The Importance of Physician Engagement
Richard Wheeler, MD, 8/12/15 9:42 AM
Physician engagement is one of the cornerstones of a sustainable value-based healthcare system. For those of us who were involved in the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) movement in the 1980s, the risks associated with this attempted transition from volume to value became all too apparent as one HMO experiment after another ended in failure. A key contributor in many cases was minimal if any physician input, making the attempts unsustainable. Many of the current efforts at moving from volume to value, such as the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) models, patient centered medical homes, and bundled payments, appear to have learned and applied this lesson from the past.
A recent Advisory Board survey of healthcare CEOs identified physician engagement as the number one opportunity to improve healthcare in 2015. They identified physician engagement in cost and quality improvement, active engagement in designing population health initiatives, strengthening primary care physician alignment, and controlling avoidable utilization as key areas of engagement.
The American Medical Association (AMA) is actively endorsing the move to value-based healthcare delivery and payment and is providing guidance to its members on how to get involved in helping transition to a value-based system. For example, medical specialty societies like the American Gastroenterological Society are pushing for their members to take the lead in value-based care by offering bundled services for procedures like colonoscopies. In addition, the American Board of Internal Medicine has developed the Choosing Wisely list of over 400 frequently overused procedures and when they should be avoided to help eliminate waste. The majority of healthcare specialty societies contribute to and maintains this list.
All of this bodes well for the sustainability of the current transition from volume to value, with all payers, providers, employers, and patients benefiting as they work together to develop a sustainable value-based healthcare delivery and payment model.