How EHRs Support Value-Based Care
From treatments to billing, modern health care is complex. While scenarios differ from person to person, patients typically
- Visit healthcare professionals or facilities who perform consultations or procedures
- Receive bills for every consultation and procedure
- Pay for each of these health care services through insurance companies or medical programs, out-of-pocket payments, or a combination of these
Although this framework is still common, a competing model is emerging. It’s called value-based care.
Basically, instead of paying for each consultation or procedure, insurers who use value-based care reward and reimburse health care providers who have improved patient outcomes.
Because it might be difficult to measure value, the National Academy of Medicine has created criteria that could determine it. According to the organization, value-based care includes services that it categorizes under the abbreviation STEEEP: safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centered.
Health care providers could use electronic health records (EHRs) and other tools if they’re wondering how to implement value-based care. These tools could make life easier for providers, patients, and health insurers.
To understand what STEEEP is and how such tools could help enhance value-based care, it might help to break down STEEEP and analyze it one letter at a time:
S – Safe
“Do no harm” is the essence of the Hippocratic oath.
It certainly applies to value-based care, and electronic health records (EHRs) could help eye care professionals emphasize this safety.
After all, EHRs are records. They record developments in patients’ health, what practices did or are doing to address these developments, and the outcomes of these developments.
Records could indicate whether people are allergic to certain medications. If doctors don’t prescribe these medications to patients with allergies, they’re preventing reactions that could require medical care.
Such prevention preserves patients’ health. It also saves patients, medical providers, and insurance providers money and time because they won’t have to attend to paperwork and other hassles.
T – Timely
Even in non-emergency situations, timely medical services are better medical services.
Medical EHR software could help practices save time and make more timely decisions. Offices that use EHR systems that integrate with practice management systems store all their practice-based information in one place, which means employees and patients could locate and use this information more quickly and easily.
Instead of searching through multiple databases or files, medical staff members could look for information in one online area. With the time they saved during this search, staff members could answer questions and perform other, more patient-centered tasks.
E – Effective
Electronic health records also contribute to more effective assistance.
If medical professionals want to prescribe specific medications, they could check their patients’ electronic health records to see if they’re using other medications or doing other things that could affect the effectiveness of those drugs.
Professionals could also check their patients’ records to see how prescriptions and other remedies have worked. If the medications or procedures have been effective, professionals could keep prescribing, performing, and recommending them.
E – Efficient
Since they aim to simplify matters, electronic health records offer efficiency as well as value.
Using EHRs, medical professionals could determine if patients have undergone recent tests for certain conditions or if they or other professionals have prescribed certain remedies. Such checks could save time and money.
Also, if health care providers need to refer their patients to other medical professionals, EHRs include a wealth of information in one location, so professionals can transfer documentation between offices. Each health care professional could add their own contributions to their patients’ files, which could make it easier to coordinate treatment among multiple medical offices.
E – Equitable
Equity is another hallmark of value-based care, and EHRs could promote this fairness.
People might discriminate, but medicine shouldn’t. EHRs aren’t biased accounts but factual descriptions of patients’ medical conditions. This documentation could also contain other information about factors that could affect patients’ overall health.
Records could include information about patients’ family histories, where they live, whether they experienced physical and/or mental trauma, and if they participate in programs that pay for their medical care or assist them in other ways.
Knowing these things could help medical professionals understand their patients’ backgrounds and determine the type of help they might need.
The determinations could determine if patients are underserved and need more help or different kinds of help. They could show medical practices where they could best allocate their resources.
P – Patient-centered
While optometry EHR software and other systems strive to simplify work for professionals and their practices, such systems ultimately exist to help patients.
An EHR record exists to serve a patient. Linking this record to a medical office’s practice management system helps practices give the best care possible to this patient and others.
When practices link EHR and other systems, they often give patients more opportunities to interact with their doctors, medical practices, and health insurance providers. They could discover if they’ve had particular procedures and the outcomes of those tests. They could use this information to make more informed health decisions.
By making more informed decisions, patients are more equipped to treat existing conditions and prevent future ones. Once again, EHRs and other information could provide preventive assistance that could help avoid negative health outcomes, prevent frustration, and save money, which could all contribute to value-based care.
But patients aren’t the only ones benefiting from value-based models. Just as the National Academy of Medicine advocates using STEEEP principles, it also explains that the well-being of health care professionals is also important.
Because they coordinate processes and potentially save hassle, using EHRs and other tools could also improve physician and staff well-being. Contacting Eye Care Leaders could help you find and implement such tools.
Less stressed professionals could provide better care to grateful patients. In the end, providing value isn’t just about creating and managing efficient systems and tools. It’s also how patients and health care professionals value each other.
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