (VBHC) stronger than ever before.
Even before COVID-19 dominated our thoughts and global news headlines, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that between 20% and 40% of all global health spending is currently wasted through inefficiency. Clinicians and health systems are under intense pressure to improve health outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, and improve HCP satisfaction while reducing costs with often outdated, over-stretched and under-financed delivery structures.
Couple this with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and it’s clear to see the challenges faced when striving to create high-quality and sustainable healthcare across Europe. To me, the time has come to embrace VBHC.
Measuring clinician- and patient-reported outcomes, integrating this data into the process of care and devising new procurement models can help us to better coordinate the patient journey.
Every hospital within every health system in every country is unique, yet the goal should always be to achieve the best possible outcome for each patient. I don’t believe that off-the-shelf solutions will work universally. It is vital that healthcare providers identify the biggest challenges and then team up with hospital administrative leadership and others (health authorities, healthcare companies, insurers etc.) to co-create bespoke solutions that fit their needs.
Combined with outcome measurement, resource allocation collection shows where unnecessary waste can be prevented. Technologies can help by tracking and streamlining supply chains, and by integrating clinical best practice. This can reduce high treatment costs that could arise later.
Data and insights
I believe an insight-driven approach helps health systems identify and optimize the most cost-effective care delivery, so patients receive the right care, first time, every time. To gain this insight we need to measure solutions systematically, track associated health outcomes and channel feedback into quality improvements.
Information from patient-reported outcomes measures (PROMS) is particularly insightful. PROMS express the voice of patients who evaluate, for instance, the impact of the surgery on their quality of life. This can lead to changes in the way services or care is delivered to ensure people are getting the most from their treatment.
As we adapt to delivering care during a pandemic, and look beyond it to a post-COVID world, I see value-based incentives and rewards for providers that deliver value becoming a feature of healthcare. Value-based procurement is a major part of this. We are witnessing a shift in which value is replacing price as the primary decision-making factor in tendering. This approach elevates products and solutions that positively impact patient-focused outcomes to save costs in the long-term and ensure optimal value for health systems and society.
Ultimately, value lies in healthcare professionals taking account of patients’ perspectives to deliver care. This offers patients the smoothest possible journey back to good health and quality of life. Our role as a healthcare industry to understand the unique needs of individuals and then apply our broad-based expertise – technology, behaviour science, care-centred design thinking and consumer insights – to change human health for the better. COVID-19 has put unwelcome strain on our systems, but may become a catalyst for the changes we need.