Once considered unique and applicable to just a limited number of healthcare organizations, accountable care models and programs now dot the map and dominate local and national healthcare conversations. As accountable care becomes mainstream, so do the questions and concerns surrounding it.
In speaking with close to 100 executives from healthcare organizations each year, I get a first-hand take on the opportunities and challenges inherent to accountable care.
I prefer to call it accountable “scare.”
That sounds blunt, and it is. Don’t take it the wrong way, though. Accountable care is based on good intents and needed change, and it’s generally considered a better healthcare approach and model than we’ve had in the past.
But making the change to accountable care is painful and difficult.
Now that the market is several years into the implementation of accountable care programs, the reality is that many health systems are more nervous than ever before. It’s overwhelming enough to just think about the work and changes needed to improve quality and achieve better clinical outcomes; add to it the fact that revenue is often decreasing, the true cost of care is still a mystery for most, and visibility into the future is dim, and you have… accountable “scare.”
At KLAS, we are closely watching how accountable care is pushing us all closer to the patient. This is a wonderful thing. New organizational models and structures are originating at an appreciable pace, and executives on the vendor side and the client side are thinking more creatively.
Likewise, the themes and approaches that KLAS is taking for market research are also changing.
This means investing in high-energy, confusing, and critical research areas, such as population health technology, value-based care services, care management platforms, patient engagement solutions, and the technologies and services used to help with the payer/provider convergence (i.e. “payvider” market). Watching the market and talking to the leaders in the middle of the change has never been more exciting.
Or challenging. And scary.
But the destination amid all of this is a brighter tomorrow, one characterized by patients in the center and better healthcare outcomes. That vision for tomorrow is compelling enough to help providers work through any nervousness and uncertainty of accountable “scare” today.